Who’d be a landlord as deadbeats rule and reliable tenants suffer

I once had 7 properties and let out 6 of them but tenants whose pets ruined the carpets and others who failed to pay their rent finally pissed me off and I put my money into the stockmarket instead. I have never looked back.  

I used to let to single mothers as I love kids but I eventually had to stop renting to them. They were often "broke" and unable to pay their rent.  Very sad but they were no good to me. There is no reason why I should pay for other people's mistakes

You can blame the 2022 floods, you can blame the influx of southerners when Covid-19 hit and our borders were yet to be slammed shut, and you can blame poor supply of building materials for new housing developments.

But Queensland’s record dearth of rentals is also because more and more landlords are opting out.

Who would own an investment property when tenants get to call the shots, they argue. In October, more disincentives kicked in, including the abolition of “no pets” rules.

While these edicts might find favour with renters, they’re on the nose with landlords, who say their rights are being trampled.  Many are selling up – in a white-hot market, why the heck not? – and switching to shares as a comparatively hassle-free investment.

What this means for Queensland’s rental crisis is there will be even fewer properties available as more owner-occupiers buy in.

This is of absolutely no help to the growing number of earnest tenants battling homelessness, or the very real threat of it.

For every deadbeat who lets their pet defecate on the carpet, there are responsible renters who respect the properties they call home.

Kerri-Lee Hicks is a Gold Coast mother of three children – all with disabilities, one chronic – and she’s in the fight of her life to keep a roof over their heads.

Mrs Hicks and husband Michael, a store manager, have rented the same Pimpama home for more than 12 years, without incident. They and their family – which included a German Shepherd therapy dog until it died in January – are model tenants.

But come April’s end, their landlord is withdrawing the property from the rental market and renovating it.

Mrs Hicks, 37, says it has been a “full-time job” these past three months to find a new home. She has received more than 50 knock backs – and as many no replies – to applications, this week forcing her to put away her phone for a few hours because she “couldn’t handle another rejection”.

“I am super resilient, emotionally and mentally,” Mrs Hicks says, “but this has nearly broken me.”

Her sons’ medical conditions mean they need stability and routine but instead, the family is set for chaos.

If there’s no joy in the next few weeks, Mr Hicks will find a bed in a mate’s house near his Nerang workplace, while his wife will take their high-needs kids to her father’s place in Adelaide … until the market sorts itself out. They could be there for some time.

Mrs Hicks says real estate agents have told her they’re receiving more than 100 applications for any given property but only have time to sift through the first 20.

Her single income family is also competing for four-bedroom homes with people who have six full-time salaries.

“Targeted assistance is needed and the Government should be providing it,” Mrs Hicks says.

“It’s fine for them to say we can have pets in our rental property but when there’s no property to go to, even with a perfect track record like ours, then something’s really wrong.”

You can say that again.

Landlords bowing out of the game is but one problem demanding urgent attention as the housing shortage bites harder and more Queenslanders face the unthinkable.


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