Thursday, March 17, 2022

Landlord sells two rental homes in the middle of tenancy crisis because of government changes

In my years as a landlord I never had much property damage from tenants, though I had to paint out graffiti a bit. The main negative was having to replace carpet after a tenant's pet had shat on it. You can't get the smell out and no new tenant will take a stinking property. I got so I bought carpet by the roll.

But dealing with difficult and dishonest tenants eventually got too much for me so I sold out and put my money into blue-chip shares on the stockmarket, which worked well with no hassles

Uncertainty about tenancy laws and the ‘lucky dip’ search for tenants who treat a property with respect has led to landlord Steve Allthorpe selling two rental homes in the middle of a rental crisis.

From replacing carpets to repairing walls, the damage caused by one of the tenants has left the plumber thousands out of dollars out of pocket, he said.

Besides having to restore a property, the tenants were also $1400 behind in their rent when they departed, leaving the $2200 bond to only partially cover expenses, he said.

“They were behind in their rent and on top of that you miss out on rent while you’re repairing the property so it starts to mount up,” Mr Allthorpe said.

“There was $2000 just spent on new carpet and there needed to be extensive cleaning and they were only there 18 months.”

There’s also the additional burden of paying about $3,000 a year in land tax, he said.

Unless investors purchase either the Toomey St, Chermside West property and or another house in Geebung, with both being offered for private sale, it will be two fewer houses for rent in Brisbane.

Mr Allthorpe’s decision to sell does not surprise Real Estate Institute of Queensland CEO Antonia Mercorella who says rental tenancy laws overhaul are pushing investors away instead of attracting them in the middle of a housing crisis.

“You need laws that protect tenants, but we have been saying for a long time you need fair, balanced legislation or you drive investors away and couple that with the announcement of land tax reforms,” she said.

“This is a government that continually punishes property owners who do the heavy lifting when it comes housing Queenslanders.”

REIQ CEO Antonia Mercorella says the government needs to be mindful of rental tenancy law changes driving landlords away. Picture:

Vacancy rates were at 1 per cent across Greater Brisbane and also across the state during the December quarter, according to the REIQ.

A healthy rental vacancy rate is between 2.6-3.5 per cent.

Furthermore, new government rental laws that provide further protection for tenants and unchecked pet ownership were tipping points in deciding to sell the house, Mr Allthorpe said.

“The new laws basically do not allow owners to stop a tenant from having pets, and I love pets and I have a dog, but some of the damage I had to repair was caused by pets,” he said.

“It’s not worth the stress and the hassle, you’re better off finding another way to invest


Australian renters face extreme temperature conditions

For the sake of all tenants, one hopes dimwit Dignam below is ignored. Government mandates on landlords to improve their properties would further restrict the availability of affordable rental accomodation. A landlord who has undergone the costs of an upgrade would put his rents up to compensate. And rather than spend on upgrades, some landlords will simply take their property off the rental market and sell it -- thus worsening an already tight rental mrkdet. Lord preserve us from brainless do-gooders

There are warnings that eight million Aussie renters are facing “threatening” situations, that could even result in deaths.

The extreme heat in Meg Chatterton’s rental was so bad over summer that she was forced to sit inside in the dark all day, a situation that has severely impacted her mental health.

The university student lives in a share house with three others in the Melbourne suburb of Box Hill and said on hot summer days there is “nowhere to escape from the heat”.

“Our house is really badly insulated and there is no airconditioning so the first thing in the morning I shut the windows and curtains to keep the heat out as much as I can,” she told

Despite a milder summer with more rain and cooler temperatures overall, the Better Renting report called Hot Homes, disturbingly found that homes across Australia routinely exceeded the recommended safe maximum temperature of 25C.

Joel Dignam, founder of Better Renting, said the government needs to introduce minimum rental standards that are explicit about safe temperatures, which would make it easier for tenants to request modifications to a home.

