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2 governments, 2 rental policies, 2 REIs

18 November 2019 Lyall Russell
Happy tenants

New Zealand welcomes rental changes, while Queensland is not keen.

The Queensland government introduced its roadmap for rentals at the weekend, and the announcement heavily focused on a plan to curve domestic violence.

“We have considered evidence of some truly harrowing stories of safety issues in rental properties,” Minister for Housing and Public Works Mick de Brenni said.

While across the Tasman, the New Zealand government revealed proposed new rules for tenants and landlords.

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“With more and more people renting, the law should provide enough security to responsible renters to put down roots in their community,” associate housing minister Kris Faafoi said.

The takeaway changes in New Zealand included limiting rent increases to once a year, removing the right for landlords to terminate a tenancy agreement with no cause, allowing tenants to add minor fittings, and increasing financial penalties if either party does not meet their obligation.

“Our changes are balanced, providing certainty to both parties about their respective roles and responsibilities,” Mr Faafoi said.

“We understand that landlords require clear guidelines, which help them protect their investment and assist them in their dealings with difficult tenants, and the law ensures this. If a tenant acts irresponsibly, there can be repercussions.”

As a result, these changes were welcomed by the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand.

“It’s important to get the balance right between protecting the rights of tenants with the rights of landlords in order to look after both sides of the equation,” REINZ chief executive Bindi Norwell said.

In Queensland, the local Real Estate Institute has not warmly welcomed the state governments approach.

Once you pull back the domestic violence curtain, the proposal includes removing the right for landlords to end a tenancy agreement at the end of its term, disallowing landlords from having a say about pets, allowing tenants to make modifications, and introducing a minimum housing standard.

“The REIQ is disappointed that landlords have been totally overlooked in this rental law review,” REIQ CEO Antonia Mercorella said.

“Under the reforms, landlords will see their fundamental rights eroded, making property investment far less appealing, and as a result, well almost certainly see investment levels drop.”

She pointed to the proposal of landlords not being able to abolish a tenancy agreement at the end of its agreed term and marked it as damaging. This could effectively allow a tenant to remain in a tenancy indefinitely, she said.

“This reform has been cleverly disguised by the Palaszczuk government as the abolishment of ‘without grounds terminations or evictions”.

“That description is inaccurate and misleading.”

2 governments, 2 rental policies, 2 REIs
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