Real estate agents and landlords will be banned from accepting higher offers on rental properties, as part of a major overhaul of rental laws announced in Queensland.
Rental bidding is the “dodgy” practice where real estate agents or landlords encourage prospective tenants to offer higher rents than the advertised price and to outbid each other for properties.
Queensland Premier Steven Miles said the government would be banning “all types of rental bidding in Queensland”, with penalties to be enforced against agents who engaged in or encouraged the practice.
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“Renters shouldn’t be played off against each other when trying to secure a home. It should be a level playing field,” Miles said.
It is already an offence in Queensland for agents and landlords to solicit higher-than-advertised bids, and this new change will close a loophole that allowed prospective tenants to offer more.
The change is part of a $160 million renter-relief package, to be distributed over five years, which will provide extra financial aid, rights and protections for the one in three Queenslanders who rent.
The government will also establish a portable bond scheme, which will allow tenants to transfer their bonds when moving from one rental property to another.
“It means you won’t be out of pocket waiting to get the money back from your old place, when you already have to fork out for [a] bond on your new home,” Miles said.
While this scheme is being established, a Bridging Bond Loan product will be introduced to help households afford the upfront cost of a new bond while waiting for the old bond to be released.
Renters will also be required to receive 48 hours’ entry notice, while re-letting costs will be limited, based on how long is remaining on a fixed-term lease.
The median weekly rent in Brisbane is currently $627 per week, according to CoreLogic, an annual increase of 8.2 per cent.
What is available in other states and territories?
Rent bidding has been banned in most states and territories in Australia, with the Northern Territory introducing a bill to ban the practice in December last year.
New South Wales and Victoria have also announced they will introduce portable bond schemes for tenants.
State and territory governments also offer interest-free loans to help people on lower incomes pay their bond.