Queensland to ban rent bidding as $160m in relief flows

Callum Godde |

Premier Steven Miles has unveiled a $160 million rental relief package for Queenslanders.
Premier Steven Miles has unveiled a $160 million rental relief package for Queenslanders.

Real estate agents and landlords in Queensland will be banned from accepting higher rental bids than the advertised price under a raft of housing crisis-fuelled reforms.

Queensland Premier Steven Miles has unveiled a $160 million rental relief package, the latest part of his Labor government’s long-term housing plan.

The extra funding will be distributed over five years among more than 20 existing supports and services, including bond loans, rental grants and rental security subsidies.

Rental laws will be beefed up under the package, with the state to ban rent bidding and enforce hefty penalties for agents who engage or encourage it.

“The biggest thing we’re doing today is banning rent bidding,” Mr Miles told reporters on Sunday.

Queensland Premier Steven Miles
Steven Miles says it will be illegal for landlords to accept bids higher than the advertised price. (Jono Searle/AAP PHOTOS)

“I have heard from too many Queenslanders who’ve put their application in for a rental property thinking they would get it, only to find that someone else has bid more than the advertised price for that rental and they’ve missed out.

“These new laws will stamp out that practice, will provide transparency for renters and provide an even playing field for everyone who wants that property.”

Victoria last year became the first Australian state to make it illegal for agents and landlords to accept bids higher than the advertised price from tenants.

It is already an offence in Queensland for agents and landlords to solicit higher than advertised bids, with the law effectively closing a loophole that allowed prospective renters to offer more.

“That’s incredibly difficult to regulate,” Queensland Housing Minister Meaghan Scanlon said.

“By banning all types of rent bidding it makes it really clear that you cannot accept more than your offering price.

“We’ll make sure that we put in the protections and the penalties to make sure that this law is upheld.”

A portable bond scheme will also be established, allowing tenants to transfer their bonds when relocating from one rental property to another.

In the interim, a bridging bond loan will be rolled out to assist households afford the up-front cost of a new bond while still waiting for their old bond’s release.

Other reforms include setting up a framework to allow landlords and tenants to agree to modifications, a prescribed form for rental applications and a mandatory fee-free option for paying rent.

Tenants will also have to receive 48 hours notice before someone can enter and re-letting costs will be capped based on the remaining time left on a fixed-term lease.

Queenslanders will head to the polls on October 26, with a union-commissioned poll in December showing Labor trailed the Liberal National Party 52-48 on a two-party-preferred basis.