December 6, 2011

Is this the beginning of Rent Control in Queensland?

For fear of sounding alarmist or controversial, it is media releases like this below from the Queensland Government that get me wondering where the property industry is heading. Whilst most in the Property Industry would concede that prices for rental property in most mining towns in Queensland is extraordinary and out of reach of most ordinary Queenslanders; it must be asked what about the investors? With increasing regulation imposed on today's property investor is there a possible taskforce to be created to monitor investor costs as well? Generally speaking, rental (and sales) pricing is commonly founded and based upon supply and demand. This has for many many years been the 'formula' (if there was one) for pricing property.

Whilst again the mining rents are extraordinary, the pricing has largely been driven by supply and demand. What is feared is the question - is this the beginning of rent control in Queensland? Or will this be a government reaction to a problem only in mining towns in recent times and in recent years possibly to come? One must refer to the investor as well to even up the playing field - the costs to comply with the myriad of statutory requirements imposed by Government is a costly one for most. It is called an investment for a reason... if Investors continually get hit with regulations and task forces such as below, what will happen? The very possible thing that will happen is what the Government and our society can ill afford. With Government increasingly removing itself from social housing stock with more reliance on the private rental sector, more than this task force needs to be considered.

New Rent Affordability Taskforce for Mining Communities

A plan of action is underway to help keep rents affordable in boom resource towns, with the establishment of a Rent Affordability Taskforce for Resource Communities. Housing Minister Karen Struthers today announced the taskforce, which will include representatives from the Residential Tenancies Authority, the Urban Land Development Authority, and all relevant Government Departments.

"This taskforce will assess the rental market in resource towns (including level of rent rises and impact of increases); develop strategies to provide more affordable rental; and provide additional support and advocacy to renters," Ms Struthers said.

"I'm pleased to announce new services to work specifically for low income households in resource communities: a new RentConnect service will now help locals under housing stress to find affordable rental properties in resource towns.

"I have also approved $140,000 in funding for outreach Tenancy Advice and Advocacy Serv ice for the resource towns.

"This means new workers who will specifically target help to resource community tenants - protecting their rights, including the right to challenge excessive rental increases.

Ms Struthers said there are new changes to social housing eligibility to allow greater flexibility in resource towns, particularly where there is limited demand for social housing.

"My agency has also placed an immediate hold on the sale of government housing and land in these communities, except for sale for affordable housing."

Ms Struthers said rapid growth in the resources industry has made local housing supply and affordability a major issue.

"We are taking action to provide more support and we are addressing this concern."

The action of the taskforce will build on the considerable action of the Bligh Government, including:

  1. The Major Resource Projects Housing Policy, which requires resource companies to build more housing as part of their project approval
  2. The Urban Land Development Authority's new developments in Gladstone, Moranbah, Blackstone (Real Estate Excellence note; I believe they mean Blackwater here?) and Mackay, all of which are bringing more housing to market to ease pressures on rent prices.
  3. Significant National Rental Affordability Scheme allocations in these communities to build affordable new properties for rental at 20% below market prices.
  4. Tougher tenancy laws that allow tenants to challenge excessive rent increases.

Media contact:    Minister Struthers' office    0408 620 467 Sourced from  as at 6th December 2011.

section 71 of the RTRA Act already allows tenants to dispute significant changes from one lease to another including rent increases.

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