Page 532 - Week 02 - Wednesday, 23 March 2022

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unfair; that the power balance between a landlord and tenant in that relationship has been unequal. Any way that we can even those scales, surely, is a positive step in the right direction. Surely it would be received with, if not the great enthusiasm I am demonstrating right now, at least reluctant acceptance that it gets us closer to, dare I say, a utopia where everyone who needs a home has a home.

I have heard it put by some, in my research in preparing for today’s motion, that this has the risk of scaring landlords. People may not choose to invest in residential real estate in our city if they feel that they might be held to this new standard and therefore that would create a risk that there would be a limitation of supply. While I do not accept that argument, I am going to assume that to be true for the basis of the next point.

Would that be a bad thing? Would it necessarily be a bad thing if a bunch of people who own real estate in this city right now chose to put their homes on the market? We have been discussing at length over the past few days the housing affordability crisis, the challenge that first home buyers are facing to crack into the market, being outbid at auctions, being run over at open homes. Accepting the premise of that argument, would it be terrible if all those properties found their way to the market? Surely, accepting the talking points of some that supply equals demand, if there were a slightly greater supply in the market would that not slightly reduce demand and subsequently prices? Twelve years of selling homes in this city tell me that that is what would happen.

Let me assure you, utilising that same experience, that such a modest, pragmatic reform that seeks to even the scales between two people in a contractual relationship that has been too unequal for too long will not lose our market or our city a single landlord and subsequently will not lose our city or our market a single residential property. Why? Because being a landlord in this city is a pretty good deal. It is a very good deal. Owning homes that are rapidly increasing in value—this fake money the market is generating for property owners that I mentioned earlier—does landlords very well, especially—

Mr Parton: You would know, Mr Davis.

MR DAVIS: I would know, Mr Parton, I would. Especially when these are properties that are not the landlord’s primary residence. You will hear it said, “Well, you know, if the value of the home that you own grows, it does not really matter if you are not going to sell it.” Right? That is your primary residence. That is not the case for landlords, who could take advantage of the winnings of the market, putting their property on the market any day now and taking that reward.

But they will not, because, in spite of the rhetoric that we have heard from some about the overwhelming burden of things like rates and land tax—you know, the money collected to run good services in a progressive city—in spite of all those things, it is a really sweet deal to be a landlord in the ACT. It would continue to be a pretty sweet deal to be a landlord in the ACT were we to support Mr Pettersson’s reforms. We would at least be inching closer to a utopia where, in a contractual relationship between someone paying someone and someone receiving something, those scales could be evened just a little bit closer to fair.

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