Friday, August 26, 2022

Why a rule change that makes it harder for landlords to evict a tenant will also make it harder to find a rental property

I once owned 7 houses in Brisbane, 6 of which I let out. I got so tired of managing them amid laws that privileged tenants over landlords that I sold them and put the money into company shares instead. As far as I can tell, all 6 houses went to owner-occupiers so were removed from the rental market.

Landlords already have little protection from bad tenants and the new laws will make it worse. I have had to replace $1000 of carpet after an outgoing tenant let his pet piss and shit on it. The smell made the place unlettable without new carpet. And the outgoing tenant was poor and not worth suing.

The only protection from that sort of thing is to ban pets. But that will now be illegal

Tenants in one state of Australia will soon be immune from being evicted without a good reason under new laws coming into effect in October.

Queensland renters will soon only be allowed to be kicked out if the landlord is renovating or demolishing the home, the owner wants to move in or rent hasn't been paid.

But, provided the tenant has been well-behaved and hasn't acted illegally on the premises, they will have the right to remain in the property under that state's Housing Legislation Amendment Act 2021.

Landlords will also need to have a good reason for refusing a renter permission to keep a pet.

Simon Pressley, the head of research with buyers' agency Propertyology, said the new rules coming into effect on October 1 would force landlord investors to sell, exacerbating Queensland's rental crisis.

'At a time when the sunshine state already has its biggest ever shortage of rental accommodation, it is likely that thousands of existing landlords will sell, thereby shrinking the size of the rental pool and leaving thousands of Queensland tenants with nowhere to live,' he said.

Brisbane's rental vacancy rate stood at 0.7 per cent in July, SQM Research data showed. The Gold Coast and Cairns had an even tighter vacancy rate of 0.6 per cent.

Mr Pressley argued the new arrangements would also end the 'periodic lease' whereby landlords could continue renting out the property to the same tenant without formal paperwork.

'New draconian legislation effectively means that once a Queensland rental property is on a periodic lease arrangement, the tenant can remain living there for as long as they want,' he said.

'The only way that the asset owner can force the tenant out is if they move into the property themselves, sell the property or commence a major renovation.'

The legal changes remove a landlord's right to evict a tenant 'without grounds' and will only allow fixed-term agreements with renters.

Queensland Housing Minister Leeanne Enoch in February argued the new laws would give certainty to renters.

'By ending no grounds evictions, renters and property owners now have more certainty about how and when parties can end their tenancy arrangements,' she said. 'Everyone deserves to live in a safe and secure home.'

Tenants under the rules will also have the right to have pets from October 1.

A landlord will be required to explain in writing, within 14 days, why a pet can't be kept on the rental property, and what by-law this would breach.

But they can also stipulate conditions for keeping a pet on the property, including that a dog be kept outside or that carpets are cleaned.


The Greens demand a TWO YEAR rent freeze for every single Australian tenant as prices soar across the country - but the plan could have dire consequences

Another attack on landlords. The prices they have to pay go up while their income is fixed. The more you attack landlords, the fewer of them you will have -- making rental accomodation less and less available. Clever!

The Greens are calling for a nationwide two-year rent freeze to allow incomes to catch up with surging prices. The party also wants to see rent increases capped at two per cent every 24 months once the two-year suspension lapses.

In the 12 months to June, rents have soared 9.1 per cent across capital cities and 10.8 per cent in regional areas, CoreLogic data shows.

Greens housing spokesperson Max Chandler-Mather said: 'Rents are out of control, millions of Australian renters are struggling to pay the rent. 'Unless the government wants to see more families sleeping in their cars they need to do their job and act now to stop this crisis boiling over into a national tragedy.'

The proposal would see wages catch up with rents by the end of the decade.

However, economists fear the proposal would have dire consequences and actually increase rents in the long run.

Grattan Institute economist Brendan Coates said a rent freeze would deter developers from building new houses which are badly needed in Australia. 'Rent control has a seductive, intuitive appeal which is that if you if you basically cap rent increases, then you're going to protect renters that are struggling to pay higher rental costs,' he told the ABC.

'But it also potentially has some big costs in the long run, which is that if you do have rent control in place, then you're limiting the ability of the market to tell investors, developers, everyone else that we need more housing.

'And you can have a situation where basically the existing housing stock isn't maintained very well and there's less new housing built.'

Mr Coates said increasing rental assistance - government payments to low income Aussies - would be a smarter short-term measure.

The Greens also proposed an end to no-grounds evictions, which allow landlords to evict tenants without providing a reason if they are no longer covered by a fixed-term lease, and minimum standards for rental properties.

The party pointed to rental freezes during the pandemic and the use of rental controls around the world to support its proposal.

While rental control measures are often criticised as disincentive to construction of more low-cost rental properties, Mr Chandler-Mather said there was no evidence rent stabilisation and rent control decreased the supply of housing in the research on the subject.

'In some instances, that actually increases the supply of affordable housing to buy because some investors might sell their homes which is actually a good thing,' Mr Chandler-Mather said.

