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Proposed Queensland rental reforms fall short: advocates


Rental advocates have slammed long-awaited Queensland reforms for dropping a key protection against unfair evictions and a strong assumption in favour of tenants keeping pets, after a significant campaign from property owners and the real estate sector.

The proposed laws, which Housing Minister Leeanne Enoch said aimed to end groundless evictions and establish minimum standards to improve conditions for the 36 per cent of the state’s households that rent, were introduced to Parliament on Friday after a years-long consultation process.

Under the changes, which push stage one of the government’s proposed reforms forward, a landlord will no longer be able to issue a notice to leave without grounds. Tenants who can no longer safely continue with a lease because they are experiencing domestic and family violence will be able to leave with one week’s notice.

Landlords must have reasonable grounds to refuse a tenant’s application to keep a pet, such as the property being unsuitable or to comply with by-laws, but could also place conditions on pet ownership, including that it be kept outside and the property properly cleaned at the end of the lease. The proposed laws also state that fair wear and tear does not include pet damage.

But tenant advocacy group Better Renting said the government needed to explain why it had moved away from a recommendation of its own review to bar landlords ending a lease at the end of a fixed-term contract unless they were planning to sell, undertake major renovations, or move in themselves.

“Queensland Labor must explain why they have departed from this recommendation and how people who rent their homes can possibly feel secure when, 10 months into a tenancy, they can be told to get out,” executive director Joel Dignam said.

With more people renting, and doing so for longer terms, tenants in such situations would still be in a weak position to oppose any refusal of a pet application, Mr Dignam said.

“The proposed changes fall short. People who rent will still be afraid of an unjustified notice to leave that will mean giving up their home and struggling to find a new place to live in a competitive rental market.”

Tenants Queensland chief executive Penny Carr welcomed the introduction of minimum standards and moves to make rentals more pet-friendly, but said the changes would undermine the current tenancy laws.

“We advocated new grounds to end tenancies, but only with the view to removing the ability to end tenancies without grounds,” Ms Carr said. “The government have done the former but not the latter.”

The Queenslanders with Disability Network raised concerns that a removed proposal allowing renters to make minor modifications would affect the community, while the Queensland Council of Social Service criticised the bill for not including air and ventilation requirements in the minimum standards.

Greens South Brisbane MP Amy MacMahon, who introduced her own private member’s bill this month seeking to also cap rent increases to once every two years by no more than CPI and ban rental bidding, said the government had sided with property owners and the real estate lobby.

Ms Enoch said the Greens’ bill would have made it less likely for an owner to rent our their property, and what was needed was a “strong, balanced” approach to encourage market growth and stability while also protecting the rights of both tenants and owners.

Rental vacancy rates remain low across the state, with the Real Estate Institute of Queensland recently reporting the tightest vacancies in Anstead (0.5 per cent), Birkdale (0.3 per cent) and Capalaba (0.2 per cent).

Institute chief executive Antonia Mercorella praised what she described as a fair outcome for tenancy laws in need of modernisation.

The government first flagged the reforms in 2018 with a consultation process that drew more than 135,000 responses. A second stage was expected to look at inspections, rental bonds and longer-term leases.


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Lovingly restored heritage boutique accommodation set to open in Sunshine Coast’s Maleny

Sunshine Coast's Maleny restored

Maleny Lodge, a new heritage boutique accommodation in the heart of the vibrant Sunshine Coast hinterland town of Maleny, will open on 30 May, after being lovingly restored by owners Andrew and Lucy Pink.

Maleny Lodge dates back to 1905, when it was originally called Rosedale, but was later renamed Maleny Lodge, and has provided lodgings ever since.

Andrew and Lucy Pink bought the property in 2021, after their highly successful re-birthing of a 1980s motel in Maroochydore and transforming it into the chic Loea Boutique Hotel.

With Lucy’s impeccable eye for distinctive furnishings and objet d’arts, and a complete interior update of the Lodge, the couple have brought a new lease of life to the house whilst retaining its charm and original features. Full of luxury finishes, modern comforts and a beautifully curated collection of vintage furniture and trinkets, Maleny Lodge offers some of the newest accommodation in the Hinterland for many years.

Maleny Lodge blurs the lines between boutique hotel and holiday home, offering an exclusively adults-only space where guests can disconnect from everyday life, relax and rejuvenate in luxurious surroundings.

There are four large ensuite guest rooms that can be booked separately, all named after the original family members who lived there. The four rooms are available from between $280 and $360 per night, subject to availability.

The original part of the house, Rosedale, is available for renting as a complete property, comprising three bedrooms: one king room with an ensuite plus two queen rooms sharing the main bathroom with a stunning claw foot bath. Rosedale comes with a fully equipped country kitchen, lounge/dining room with log fire, and cosy outdoor dining on the veranda.

