Homes for Queenslanders Plan to support renters

Premier Steven Miles recently unveiled the Homes for Queenslanders Plan, aimed at bolstering support for Queensland renters through the implementation of robust legislation to ensure fairness, safety, and accessibility in the rental market.

The comprehensive plan includes:

•A significant increase in funding for essential support services such as bond loans and rental security subsidies to provide crucial assistance to renters in maintaining housing stability.

•The prohibition of all forms of rent bidding to promote fairness and transparency in the rental market.

•Measures to crack down on unethical and unprofessional practices within the real estate sector.

•Strengthening renters’ rights, including the introduction of fee-free options for rent payment.

•Doubling the number of specialist customer service staff in the 21 Housing Service Centres to enhance support for renters.

However, the announcement has drawn criticism from the Real Estate Institute of Queensland (REIQ), which expressed dissatisfaction with the proposed reforms, citing concerns that they fail to address the underlying market pressures exacerbated by a shortage of social housing and private rental supply.

REIQ CEO Antonia Mercorella emphasised that while the collaboration with organisations like the Queensland Disability Network (QDN) on property modification frameworks is commendable, a blanket approach without property owner consent could have costly consequences.

Regarding the proposed reforms on rent bidding, Mercorella argued that existing legislation in Queensland already prohibits rent bidding, making additional measures unnecessary.

While acknowledging the importance of rental relief financial aid, Mercorella criticised the lack of investment in social housing, highlighting Queensland’s lowest level of spending on social housing in the country and a significant waitlist for social housing.

While REIQ supports the development of a Rental Sector Code of Conduct, Mercorella highlighted the need for funding for real estate professional training and mandatory continuing professional development (CPD) requirements.

“REIQ acknowledges certain positive aspects of the reforms, such as rental relief financial aid, however the institute believes that addressing supply issues should be the primary focus to effectively alleviate rental market pressures,” she said.

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