Queensland is in a housing crisis – families all across our state are being pushed out of their rental properties, struggling to find housing and being forced to live in caravans or cars. Our weak rental laws are only turbocharging this crisis.
In May 2021, I introduced the Greens’ bill for rental reforms in Queensland that included:
- Cap rent increases
- Ban “rent bidding” for good
- End “no grounds evictions” by landlords
- Set minimum standards for rental properties
- Make it easier for renters to have pets
- Allow tenants to make minor modifications
In June 2021 the Queensland Labor Government came back with their own rental reforms that:
- Makes it easier for renters who are experiencing domestic violence to leave tenancies;
- Establishes minimum housing standards, like a property must have a connected toilet, be weatherproof and structurally sound
- Makes it a little easier to get a pet approved for a property (but still not easy), and the landlord can make you keep your pet outside without having to justify why
But they backed away from two key reforms, ending "no grounds" evictions and allowing minor safety modifications.
These bills were considered side-by-side by the government's Community Support and Services Committee. Over a thousand renters wrote to their local MP and the Housing urging them to use this opportunity to give renters real protections. Renters came forward and shared heart-breaking story after heart-breaking story of how difficult it is just to get safe and secure rental housing in Queensland.
Labor was presented with a choice: make changes to their bill before bringing it back to parliament and give Queensland renters real protections, or keep the real estate lobby and wealthy property investors happy.
I gave Labor opportunity after opportunity to change their mind. When they refused to debate my bill side-by-side with theirs, I moved amendments that would do the same.
In the end, they chose the side of the real estate lobby and pushed their bill through parliament unamended.
What happens next?
The fight for real renters rights, and homes for every Queenslander, doesn’t end here. We’ll keep organising, mobilising and fighting, alongside SEQUR and other tenants advocates. Our enemies are powerful, and they benefit from keeping the status quo. They want us to be disheartened, they want us to give in – but it’s critical that we don’t and that we keep chipping away, building our movement bigger and stronger.
Labor has said they'll bring another tranche of rental reforms through parliament this term. I'll be keeping my out for this and will provide any updates as soon as they come.