“I think what struck me most is just how normalised it has become for people in rentals to just put up with temperatures and conditions that are quite frightful,” he told “The sheer amount of time that rental homes are in threatening temperatures and its affecting so many people – about eight million people rent in Australia – so it’s a big issue.

“In Perth, they had such a hot summer and were seeing three hours a day above 30 degree inside their homes and it’s a bit of warning of what’s to come. We need to be doing something about this now.”

“It’s really tough for renters to address this as they can’t change their homes … and instead they just put up with it,” Dignam said.

“But to make rentals liveable requires governments to take action and requires landlords to make homes decent to live in.”


Hip-pocket pain hurts retirees most

Self-funded retirees are experiencing the sharpest rise in living costs since the last federal election, as the prices for essentials such as transport, food, health and home repairs surge.

According to household cost of living indexes compiled by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, self-funded retirees experienced a 5.5 per cent inflation rate from the June quarter 2019 until the end of last year.

Over the Coalition’s third term, employee households’ living costs rose by 2.6 per cent, as mortgage imposts tumbled and one-off pandemic childcare subsidies eased charges on parents.

Self-funded retirees spend twice as much of their budgets on health than the average household, as well as a higher share on leisure and transport, which rose by 6.5 per cent and 9 per cent respectively over the term.

This group of about two million Australians – whose principal source of income is superannuation or from property and are aged 55 and not in the labour force – spends proportionately much less of its income on housing and education than average.

Cost of living issues for older Australians often take a back seat to health as a concern for government action, but these voters are acutely focused on returns from nest eggs and retirement income rules, and are lobbying for policy changes in this month’s budget.

Eleven of the Morrison government’s 22 most vulnerable seats (with a margin below 6.5 per cent) have an above-average pool of people aged 65 and over.

Ultra-low interest rates for term deposits during the pandemic have cut incomes for retirees, who also face higher petrol costs and a range of price hikes for non-discretionary items such as food and health fees, where prices growth is running ahead of the broader consumer price index.

President of the Association of Independent Retirees Wayne Strandquist told The Australian rising living costs and stagnant incomes were squeezing members.

“Out-of-pocket health costs for self-funded retirees have been a concern for some time,” Mr Strandquist said.

“Premiums have been rising at a rate above the CPI so the gap ­between the rebate and the cost is getting wider and wider.”

Mr Strandquist said given retirees were unable to travel overseas during the pandemic, the popularity of domestic driving holidays meant high fuel prices were a source of hip-pocket pain.

As well, the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme safety net threshold of $1542, after which medicine prices are heavily reduced, is the same for singles and couples or families.

AIR is calling for a reduction in the threshold for single people.

On the income side, Mr Strandquist said cash-strapped independent retirees were forced to draw down faster on their savings, take riskier investment positions or tap their home equity.

The AIR president said for many retirees with relatively low-balance nest eggs, cash refunds for unused franking credits were an important source of income.

At the 2019 election, Bill Shorten sought to abolish cash refunds for excess franking credits. Full and part pensioners would have been exempt but the Coalition ran an effective scare campaign against it as a “retirees’ tax”.

Although the ALP election campaign review found the franking credits policy per se did not cost it votes, Anthony Albanese dumped the policy last year, arguing that it had distracted voters from the party’s key messages.

According to the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia, last year the annual increases in income needed for a “comfortable retirement” were the largest since 2010.

ASFA deputy chief executive Glen McCrea said prices were up by 3.5 per cent for the comfortable couple budget ($64,771) and by 3.9 per cent for the comfortable single budget ($45,962).

“While it is difficult for current self-funded retirees to take action to avoid these cost-of-living pressures (given many of the costs relate to essential items), it is clear that for future generations of retirees, the more you have in superannuation, the greater the flexibility you have to deal with these costs in retirement,” Mr McCrea said.

