No love lost between tenants and landlords

The Shakespearean battle between tenants and landlords has been taken to a new level this week.

On Sunday, the Victorian government introduced sweeping reforms to renting in the state.

One of the key reforms that has been jumped on is the change that would allow pets in almost all rental properties.

Allowing or not allowing tenants to have pets has long been a bone of contention in the rental market.

Imagine the landlords the Capulets, the renters the Montagues, but on this stage, there’s no love between them.

The Tasmanian tenants’ union has sided with the Victorian government, saying that, in general, it supports the opportunity for tenants to have pets.

The state government has, for now, stated that it will not be considering adopting similar reforms.

And the Real Estate Institute of Tasmania has stated its fears that that sweeping changes of this calibre could swing the balance of power too far in the favour of renters.

The institute fears that taking more control away from landlords could cause them to drop the option of long-term renting altogether, and look instead at investing their properties in the short-term, Airbnb market.

Airbnb is almost a dirty word in Tasmania at present.

Because of the boom in tourism popularity for the state, combined with our stagnant accommodation growth over the past 20 years, the demand for Airbnb properties and the like is growing.

Landlords are finding that they can make a quicker and bigger buck through the share economy than they can through traditional methods.

It is a conundrum in itself, and one that we do not want to exacerbate.

Like many decisions that the state is currently faced with, renting reform decisions must be treated with utmost caution.

Whether it is allowing tenants to bring their pets into rental properties, or creating landlord blacklists, we need to balance the interests of both parties.

It is a delicate situation either way, one which will inevitably leave one party heartbroken.

The gap between tenants and landlords is likely to never be closed completely, but we can still hope that one day it is at least narrowed a little.