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REINSW makes several government suggestions to help fix unhealthy rental market

By Kyle Robbins
10 January 2023 | 10 minute read
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The new year has begun with NSW’s rental supply crisis at an unprecedented point, urging Real Estate Institute of NSW (REINSW) chief executive officer Tim McKibbin to outline key action areas for the state government’s tackling of the crisis.

“A healthy rental market is in everyone’s best interests,” according to Mr McKibbin, adding that “unfortunately, none of the characteristics of a healthy rental market [is] present at the moment”.

He detailed 2023 will likely present several pressures on the state’s already struggling rental market, including increased immigration, population growth, and the fallout from last year’s floods, which can widen the gap between demand and supply.

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He acknowledged the plethora of challenges currently faced by tenants, which include “insufficient supply and landlords exiting the market” in addition to spiking rents forcing some people “to turn to crisis accommodation or worse, to the streets”. 

However, Mr McKibbin did explain that “with a new year comes a new opportunity for government to work with industry on a coordinated response”, touching on how “politically driven measures which target agents and landlords have not helped”.

The institute’s recommendations to the NSW government all operate under a communal aim — to begin the process of repairing the rental market — and invite the Liberal Party to stray from their current course of “policies which are periodically floated as such as the end of fixed-term leases and rent freezes, as well as the relentless anti-landlord media campaign”.

Mr McKibbin’s five suggested measures are: 

  1. Fast-track the supply of new housing in areas well-serviced by transport and amenity.
  2. Ensure local councils fulfil their obligations to provide housing for people through the adoption of appropriate housing targets, and make them accountable.
  3. Implement taxation reform that either abolishes or at least drastically reduces property taxation, as the current system, including stamp duty, the property tax and other fees and levies, is discouraging investment in residential property.
  4. Respect that landlords have the right to control how their investment is managed by protecting their right to negotiate fixed-term leases with tenants.
  5. Foster an environment of respect among all stakeholders and cease the anti-landlord media campaign, as the rental crisis won’t be addressed by fuelling conflict between landlords, tenants, and agents.

With 30 per cent of Australia’s population renting and 90 per cent of that figure living in accommodation provided by private landlords, the industry leader believes “the importance to encourage, not disincentivise, investors has never been greater”.

“We’re seeing some investment property owners turn to the short-term accommodation market or simply sell up in favour of other investments, as the weight of regulation forces them to seek other options to meet their income and repayment needs,” Mr McKibbin said. 

Mr McKibbin concluded: “A healthy rental market is an environment in which tenants have choice, landlords have their rights and security protected, investors are encouraged to invest in residential property and make homes available to tenants, and developers have the confidence to proceed with new projects.”

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