REIQ Fraser Coast zone chair Kim Carter says the State Government’s proposed COVID rent changes will adversely affect the region’s investment property market. Photo: Alistair Brightman
REIQ Fraser Coast zone chair Kim Carter says the State Government’s proposed COVID rent changes will adversely affect the region’s investment property market. Photo: Alistair Brightman

RENT REFORM REVOLT: Fury over planned COVID protections

LANDLORDS and real estate agents are seeing red over proposed rental reforms which they believe burden home owners with an unfair share of COVID-19 economic pain.

As the state grapples with the coronavirus, Queensland's peak real estate body has vowed to oppose the State Government's new protections for renters.

Parliament will debate the changes, which include a waiver on rental payments and a six-month freeze on evictions, next Wednesday.

The Real Estate Institute of Queensland says the changes are not balanced as they will harm property owners more than tenants.

Alan Frankham, the owner of an investment property in Hervey Bay with two rentals, said the changes would leave him in a "great ­financial mess".

Still working as an electrical contractor and outback church pastor, the 75-year-old said a rent waiver would affect his income.

"If there was any change to the current status we would certainly have difficulty paying a mortgage on that property," Mr Frankham said.

"When we go to the bush, I take my tools and we do not ask for any money for our work.

"People are generous to us - that's how we've lived in the work we do."

Mr Frankham said it was unfair to tar all property owners with the same brush, as he and his wife, Myril, had always tried to do the right thing by their tenants.

He said landlords were "not a bunch of ogres" and many were being "painted into a corner".

"We've always been open with our circumstance," he said.

"We haven't tried to fudge anything in terms of what we're doing and who we are."

Housing Minister Mick de Brenni says landlords and tenants must "work together" to get through the ­pandemic.

Fraser Coast's REIQ chairwoman Kim Carter has urged local agents to stand against the proposal.

Ms Carter told the Chronicle the changes could negatively impact the region's investment property market.

"Investors will be hesitant to put themselves in a situation which would see them through no fault of their own getting little to no return on their money," Ms Carter said.

She said this would undermine people's confidence to invest in real estate, which would reduce the amount of accommodation available for rent.

The REIQ has already outlined their own changes to the State Government's proposals, including a rent deferral instead of a waiver, and a requirement for tenants to substantiate a rent reduction request.

Mr de Brenni said the State Government's framework would not let tenants "unilaterally demand a rent reduction" or immediately leave the property.

"Coronavirus-affected ten­ants must be able to provide proof, but detailed personal information needs only to be provided to the Residential Tenancies Authority," Mr de Brenni said.

"This system is designed to protect property owners by ensuring there is complete clarity around the terms and duration of any temporary arrangements."

Tenants Queensland chief executive Penny Carr said the protections would relieve pressure on renters who had lost their job due to the coronavirus crisis.

"This is a public health crisis and we need to make sure that movement around our community is reduced as much as possible," she said.

"Having a secure home is the first line of defence against infection."



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