Ideal for friends, small wedding parties, adult families and corporate think-tanks, Rosedale is available from $700 per night, and includes shared access to the picturesque grounds, heated magnesium pool and woodland area. The whole property is also available for renting, with a capacity of a maximum of 14 guests.

Co-owner Andrew Pink said that it had been a pleasure for Lucy and him to revitalise the impressive property.

“It has been a very careful balance between preserving the distinctive heritage character of the property and renovating it for the ultimate in contemporary luxury,” said Andrew Pink.

“It’s all in the detail. Our seven individually designed bedrooms are not only beautiful, but we have designed them with the comfort of our guests in mind. You can immerse yourself in cloud like bedding adorned with flax linen sheets for a dreamy night’s sleep. Our luxurious bathrooms feature handcrafted artisan tiles with freestanding bath and/or double shower.”

Ideal for special occasions and events

Maleny Lodge is available for exclusive hire making it a perfect venue for special events including small weddings, retreats, gatherings and location shoots.

In addition to accommodating up to 14 guests, Maleny Lodge can host a further 36 guests for day within the Lodge’s beautiful gardens. For all events Maleny Lodge is offered as a ‘blank canvas’, with the group arranging extras such as catering, marquee, furniture, and glassware/cutlery/crockery hire.

Exclusive hire prices start from $1800 per night. Plus $100 per additional guest attending your event (up to 36 additional guests).




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Report: Australia’s vacancy rate holds steady at record low

Australia's vacancy rate holds steady

Australia’s vacancy rate held steady for the month of April, with the national figure still sitting at a lowly 1.0 per cent.

According to Domain’s latest report, the combined vacancy rate remains at its lowest level since Domain started recording the metric in 2017.

The record-low figure means that the country’s rental market remains one that favours landlords, as demand continues to outstrip supply.

Analysis data Domain property real estate rental market Australia

Among the capital cities, April did, however, show mixed results, with some metropolises witnessing a slight increase in vacancy rates while others continued to dip lower.

Most notably, Australia’s first and second most populous cities – Melbourne and Sydney – both saw decreases last month.

Data shows that the Emerald City dropped by 0.1 per cent in April to just 1.4 per cent, which is the lowest vacancy rate Sydney has witnessed since Domain’s records began.

Similarly, Melbourne dropped by 0.1 per cent, too, with the rental vacancy rate in Victoria’s capital now sitting at just 1.7 per cent.

Melbourne’s worsening rental crisis is punctuated when comparing last month’s vacancy rate to April 2021, which was 4.0 per cent.

Conversely, Canberra’s red-hot rental market looks to have cooled ever so slightly, with the number of available rentals shooting up by 0.2 per cent last month to now sit at 0.7 per cent.

Hobart, Adelaide and Perth all saw 0.1 per cent increases in vacancy rates, while Brisbane and Darwin remained steady at 0.7 per cent and 0.5 per cent, respectively.

Australia's vacancy rate report

Australia’s combined vacancy rate remains at an all-time low of just 1 per cent. (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

The increasingly short supply of rental properties across the country is also driving up weekly asking prices to record highs.

“Many cities are sitting at record high asking rents with all capital cities seeing an increase in median rents for the first quarter of 2022 (except Sydney houses which remain steady at a record high),” Dr Nicola Powell, Domain’s chief of research and economics, said.

Dr Powell added that things are likely to worsen for renters in the post-COVID era.

“The current tightening conditions swing favour to landlords and bolster the likelihood of any future potential rental price increases post-COVID as rising investor activity and elevated rental demand will further worsen conditions for tenants,” Dr Powell said.


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Property Management

All You Need To Know On How To Maintain Your Rental Property

rental property

Maintaining your rental property is important if you want to keep your tenants happy and ensure that your investment is protected. In this blog post, we will discuss all the things you need to do in order to properly maintain your property. We will cover everything from keeping the property clean to fixing broken appliances. So, whether you are a new landlord or have been renting out properties for years, be sure to read this post!

To DIY or Hire A Professional?

So, what you can do to maintain your rental property? There are many high-rise window cleaning companies in Sydney that will be able to help you with the upkeep of your rental property. However, some people feel more comfortable doing it themselves. If you fall into this category, here are a few things you need to know on how to maintain your rental property:

  • – First and foremost, always make sure that your windows are clean. This may seem like an obvious task but it is one that is often overlooked. Not only will dirty windows make your rental property look unkempt, but it can also lead to permanent damage if left unchecked.
  • – In addition to regularly cleaning your windows, you should also be sure to inspect them for any signs of wear and tear. If you notice any cracks or chips, be sure to repair them as soon as possible to avoid further damage.
  • – If your rental property has gutters, it is important to keep them clean and free of debris. Clogged gutters can lead to water damage, so be sure to clean them out on a regular basis.
  • – Finally, don’t forget about the outside of your rental property. Regularly trimming the lawn and keeping the landscaping tidy will go a long way in making your rental property look its best.