In its submission to the budget process, ASFA said it was crucial governments remained committed to lifting the superannuation rate to 12 per cent of wages over the next few years.

The rate is scheduled to go to 10.5 per cent on July 1.

Since the 2019 election, Age Pension households’ living costs rose by 4.8 per cent. Age pensioners have their benefits adjusted for inflation twice a year, as well as having them benchmarked against average earnings.

According to National Seniors Australia, 1.5 million people rely on the pension as their sole source of income and one in three lives in poverty.

In its submission to the 2022-23 budget, the retirees’ advocacy group has called for an independent tribunal to set the rate of the pension and other related payments “to take the politics out of the pension”.

As well, it wants more pensioners to be able to work.

Fewer than 3 per cent of Australian pensioners work compared with almost 25 per cent in New Zealand.

NSA chief advocate Ian Henschke said exempting employment earnings from income tests for pensioners would not only ease their financial strains, it would boost supply at a time of critical labour shortages.

“It would be a win for pensioners, a win for the economy and a win for the budget,” Mr Henschke said.

Political parties see the so-called “grey vote” as a vital demographic, although it is dispersed geographically and by income.

One-third of the population is aged over 50, with the cohort making up about 45 per cent of all voters.

According to opinion pollster JWS Research, 70 per cent of voters aged over 55 want to see government action on health, hospitals and ageing.


The incorrectness of dredging

How environmentalists and politicians helped cause the Brisbane floods

At a public meeting at Brisbane’s Mt Crosby in 1996, the halting of dredging the Brisbane River was concluded. The Lord Mayor claimed that the ‘ugly dredgers were causing bank erosion’. These dredgers with diminutive 300hp engines and 4-knot speed, were only capable of running with the tide and incapable of making a bow wave. The dredging was stopped, concluding over 100 years of effective acquisition of sand and aggregates. Brisbane then was the cheapest place in the country to build a house due to the abundance of cheap concrete, bricks, pavers and tiles delivered into the city by the river.

As the lone consultant appointed two days earlier by the Premier’s Department I protested against this decision, explaining that replacing these two quiet, old 2,000-tonne barges with 160 truck movements (each with 400hp turbocharged diesels) a day was madness, endangering schoolkids, contributing thousands of cubic metres of truck exhaust gases daily and adding to road maintenance costs.

I also concluded that the halting of the river dredging would shallow the river and exacerbate the danger of flooding. Simple cross-sectional area geometry, if you shallow the river the water will go sideways into the ‘burbs. While dams can assist in slowing upstream water volumes in rain events, dredging is a basic tool for flood mitigation, confirmed by Brisbane based dredging expert Captain Kasper Kuiper. Yet the Lord Mayor hailed the decision to halt dredging as ‘a significant victory for Queensland’. He said that for 100 years, the Brisbane River had been ‘treated as a sewer and a mine’.

‘No other capital cities in the world allow ugly dredgers into the heart of their city to mine their river’, he claimed. Nodding their agreement was an environment minister, a natural resources minister, two mayors, and the Queensland Conservation Council head who said the agreement was ‘a major breakthrough for the rehabilitation of the river’ and continued, ‘Clearly dredging is way out of line with community attitudes’.

These fools are probably perplexed that the Brisbane river, and every other river in the country, is still brown.

Most river port cities in the world have active dredging programs with aggregate extraction as the lowest cost method of maintaining navigation channel depth and mitigating flood levels. Take a trip around Asia and you will see on the Pearl River in China, Saigon River in Vietnam and the Chao Phraya river in Bangkok, multitudes of low-powered grab dredgers that are anchored until the tide changes, as they, like the Brisbane river grab dredgers, are only capable of steaming with the tide.

Fifteen years later, in 2011, I shook my head in dismay watching the Brisbane River floods on TV. Even a 300-500mm difference in water levels makes a huge difference to some houses and businesses, and the subsequent enquiry unfortunately ignored the fact that continued river dredging could have dropped the flood levels. This 2011 flood claimed 38 lives and this recent one claimed 13 lives. The people who supported and made this decision to halt river dredging should hang their heads in shame. The upper Brisbane River was navigable 46kms from the CBD by the Riverside coal barges until the Nineties.

