Page 529 - Week 02 - Wednesday, 23 March 2022
enter a contract worth tens of thousands of dollars a year with a person they know nothing about? This should not be the norm. At the very least, prospective tenants deserve to have some idea about how their landlord has treated tenants in the past.
There needs to be greater transparency in our rental market. Landlord references are a simple and sensible step towards achieving this. Tenants deserve to know whether their prospective landlord is going to do a good job or whether they have a history of mistreating their tenants. Tenants deserve to know if their landlord will be quick to deal with maintenance issues, if they will respond to their emails, and give reasonable notice before visiting the property.
Without any sort of accountability there are no real incentives for landlords to treat their tenants well. We have laws that are designed to protect tenants should serious misconduct occur, but in a rental market this tight, landlords who are uncommunicative or uncooperative, or even break the law, tend to get away with it in the long run. This motion is about giving a little more power back to renters. I urge all members in this place to support it.
MR DAVIS (Brindabella) (3.24): I rise to speak in support of Mr Pettersson’s motion, a simple reform that seeks to shift the gross power imbalance that has existed for far too long between those who can afford to own multiple properties and those who cannot afford to own one at all.
Before it is highlighted by some of my colleagues in this place, I appreciate the irony of me saying these things, as someone who spent 12 years working with and for real estate investors and landlords here in the ACT, prior to my election to this place. This is not only a view that I have long had but actually good advice that I would give to landlords, were I still working with and for them: being a landlord is not a right; it is a privilege.
Unfortunately, we know, as discussed at length in this place, that federal government tax settings such as negative gearing and capital gains tax concessions have created an environment that has allowed many in our community to see property investment as an inherent right. But it absolutely should not be. It is a passive income generated from the hard work and labour of those who do not own property. It is a gift, in large part, to those who have been able to leverage against the family home or their primary place of residence that, in the midst of this housing affordability crisis that grips our nation, many have chosen to move into property investment with what is essentially fake money.
Madam Speaker, if you had bought a home in our electorate of Brindabella—let us say Calwell, as an example—back in 2010, a three-bedroom, one-bathroom home, you would have bought it for, at that time, approximately $390,000 to $400,000. Were you to sell it today, you would get close to $1 million. What that means is that that family now, in conversation with their accountant or broker, or in dinnertime conversations with friends and family—the conversations we all naturally have about how, in this system we have created for ourselves, we are going to get ahead and make a better life for ourselves—hears someone say, “You should buy an apartment. They are going up at the rate of knots.” Another friend says, “Yes, I hear that they are doing no deposit down at the new waterfront development.”