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Cush For Comment | 24 October 2022

I saw comments last week from politicians hopping into real estate. It was in response to an agent telling their clients in a letter that rents in their area have increased by up to 20 per cent. They had twisted the letter to show the agents as careless, greedy and heartless in the current ‘rental crisis’.

We haven’t seen any comment about landlords’ increased costs. Where we haven’t seen comment is in incentivising landlords rather than continually finding new ways to tax them. The last couple of years there have been threats of changing negative gearing, new land tax proposals and interest rate hikes.

The current interest rates for a landlord with a mortgage will likely show a 100 – 150 per cent increase in their weekly expenses. That doesn’t include the increase to maintenance costs due to the issues in the building industry. It also doesn’t include the increase to an eligible owner’s land tax which has likely gone up in recent years.

While I’m on my soapbox, there was no incentive or outrage when agents wrote to their landlords five or so years ago advising rents would need to go down 20-30 per cent due to the release of 100s of apartments in Brisbane’s inner city.

The issue is not with the agents or landlords or tenants. It’s simply a supply versus demand issue. We have lost too many rental properties to sale, flood or poor forward planning. If we continue to push down on landlords they will sell their investment properties and the problem will only get worse.

The solution lives in assisting tenants with rental support, providing more government housing and/or incentivising investment in residential property rather than disincentivising it.

* Haesley Cush is an award­-winning auctioneer who has called more than 10,000 auct­ions. He co-owns Ray White New Farm, East Brisbane, Spring Hill, Bulimba, Toowong and Clayfield plus Liv­ing Here Cush Partners.