Recent declarations that the proposed Melbourne to Brisbane rail corridor was to end in Acacia Ridge rail terminal and then thousands of containers would be barged to the port, came to a sticky halt when the clever transport policy people discovered that the Brisbane river is now ‘way too shallow’. Rail or road alternatives down to the port will be at least 40 times more expensive, and certainly louder. During the Nineties dredging debate, despite the state government getting royalties from every cubic metre extracted, dredging was halted. The navigation channel through to the Gold Coast at Jacobs Well, kept open by a sand extraction program, was abandoned, and vessels started to run aground again at anything below mid-tide. The program to attract luxury superyachts to the region suffered a knockback.

Cruise ship companies are seeking new destinations and the year-round good weather of Queensland is a natural attraction. But even to anchor off some of the beautiful destinations and send their tenders ashore is being hampered by the ongoing demonisation of dredging by the Queensland government. Picturesque destinations such as Innisfail and 1770 are not accessible from the sea except for high tide, due to lack of dredging at the river mouths. Cooktown has been listed as unsafe by marine underwriters, with the state program of a visit by a large dredger every five years. Frequent modest dredging is the best and proven way to keep a river mouth deep, and more importantly, safe !

Five years ago, a video-link to nation-building initiative of extracting sand from river mouths for local use was circulated to the councils in control of 138 blocked river outlets around the nation. You can view it at The reaction was overwhelmingly positive. Clean sand extraction at river mouths makes bar conditions safer for small vessels. Every year sees family members drown on the various bars around the nation when their cruiser or fishing boats capsize during transit.

The Queensland Labor government’s anti-dredging policy for the last twenty-six years has been an economic disaster for jobs and prosperity. Despite their claim of creating jobs, the present Labor government implemented policies that not only halted capital dredging around the state, but they halted transhipping and export mini ports through their ridiculous ‘Sustainable Ports Act’. To clarify this, the analogy is a ‘Sustainable Milk Bar Act’ where the state government owns the ten milk bars in an emerging economy, and then passes an Act to stop anyone else building or operating a milk bar.

The successful mini port of Bing Bong in the Northern Territory, has exported more than $11 billion of cargo in the last thirty years with one small transhipment vessel, and with royalties paid to the government of over $700m. The indigenous Mawa group are still co-owners of the transhipment vessel. But no such opportunity in Queensland.

A proposal by the Hopevale Congress, just north of Cooktown, to export silica sand by barge transhipment was soundly rejected, despite the product being exported being the same as the stuff on the seabed at the proposed transhipment point making the remote possibility of pollution by spillage to be zero. One senior official stated to me, ‘That may well be Dr Ballantyne, but they could use that export point to handle coal!’ The Green/Labor paranoia about coal knows no bounds.

Nowhere in our nation for the last 100 years will you find evidence of any environmental damage from dredging or transhipping. This Green/Labor philosophy and decisions totally ignore regional Australia, our traditional owners, the prosperity of the states and jobs for our kids and grandkids.


PM: Australia must ADAPT to climate change'

Scott Morrison has called for more dams and a better approach to managing fuel loads in forests to handle natural disasters worsened by climate change.

After major floods in NSW and Queensland this past fortnight, the Prime Minister on Sunday said that Australia is becoming a harder place to live due to climate change.
But Mr Morrison said the nation's approach to climate needs to focus on resilience and adapting to climate change, as well as bringing down carbon emissions.

“Let's talk about bushfires in that context. You want to deal with resilience on bushfires, you have to do fuel load management,” he said.

“You want to deal with floods, you have to build dams. Now, it hasn't been the Coalition that has been against reducing fuel loads.”




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