Queensland homes

People are living in tents because of limited rental properties while 87,000 homes are empty in one state

PHOTO: 80,000 homes across Queensland have been left empty

  • More than 80,000 ’empty’ homes have been discovered across Queensland 
  • Calls for actions to be enforced against owners who don’t rent the houses out 
  • Family forced to live in tent after becoming homeless after landlord sold rental
  • Rental costs in most capital cities have risen by double-digit percentages 

More than 80,000 homes across Queensland have been left empty, prompting calls for action to be taken against those owners who don’t rent them out.

The revelation comes as Australia experiences its worst rental crisis on record.

Australian Bureau of Statistics data revealed that 87,000 residential properties in Queensland weren’t being rented out, while there were 577,000 across Australia, The Courier Mail reported.

Australian Bureau of Statistics data revealed that 87,000 residential properties in Queensland (pictured) weren't being rented out, while there were 577,000 vacant across Australia

Australian Bureau of Statistics data revealed that 87,000 residential properties in Queensland (pictured) weren’t being rented out, while there were 577,000 vacant across Australia

Property expert Michael Matusik believes there should be new tax measures put in place to ‘incentivise or penalise’ owners to release the homes for rent.

‘Around 29 per cent of investment properties are not rented out. They are sitting there vacant,’ Mr Matusik said.

According to Urban Utilities, the Sunshine State’s largest water provider, 19,500 houses in lower southeast Queensland had their water connection turned on.

However, it was discovered that there were no one living in those homes for many months.

Unitywater executive manager customer and community Katherine Gee said their numbers showed 2,104 houses had used 1,000 litres or less water over a 90-day period.

Ms Gee added: ‘It is important to note that it cannot be categorically stated that these properties are ‘vacant’.

‘We operate in a desirable region and some of these properties may be holiday homes or homes that are occupied for only parts of the year.’

Property expert Michael Matusik believes there should be new tax measures put in place to 'incentivise or penalise' owners to release the homes for rent (pictured, Brisbane properties)

Property expert Michael Matusik believes there should be new tax measures put in place to ‘incentivise or penalise’ owners to release the homes for rent (pictured, Brisbane properties) 

A spokeswoman for Mackay Regional Council said the figures for ’empty’ apartments are harder to get given ‘there are a significant number of residential units/complexes that feed off a single meter and it will depend if each unit/complex are separate parcels of land (lot and plan).’

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Brisbane Mayor, Adrian Schrinner, reacted to the rental crisis by announcing ‘significantly higher rates’ for landlords who ‘turned homes into mini hotels’ including letting space through Airbnb.

‘If owners have these properties in the market for a short term, that is their choice, but what they’ll be facing now is a 50 per cent increase in their rates.

‘We’re excluding (those that rent out) individual rooms. This is about people who rent out the whole house.’

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Queensland Council of Social Service CEO Aimee McVeigh said state funding had failed to keep pace with the housing crisis, and accelerated construction of social housing was needed, ABC News reported.

‘We have more than 50,000 people on our social housing register. That has grown by almost 80 per cent in the last four years.’

Ms McVeigh added: ‘In the last 20 years, Queensland’s population has grown by about 48 per cent and the Queensland government is saying we’re expecting an additional 1.4 million people into the state in the next decade.’

Brisbane experienced a rental price surge of 22 per cent over the past year to $610 a week, with units up 11.2 per cent to $430 a week, the latest SQM Research data discovered

Brisbane experienced a rental price surge of 22 per cent over the past year to $610 a week, with units up 11.2 per cent to $430 a week, the latest SQM Research data discovered

There are vacancy fee penalties in place against international buyers who leave their real estate investments empty, which are enforced by the Federal Government.

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Australian Taxation Office figures show there was $2.3m collected in penalties in 2021, $3.7m in 2019/20 and $1.8m in its first year of collection (2018/19).

Prosper Australia director of advocacy Karl Fitzgerald said foreign investors were not solely to blame for empty or under-utilised homes, with ‘speculative vacancies’ by Australian investors curbing supply and pushing prices higher, reported The Courier Mail.

He said governments needed to reduce incentives for short-term profiteering from housing.

Brisbane experienced a rental price surge of 22 per cent over the past year to $610 a week, with units up 11.2 per cent to $430 a week, the latest SQM Research data discovered.

The effects of the ongoing crisis caused one young family-of-four struggling to find a home to live in a tent after becoming homeless when the landlord sold their rental.

Sushannah Taylor, 20, (pictured) has been living in a tent with her two kids and husband after their rental property was sold last month 

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