REIQ demands crackdown on dodgy backyard rentals

The Real Estate Institute of Queensland (REIQ) has called on authorities to crackdown on blackmarket “backyard campsites” emerging as a result of the rental crisis in the state.

REIQ Chief Executive Officer Antonia Mercorella said the institute would like to see the State Government urgently investigate and stamp out dodgy private housing operators who are taking advantage of desperate tenants.

“It is highly disturbing to see reports that backyards, garages and storage spaces are being advertised for rent for people to reside in,” Ms Mercorella said.

“We would like to see the full force of the law coming down on these opportunistic people.

“This black market of grossly substandard ‘sites for rent’ needs to be nipped in the bud.”

Ms Mercorella said 87.6 per cent of rental properties in Queensland were represented by professional property managers, but there was a small cohort of self-managed lessors and potentially many more flying under the regulatory radar.

“Real estate professionals are required by law to understand and comply with a raft of ever-changing and complex legislation and they take this responsibility very seriously,” she said.

“These professionals are well educated by the peak body and understand legislative requirements surrounding tenancy agreements and minimum housing standards.

“Chances are that those deplorably looking to rent out backyards, garages and storage spaces for a quick buck are self-managed would-be ‘lessors’ who are either ignorant of the law or are blatantly thumbing their noses at it.”

Ms Mercorella said even if a lessor’s property was not managed by a professional property manager, there was no excuse for non-compliance as the Residential Tenancies Authority provided a suite of free educational resources and information on lessor obligations.

She said it was also a timely opportunity for the State Government to raise the bar for qualifications to be a real estate professional and to clean up the deficient education providers in the sector.

“When you consider the incredibly important work that real estate professionals are performing, and the complex legislative environment they operate within, it’s essential we set the right entry threshold requirements,” she said.

“The Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) has already launched a review into real estate education providers. 

“It’s time for urgent action to stop diploma factories that are just providing quick tick and flick real estate courses.

“It’s also important that the ongoing education of real estate professionals is addressed with the long-overdue introduction of quality mandatory continuing professional development (CPD) to maintain and broaden real estate practitioner’s knowledge, competence and compliance.”

Ms Mercorella said it was a shocking sign of insufficient social housing supply, that Queenslanders were seeking the relative safety of private backyards over camping in public parks.

“The chronic social housing underspend over the past decade is being laid bare – none of us wants to see people living in tents or sleeping in cars but that is the harsh reality before us,” she said.

“Only 270 social houses were completed in our state last year, compared to a growing social housing waitlist of more than 43,000 Queenslanders.

“Vulnerable people who are desperate for shelter, safety and security have been left to make impossible choices.”

Elite Agent has reached out to the Residential Tenancies Authority for comment.

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