renters – Michmutters

Owner of seven properties says landlords getting a raw deal

Andrew Duggan owns seven homes, but he wants people to know he’s not a bad bloke.

He’s been flipping properties in Queensland from a home office in Sydney for 25 years and seems acutely familiar with the public perception of landlords.

“Landlords are very unpopular people,” Mr Duggan said.

“There’s the perception of the evil landlord, the cinematic slum lord idea.

“And there’s a perception that landlords are sitting on piles of cash and sitting around on our yachts.

“The reality is whilst we have the titles to these properties, they’re very much mortgaged.”

Man wearing hi-vis shirt mowing the lawn outside.
Landlord Andrew Duggan is considering getting out of the property game.(ABCNews/7.30)

He insisted he was not doing an interview to “cry poor”, but despondently declared “the good times for landlords are over”.

A long-time advocate of buying up real estate, he’s considering selling up and getting out of the property game.

Mr Duggan said the decline of his lucrative portfolio began five years ago when he was locked into an excessive interest rate with a major bank.

But he is also critical of tenancy laws and state-based land taxes.

After years of advocacy from housing organisations, the Victorian, Tasmanian and ACT governments have recently banned landlords from evicting tenants without grounds.

Man trimming a hedge.
Andrew Duggan says he doesn’t want to “profiteer from our tenants.”(ABCNews/7.30)

Queensland, where most of Mr Duggan’s properties are located, also banned the practice, except at the end of a fixed-term rental agreement.

“As far as I can see, landlords have next to no rights and tenants have all the rights. It’s kind of swung a long way in that direction and it’s probably swung too far,” he said.

Mr Duggan said the “default” position of civil courts adjudicating disputes between property owners and their renters was that “the property owner will always lose”.

He said he had increased the rent in at least one of his properties over the last year due to the increase in Queensland’s land tax.

“I’m not a charity, that’s for certain. I think we’re very fair with our tenants. We don’t want to profit from our tenants, but we do want to create an equilibrium between our incomings and outgoings so we’ re not going backwards,” he said.

This couple rent their apartment out for 10 per cent less than it’s worth

A man wearing glasses smiles next to a woman wearing a black top.
“We didn’t want to do what other people had done to us,” landlords Thomas Shafee and Katrina Alcorn say.(ABCNews/7.30)

When Thomas Shafee and Katrina Alcorn bought their own apartment and left the rental market five years ago, the Melbourne-based couple were overwhelmed with relief.

“As tenants [before owning a home] we have been in some situations with great landlords and we’ve been in some situations with terrible landlords,” Mr Shafee said.

“We’ve had uncertain housing in our lives too,” Ms Alcorn added.

With the pair now considering starting a family, they considered their one-bedroom Heidelberg Heights flat too small and have decided to upsize, but said they felt “icky” trying to cash in on the tightening real estate market.

Instead, they’ve offered the property up as an affordable rental and listed it for 10 per cent below what they had been quoted by other agents.

A man wearing a striped scarf standing next to a woman wearing a black top.
Thomas Shafee and Katrina Alcorn felt strongly about keeping their property affordable.(ABCNews/7.30)

“When there is so much pressure with the prices going up and the supply going down it’s really easy for people to be forced into situations where they are taken advantage of, so it’s nice to be able to do something that avoids some of those ethical pitfalls ,” MrShafee said.

“We didn’t want to do what other people had done to us,” Ms Alcorn said.

“That’s one of the reasons we feel really strongly about this.”

Mr Shafee said he and his partner intended to be “ethical” landlords and employ a hands-off approach to their incoming tenant.

“This is not some investment item that we’re talking about, it’s something that someone is going to live in, so it makes a big difference how [the property] is going to be run,” he said.

Mr Shafee and Ms Alcorn are renting the property through HomeGround Real Estate, an agency that offers affordable rentals and donates the profits it makes from management fees to Launch, a community housing organization.

Problem ‘just going to get worse’

woman sitting at a table
Michele Adair says “renters just haven’t been valued.”(ABC News: Tim Fernandez)

Renters’ advocate and chief executive of the NSW Housing Trust Michele Adair said state laws were still skewed in favor of landlords because property in Australia was seen as a means of wealth creation rather than shelter.

“There are lots of really good private landlords [that] provide affordable rental housing, but the problem that we have is that renters just haven’t been valued,” Ms Adair said.

“One in three people rent a home today and probably nine out of ten rents at some stage, yet we have had decades of government policy which just really disregards the rights of tenants and their safety and security.

