Stable, secure, and affordable housing is a human right. As a Child and Youth mental health nurse, I have seen the stress that housing injustice has placed on everyone; renters, mortgage holders, and especially those without a home.
Rents and house prices are rising, and thousands of Brisbane residents can’t find secure, affordable housing.
All three levels of government have a responsibility when it comes to ensuring housing for all, and councils are well-placed to understand the needs of residents and respond using localised initiatives that tackle short-term unregulated hotel rooms, vacant homes, and encouraging reasonable rents.
Crack down on AirBnB
After strong pressure from the Greens, in 2022, Brisbane City Council introduced a separate rates categories for ‘Transitory Accommodation’ houses and units. The rates for transitory accommodation investment properties are currently only 50% higher than for equivalent investment properties rented out to long-term tenants.
This 'Transitory Accommodation' category currently applies to properties that are made available as short-term rental accommodation for more than 60 days of the year, but the Greens propose:
- Amending the Transitory Accommodation rates categories to apply to properties rented for more than 45 days per year rather than 60 days per year.
- Increase the higher rates from 150% of the standard rates to 1000%.
In the short-term, we aim to have hundreds of dwellings transition from Airbnb back to long-term rentals, and would also send a message to investors that the city wants more residential housing. This means fewer renters would be evicted due to investors turning their homes into unregulated hotel rooms.
Introduce a vacancy levy
Across our city, there are tens of thousands of homes sitting empty long-term, and hundreds of thousands of square metres of vacant land. That’s why we want to introduce a vacancy levy on investment properties - including homes, apartments, commercial buildings and blocks of land - that are left empty for more than 6 months without a good reason.
A vacancy levy would discourage properties being left empty long-term, which would:
- Release thousands of existing homes onto the rental and sales markets
- Catalyse the construction of more new housing on vacant land
- Put downward pressure on residential and commercial rents
- Put downward pressure on land values and the cost of buying housing
The way I see it, is if a property is not contributing to the community through being rented, or utilised in some way, the property owner can contribute to the community financially, which can be reinvested into local infrastructure that benefits everyone!