Rent hikes will be limited to once a year rather than every six months, Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk told parliament today ahead of a housing crisis round table.
- Queensland’s premier says rent hikes will be capped to one a year
- Tenants Queensland also wants a cap on the amount rent can be increased
- The state’s homelessness has risen by 22 per cent in the past five years, according to a recent report
Dozens of housing groups will be hosted at parliament today to discuss ways to increase supply with rental affordability top of the agenda.
The most recent report by the Rental Affordability Index found Brisbane is now the second-least affordable capital city to rent in, after an increase of 17 per cent in the 12 months to June 2022.
Ms Palaszczuk said the rental limits would be a “wake-up call” for landlords not “doing the right thing”.
“The great majority of landlords do the right thing and look after their tenants but for those who do not, this is a wake-up call,” she said.
“We must act and will act to deliver reforms that balance the rights and interests of Queenslanders who rent and property owners to sustain healthy rental supply.
“This is fair and it is required at a time when we have seen cost of living soar and families continue to struggle.”
Ms Palaszczuk also announced several additional funding measures to help support Queenslanders facing homelessness and housing stress.
It included $28 million for more than 600 emergency hotel accommodation places across the state, for rental and bond support payments, and for food relief services.
A further $3.9 million was announced to extend and expand food and emergency relief support until 2024 which includes vouchers and food parcels.
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Ms Palaszczuk also announced a second QBuild housing factory will be built in Cairns to help the state build pre-fabricated homes that can be constructed in 12 weeks.
The new centre will be fully operational by 2024 and will deliver 26 homes each year for government workers, like nurses and police officers working in the regions.
Treasurer Cameron Dick also flagged he would look to introduce tax concessions for property developers to incentivise more build-to-rent accommodation.
Mr Dick said land tax would be slashed by 50 per cent for up to 20 years for build-to-rent developments that feature at least 10 per cent of rental homes as affordable housing.
The Queensland government will also offer a full exemption for the 2 per cent foreign investor land tax surcharge for up to 20 years and for the Additional Foreign Acquirer Duty for the future transfer of a build-to-rent site.
Mr Dick said he would consult with the property industry on the tax concession before the proposed commenced on July 1.
“The private construction sector is at capacity across Australia,” he said.
“Our government is working with industry to identify innovative ideas that create new pipelines of housing supply.
“The build-to-rent projects that we’ve already brought to Queensland are already boosting rental supply.”
Property Council Queensland executive director Jen Williams said a model reliant on “mum and dad” landlords was no longer viable.
“With fewer rental properties available and ongoing demand pressures, there is a growing need for purpose-built rental accommodation that can be delivered at scale,” she said.
“Despite this huge tenant demand, there are many barriers to investment that make it difficult for institutional landlords to provide rental accommodation in Australia.”
She said the government’s investment will prompt a “wave” of new housing.
Call to address short-term lets
Australian Resident Accommodation Managers Association wants the government to ban detached homes from being used for short-term and holiday lets.
The group said the housing shortage was driven by overseas companies like Airbnb, and laws favouring tenants which made it “harder” for investors to let to long-term tenants.
CEO Trevor Rawnsley said the government had been “seduced” by the sharing economy, adding: “There is nothing sharing about it. Taking houses in the suburbs away from the long-term residential housing rental market at a time of a housing crisis is extremely selfish.”
Tenants Queensland said the annual rent rise cap was not enough to protect people from the market’s “price gauging”.
It wants a limit to the amount rent goes up, using the Consumer Price Index as a benchmark.
“That allows landlords still to increase their rents moderately at a time, and allows tenants to plan for their increases,” CEO Penny Carr said.
“We need a good operating rental market that doesn’t churn people through or makes them pay rents that push them into poverty.”
The number of homeless in Queensland has jumped 22 per cent in the past five years – almost triple the national increase, according to a report by Queensland Council of Social Services (QCOSS) released this month.
Rent in Brisbane has risen by more than 30 per cent since COVID, according to report author, University of New South Wales’ Professor Hal Pawson.
The report found the state needs 11,000 affordable and social homes each year for the next 20 years.
Last year, the government promised 13,000 social and affordable homes by 2027.