“We continue to have this myth and fallacy pushed by private interest groups who, as we have seen, just continue to push the wealth creation and profit motive.”

Ms Adair said the so-called “motive” had led to the current rental crisis.

“There is no end in sight and without urgent action by all levels of government. The problem is just going to get worse for the foreseeable future and I’m afraid that means years and not months.”

Watch this story on 7.30 on ABC TV and ABC iview.



Queensland renters living ‘on knife’s edge’ after landlords issue new notices to leave in bid to stop ‘lifelong’ tenants

When Lyell Lamborn’s new rental contract arrived, it came with an $80 weekly increase, and a notice to leave the property.

The Form 12 notice explained that her landlord had the right to end her Brisbane tenancy when her lease was up.

The notice came after the peak body for Queensland’s real estate industry recommended all agents implement the “best-practice” strategy in a bid to protect landlords from “lifelong” renters who might automatically roll from fixed-term to periodic agreements, like month-to-month. -month contracts.

Ms Lamborn’s rental property is a near 100-year-old worker’s cottage in Manly with a long list of outstanding repairs.

Last year, a friend of Ms Lamborn’s fell through the worn front steps of the run-down rental.

“I felt that the [rent] increase, which amounted to $80 a week, which is actually a 23 per cent increase in my rent, that was a huge increase for what I consider to be a very dilapidated house,” Ms Lamborn said.

She said she calculated her options in the current market, and felt forced to agree to the increase and, therefore, the notice to leave.

Rent sign of real estate agency outside an apartment building in Brisbane
Rental costs in Brisbane are among the highest of all capital cities in Australia.(ABC News: Liz Pickering)

“I’m being told that if I don’t sign and that, there’s no negotiating on the rent increase, then I’m out,” Ms Lamborn said.

“In this market, I can’t. I’m going to struggle to find something.

“It leaves you on a knife edge, wondering what you’re going to be doing every year… it keeps me up at night.”

Laws coming into effect in October will make it difficult for landlords to end periodic agreements.

‘Are we going to have somewhere to go?’

Dale Billett and Katie Havelberg sit on the couch with two dogs.
Dale Billett and Katie Havelberg were forced to find another property because their West End property was being sold.(ABC NewsAlice Pavlovic)

This weekend Dale Billett and Katie Havelberg are packing up their West End home of four and a half years.

It is also the first week Mr Billet has been out of hospital in four months, after an accident caused the amputation of his lower right leg.

While he was rehabilitating in hospital, the couple found out their home was being sold, and realized they would need to find a new disability-accessible home.

When they did, an unusual contract arrived.

Katie Havelberg with Dale Billett and his amputated leg visible as they sit on the couch.
Dale Billett was recovering from having his leg amputated when he and Katie Havelberg found out they had to leave their rental home.(ABC NewsAlice Pavlovic)

“I was going through the lease and preparing to sign it and at the end was a notice to leave attached,” Ms Havelberg said.

The couple signed the lease contract, but the process of property hunting took a toll.

“It just added an extra burden on top of the burden that was already here,” Ms Havelberg said.

“Sleepless nights, days, where you’re just constantly worrying about, ‘Are we going to have somewhere to go?'”

The couple are now navigating the move, with Mr Billett limited in what he can lift and carry.

‘Like a guillotine over tenants’ heads’

Tenants Queensland CEO Penny Carr in the office.
Tenants Queensland CEO Penny Carr says the notices are causing renters undue anxiety.(ABC News: Tim Swanston)

Tenants Queensland CEO Penny Carr criticized the industry body over the new practice, which she said was causing undue anxiety for renters already facing a crushing housing market.

“Every Queensland renter would be living with like a guillotine over their head the whole time they live in their home,” she said.

“And if they are good or lucky at the end of that, they might be offered a new fixed term.

“It’s extraordinary to call it best practice.”

A woman looking pensive as she stands outside a building
REIQ CEO Antonia Mercorella granted the recommendation came at a very difficult time for renters.(ABC News: Lexy Hamilton-Smith)

But the peak body for Queensland’s real estate industry has stood by its recommendation.

Real Estate Institute of Queensland CEO Antonia Mercorella said the institute considered sending the forms best practice ahead of new tenancy laws coming into effect in October.

“It doesn’t evict the tenant or threaten the tenant in any way, as Tenants Queensland is suggesting,” she said.

“What it’s simply doing is confirming that that fixed-term tenancy will end on that date.