He added that rent control should be considered as part of a holistic strategy to improve housing affordability, such as introducing a vacancy levy, phasing out negative gearing and capital gains exemptions and building more public and social housing.

The policy proposal follows a report showing rentals have become so expensive and hard to find that it's stopping workers from moving to regions for new job opportunities.


Government releases 10 sites for oil and gas exploration, angering crossbench

A surprise from a Leftist government

The federal government will release a further 10 sites for exploration for new oil and gas projects off the coasts of Victoria, the Northern Territory and Western Australia, triggering rebukes from crossbench senators who say it doesn’t align with the government’s own climate goals.

Industry Minister Madeleine King announced the release of the sites, totalling 46,758 square kilometres of Commonwealth waters, on Wednesday saying it would play an important role in securing future energy supplies.

“The annual release of areas for offshore petroleum exploration supports ongoing investment in the nation’s petroleum sector, which is vital for the economy and meeting the energy needs of Australians,” King said.

“At the same time as we strive to reduce emissions it must be emphasised that continued exploration for oil and gas in Commonwealth waters is central to alleviating future domestic gas shortfalls.”

The new sites are in Commonwealth waters in 10 areas, including Victoria’s Gippsland basin and Western Australia’s Carnarvon basin.

Australia remains a net exporter of gas, and imports much of its oil due to the lack domestic of oil refinery capacity.

According to an analysis by the International Energy Agency last year the world cannot build any new oil and gas projects if it expects to meet Paris Agreement climate goals.

Senator David Pocock said on Wednesday night he was concerned the government was pursuing “business as usual” with the oil and gas industry given the IEA’s analysis and the government’s own target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Greens Senator Peter Whish-Wilson said the release of the sites “made a mockery” of its own climate targets with the announcement.

“We already have enough oil and gas in reserves to trigger catastrophic climate change to our planet,” he said.

He noted that the Morrison government had stopped the controversial Pep-11 exploration off the coast of NSW due to community concerns and that while in opposition Prime Minister Anthony Albanese had agreed it should be halted.

“If opposing fossil fuel exploration due to community and environmental concerns was good enough for NSW, then it is sheer hypocrisy not to do the same for coastlines right around Australia,” Whish-Wilson said.

Anthony Albanese declared an “end to the climate wars” after Climate Minister Chris Bowen negotiated support for Labor’s 43 per cent target to cut greenhouse gas emissions, which was approved by the new House of Representatives at the start of August.

But King’s announcement follows warnings from Greens’ leader Adam Bandt and Pocock that they will use their casting votes in the Senate to enforce the target by opposing any legislation that approves high-polluting new projects.

King also announced the approval of two sites for greenhouse gasses to be stored underground in offshore geological formations as part of potential future carbon capture and storage projects.

“Carbon capture and storage has a vital role to play to help Australia meet its net zero targets,” she said.

Climate scientists and activists argue that despite billions being spent, large-scale carbon, capture and storage has never worked commercially.


Welcome mat for Indian students in Australian universities

The higher education sector is pushing Labor to ­lure thousands more Indian students with cheaper visas and ­easier working arrangements to secure the nation’s stake in a ­market set to produce 500 million graduates and undergraduates by 2035.

Education Minister Jason Clare is holding rolling talks this week with his Indian counterpart Dharmendra Pradhan to tick off on key parts of the interim free-trade deal struck between the two countries in April, boost research collaboration and get more ­Indian students enrolled in Australian universities.

As universities try to diversify their foreign student intake and wean themselves off a decade-long overreliance on the Chinese market, the number of Indian students granted a visa almost doubled between June and July, from just over 3000 to close to 6000 as visa backlogs were worked through by the Home Affairs ­Department following a boost to staff under Labor.

Mr Clare said on Monday a “relatively small number of ­Indian students” studied in Australia, with 59,000 currently ­enrolled – 5500 of whom were offshore. “India has a challenge of another magnitude … the sheer scale of training half a billion young Indian students is enormous,” he said.

“I think I can confidently speak for Australian universities … that we’re keen to work with (India) to help implement that bold agenda.”

Mr Pradhan said his government wanted to “take the best practice of higher education of Australia to India”.

“A lot of Indian-origin students are coming to Australia for higher education … India is thankful to you for that,” he said.

While pushing for Australia to take up the “opportunity” of ­attracting more Indian students, Mr Clare said there were only so many places available.

“There’s a lot more we can do to help in the implementation of India’s education plan in India ­itself, either universities setting up campuses in India like the University of Wollongong is intending to do, or also the opportunity to provide courses online,” he said. But chief executive of the powerful Group of Eight, Vicki Thomson, warned fewer Indian students had taken up studying online during Covid compared to cohorts in China.

Ms Thomson said Australia was facing “stiff competition” in the international education market from Britain, the US and ­Canada, and raised the need for a high potential visa that would target graduates in areas of workforce need and encourage them into employment once they ­graduated.

“Our engagement with India, the world’s fastest-growing economy, is critical to the future ­success of our sector,” she said. “Building on our strong bilateral relationship with India in the higher education and research sector will be mutually beneficial to both nations.”




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