The Real Estate Institute of Queensland (REIQ) is calling for a crackdown on the appalling black market of ‘backyard campsites’ for rent emerging in Queensland amid the rental crisis.
REIQ CEO Antonia Mercorella says the state peak body for real estate professionals would like to see such practices urgently investigated and stamped out for the safety of the community.
“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 says. “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 says the vast majority (87.6 per cent) of rental properties in Queensland are represented by professional property managers. However, there is 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 or ever-changing and complex legislation and they take this responsibility very seriously,” she says.
“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.
“Even if your property is not represented by a real estate professional, there is really no excuse for non-compliance, given the Residential Tenancies Authority provide a suite of free educational resources about lessor obligations.”
Ms Mercorella says it is an opportunity for the 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 says.
“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 to maintain and broaden real estate practitioners’ knowledge, competence and compliance.”
She says it is an absolutely shocking sign of insufficient social housing supply, that Queenslanders were seeking the relative safety of private backyards over camping in public parks.
“Only 270 social houses were completed in our state last year, compared to a growing social housing waitlist of more than 43,000 Queenslanders,” she says.
“Vulnerable people who are desperate for shelter, safety and security have been left to make impossible choices.”