Right now, 47% of households in Maiwar rent. My family is one of them. With home ownership increasingly out of reach, an ever growing population and mix of people, including families, are renting long term.
After huge pressure from the Greens during the 2017 State election, the Queensland Labor State government agreed to review our rental laws. But after years of waiting, and seeing the impacts of our unfair and imbalanced rental laws during the COVID-19 pandemic, in May 2021 the Greens introduced a Bill for rental reforms in Queensland that included:
- Cap rent increases in line with inflation
- Ban “rent bidding” for good
- End “no grounds evictions” by landlords: Leases should only be able to be terminated with 12 months’ notice by the landlord, and only on reasonable grounds
- Set minimum standards for rental properties
- Make it easier for renters to have pets
- Allow tenants to make minor modifications like hanging a picture, installing furniture hooks, planting a garden or putting up shelves
Many of these policies have already been implemented throughout the world, in places like Berlin, Paris, Sweden, the Netherlands, Italy and even Tasmania and Victoria.
In June 2021 the Queensland Labor Government came back with their own rental reforms that:
- Makes it easier for renters who are experiencing domestic violence to leave tenancies;
- Establishes minimum housing standards, like a property must have a connected toilet, be weatherproof and structurally sound
- Makes it a little easier to get a pet approved for a property (but still not easy), and the landlord can make you keep your pet outside without having to justify why
But they backed away from two key reforms, ending "no grounds" evictions and allowing minor safety modifications.
These bills were considered side-by-side by the government's Community Support and Services Committee. Over a thousand renters wrote to their local MP and the Housing urging them to use this opportunity to give renters real protections. Renters came forward and shared heart-breaking story after heart-breaking story of how difficult it is just to get safe and secure rental housing in Queensland.
After the Government refused to debate our bill side-by-side with theirs, we moved amendments that would do the same. Unfortunately both Labor and the LNP voted them down.
The Labor State Government was presented with a choice: give Queensland renters real protections, or keep the real estate lobby and wealthy property investors happy. In the end, they chose the side of the real estate lobby and pushed their bill through parliament unamended.
What happens next?
Labor has said they'll bring another tranche of rental reforms through parliament this term. I'll be keeping my out for this and will provide any updates as soon as they come.