The Real Estate Institute of Queensland (REIQ) criticised the proposals for the state to legislate a public landlord register, calling it redundant and unjustified.

REIQ CEO Antonia Mercorella said there is no way how this could be of help to the government’s efforts to solve the housing crisis.

“Governments, at all levels, are already aware of who and how many property owners are providing housing for Queenslanders – they certainly know how to get in touch with them because they issue relevant tax, rates notices, and other fees directly to them,” Ms Mercorella said.

“While we appreciate there’s benefits to understanding investor behaviour, there are far better ways to gain these insights without forcing lessors to publicly disclose their personal information.”

Tenants Queensland CEO Penny Carr said in reports that the creation of a landlord register could help keep rogue landlords honest.

“Renters provide a whole lot of information about themselves, but they know little if anything about the landlord,” she said.

Policies are already in place

Ms Mercorella said it is inaccurate to suggest that tenants are at a disadvantage because they are often left in the dark about who their landlords are.

“Tenants have access to their property owner’s or their appointed representative’s contact details via a prescribed tenancy agreement which must be used in Queensland when entering into residential tenancy relationships,” she said.

The tenancy agreement, Ms Mercorella believes, already sets out an open communication line between the tenant and the landlords.

Furthermore, there are already comprehensive legislation to govern tenancies in Queensland — just this month, the new rental laws came into effect, which included changes in notice periods, negotiations about pets, and repair orders.

“In Queensland, we already have a regulatory framework which stipulates the standards of rental premises and inclusions and there are enforceable consequences should these standards be breached,” Ms Mercorella said.

Infringing privacy?

Ms Mercorella said making a public register with landlord’s private information borders infringing on their privacy.

“The suggestion that property owners’ personal details should be in a publicly available database flies in the face of privacy laws and is inappropriate – just as it would be if tenants’ details and personal information was disclosed in a public register,” she said.

“We’re also concerned that if a landlord register was established under the guise of informing government policy, that the motive of using it to find new ways to punish and strong-arm investors into decisions around how they use their property would inevitably become apparent.”

Furthermore, Ms Mercorella said the notion that it is only fair that landlords disclose various personal details as tenants do in their application process is unfounded.

“We acknowledge that tenants are handing over quite extensive information about themselves securely to the property manager or lessor as part of the tenancy application process,” she said.

“However, there’s a legitimate reason for conducting reasonable due diligence, to ensure that the applicant has the financial ability to pay the rent and meet the financial obligations, and similarly, has a good rental history which speaks to their ability to care for a property.”

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