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Battling On

Battling On

The Government’s recently announced tenancy law reform proposals are another salvo in the war on landlords but there are still plenty of options around for investors keen to forge on.

By: Miriam Bell

1 December 2019

They’ve been a long time coming. Over the many months of waiting, dread and concern has been building. Now they are here and property investors are up in arms, their worries proving well-founded.

What are they? They are, of course, the final form of the Government’s tenancy law reforms, which were announced just before this issue of the magazine was sent off to print. But, for many investors, they are more than simply an attempt to make life better for tenants.

They also represent another official effort to make the business of being a landlord harder. The proposed changes join the rest of the Government’s suite of policies intended to improve the rental market. These include the banning of letting fees, the introduction of the Healthy Homes minimum standards and the new rules around the ring-fencing of rental losses.

While each of these policy changes has caused a fair degree of consternation, it is the tenancy law reform proposals – and in particular the plan to get rid of “no cause” terminations - which seem to be prompting the most investor dismay.

In part, this is because the proposed reforms tip the landlord-tenant balance firmly in favour of the tenant, and remove a fair degree of a landlord’s control of their own property in the process. But I think it’s also because, for many, it feels like yet another salvo in an ideologically driven war on investors.

One of the investors I spoke to about these changes said it’s difficult to know how the Government expects landlords to respond. In his view, they are simply making it more likely that investors will sell up and get out of the rental business.

Investors might be increasingly worried about what will happen in the rental market going forward. But it pays to remember there are alternatives to selling up and getting out of property. One of these is to shift rental properties out of the traditional rental market and into the booming short-term rental accommodation market.

It is timely then that in this issue our lead article focuses on the short-term rental market. Popular opinion has it that going down the Airbnb route is an easy way to quick riches. But the truth, as ever, is more complicated. So we take a close look at the current state of the short-term rental market and find out what an investor needs to know and do to be successful within it.

Another concern to arise from the proposed tenancy law reforms is that the workload of the already overloaded

Tenancy Tribunal will be significantly increased. So, again, it seems timely that this issue features an article by property management consultant David Faulkner which argues the Tribunal is crying out for reform.

On a lighter note, our profile this month showcases the opportunities that joint ventures can offer investors and we take a look at the increasingly popular trend for flexible working space in the commercial property sector. We hope it all makes for plenty of helpfully distracting food for thought. Enjoy the read!