Published at SMH Domain, 24 February 2017
Landlord-bashing by tenant support groups is doing renters more harm than good, says an organisation of property investors, hitting back at a report that revealed many tenants were too scared to complain about poor service and rent rises.
“People and organisations often purporting to be supporting tenants are causing massive problems for the very people they are claiming to protect,” says John Gilmovich, president of the Property Owners Association of NSW(POANSW).
“The reality is that the landlord bashers are making tenants unhousable. Homelessness is when people cannot locate a property to rent or take shelter,” the press release continues, adding, “Affordable housing has little to do with unhousable tenants, boarders and lodgers.”
His comments are contained in a press release issued following the release of “Unsettled: Life in Australia’s private rental market”, which claimed reduced residential housing availability and “no grounds” lease terminations were forcing tenants to accept poor conditions, lack of repairs and unfair rent rises.
“One party should never form a summary and form an opinion to blame the other because of statistical information derived from a survey of 1000 tenants versus the 2.2 million in the market place,” he said.
How representative POANSW is of property owners in NSW is hard to judge as they don’t reveal their membership on their website.
The ‘Unsettled’ report was published by Choice, National Shelter and the National Association of Tenants’ Organisations last week.
However, Ned Cutcher, a spokesman for National Association of Tenants’ Organisations, co-authors of the ‘Unsettled’ report, told Domain the real problem was that Australia’s landlords are “untouchable”.
“When we talk about tax breaks that distort the market and produce bad outcomes for tenants, we’re told we need to look after ‘mum and dads who are just trying to build a little wealth’,” he said.
“When we talk about strengthening tenants’ rights, we’re told to be careful or we could all end up on the street,” he added. “This conversation needs to change, and soon, if we are ever to see a housing system that works for everyone.”