Why landlords aren’t the villains

By Ros Burton (Principal – The Real Estate People)

In recent times, the role of landlords has come under scrutiny, often portrayed in a negative light.  

However, even with current housing shortages, it’s important to understand that landlords play a crucial role in providing homes for renters and contributing to the economy. 

Many landlords are not large corporations but rather “mum and dad” investors who face similar financial challenges as their tenants and rely on their investment properties for their financial security, including retirement. 

The vital role of landlords 

Landlords are instrumental in providing housing for individuals and families who either cannot afford to buy a home or prefer the flexibility of renting. 

Without landlords, many people would struggle to find suitable accommodation, especially in high-demand urban areas. 

The availability of rental properties helps support a mobile workforce, enabling individuals to pursue job opportunities in different locations without the commitment of homeownership. 

Contributions to the economy 

The real estate sector, including rental properties, significantly contributes to the economy. As such, landlords not only provide homes for renters but also generate employment opportunities through property maintenance, management, and related services. 

Additionally, property investments drive economic activity through property taxes, mortgage payments, and the purchase of goods and services related to property management and maintenance. 

Understanding “mum and dad” landlords 

I’ve said this many times before, contrary to popular belief, many Toowoomba landlords are not wealthy individuals or large corporations. 

Instead, they are everyday people who have invested in rental properties as a means to secure their financial future. 

These “mum and dad” investors often rely on rental income to cover mortgage payments, property maintenance, and other expenses associated with property ownership. 

For many, an investment property represents their retirement nest egg, and they face the same financial pressures and uncertainties as any other homeowner (especially when interest rates go up). 

It’s not just collecting rent each week 

Landlords encounter various challenges, including fluctuating property values, property maintenance costs, tenant turnover, and regulatory requirements. 

As well as this, economic downturns, unforeseen repairs, and periods of vacancy can also significantly impact a landlord’s financial stability. 

Moreover, the misconception that all landlords are wealthy and unscrupulous can lead to unfair demonisation and create additional stress for those who are responsibly managing their properties. 

Finding a balance 

While it’s important to advocate for the rights and well-being of renters, it’s equally crucial to acknowledge the legitimate concerns and contributions of landlords. 

Striking a balance that ensures fair treatment for both parties is essential for a healthy rental market here in Queensland. 

The State Government’s policies and regulations should aim to protect tenants from exploitation while also supporting landlords in maintaining their properties and meeting their financial obligations. 

We need to appreciate that landlords are not the antagonists they are often portrayed to be – especially the ones we work with at The Real Estate People. They are integral to the housing market and the economy, providing homes for renters and contributing to local communities.  

And don’t worry, I also have some thoughts on how tenants are sometimes vilified by the press or real estate forums – I’ll talk more on that next time.