By following these tips, you can ensure that your rental property is well-maintained and that your tenants are happy. In turn, this will help you retain good tenants and avoid having to deal with high turnover rates.

Regular Maintenance

As a landlord, you are responsible for ensuring that your rental property is well-maintained. This includes regular cleaning and repairs, as well as preventive maintenance. By keeping up with regular maintenance, you can avoid more costly repairs down the road. 

In order to keep your rental property in top shape, it is important to develop a regular maintenance schedule. This schedule should include tasks such as checking the smoke detectors and changing the filters on the furnace. Additionally, you should inspect the property regularly for any signs of damage or wear and tear. 

By staying on top of regular maintenance, you can ensure that your rental property remains in good condition for years to come. Additionally, tenants will appreciate living in a clean and well-maintained rental property. If you are not sure where to start, consider hiring a professional property management company to help you with maintaining your rental property.

Event of the emergency

While regular maintenance is important, there are also some things that you should do in the event of an emergency. For example, if there is a broken window or a clogged toilet, you will need to take care of the problem as quickly as possible. In these cases, it is often best to hire a professional to handle the repair. 

By being prepared for emergencies, you can avoid costly damages to your rental property. Additionally, tenants will appreciate knowing that you are available to take care of any problems that may arise. 

As a landlord, it is important to be prepared for both regular maintenance and emergency repairs. By staying on top of these tasks, you can ensure that your rental property remains in good condition for years to come. Additionally, tenants will appreciate living in a clean and well-maintained rental property. If you are not sure where to start, consider hiring a professional property management company to help you with maintaining your rental property. 

Regular Inspections

Rental property

As a property owner, you should carry out regular inspections to make sure that your tenants are taking good care of your investment. By conducting regular inspections, you can nip any potential problems in the bud and avoid costly repairs down the line. 

Ideally, you should inspect your rental property every three months or so. Of course, this may not always be practical – especially if you live far away from your rental property. In such cases, you may need to hire a professional property management company to carry out inspections on your behalf. 

During an inspection, there are several things you should look out for:

  • Are there any signs of damage? This could include water damage, holes in walls or ceilings, or broken windows.
  • – Is the property clean and tidy? 
  • Are there any health and safety hazards? This could include things like electrical hazards, trip hazards, or gas leaks.
  • Are the tenants following the terms of their tenancy agreement? This includes things like keeping the property clean and tidy, paying rent on time, and not causing any damage to the property. 

If you do find any problems during an inspection, you should address them with your tenants as soon as possible. By doing so, you can avoid potential disputes down the line.

Rental Property Maintenance Expenses

As a landlord, you are responsible for maintaining your rental property and ensuring that it is safe for your tenants. This includes regularly checking the condition of the property, repairing any damage, and keeping up with general maintenance tasks.

While it is important to keep your rental property in good condition, it is also important to be aware of the costs associated with maintaining a rental property. Here are some common expenses that landlords need to budget for:

  • Repairs: Even if you take good care of your rental property, repairs will be needed from time to time. Landlords should budget for both emergency repairs (such as a broken water heater) and routine maintenance tasks (such as painting the walls or fixing a leaky faucet).
  • Updates: In order to keep your rental property competitive, you may need to make occasional updates and improvements. This could include anything from repainting the walls to installing new appliances.
  • -Cleaning: Depending on the type of rental property you have, you may need to hire a professional cleaning service to clean the units between tenants. This is especially common for properties with multiple units, such as apartments or condos.

As a landlord, it is important to be aware of the costs associated with maintaining your rental property. By budgeting for repairs, updates, and cleaning, you can ensure that your rental property remains in good condition while also staying within your budget.

Doing Rental Maintenance Helps to Have Happy Tenants.

As a rental property owner, you know that happy tenants are key to having a successful business. Not only will they take care of your property, but they are also more likely to renew their lease year after year. That’s why it’s important to do everything you can to keep them happy – and that includes maintaining your rental property.

Overall, maintaining your rental property does not have to be a difficult task. By following the tips mentioned above, you can ensure that your property is well-taken care of and remains in good condition for years to come. With a little bit of effort, you can create a comfortable and enjoyable living space for both you and your tenants. So what are you waiting for? 


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