A landlord who owns seven properties claims he received death threats after an interview about Australia’s rental crisis in which he says his comment, ‘I’m not a charity’, was taken out of context.
Andrew Duggan owns seven Queensland properties and has been flipping homes in the state from his home office in Sydney for the last 25 years.
Mr Duggan said he has received death threats and abusive messages after an interview with ABC 7.30, telling Daily Mail Australia one of his responses was taken out of context.
The full-time IT consultant said he started investing in homes as a way to self-fund his and his wife’s retirement.
Andrew Duggan (pictured with his wife Elizabeth) said he started investing in property to help self-fund his and his wife’s retirement. Although he is ‘not a charity’ the landlord said he does not make any money ‘week to week’ from his seven properties
‘I was asked [by the ABC interviewer] if I got into property investment to provide housing for people,’ Mr Duggan.
‘The answer [was] I’m not a charity. It’s not altruistic.
‘I started doing this so I could be a self-funded retiree and have a bit of money aside for when my kids get to the point of wanting their own home.’
An article written from the 7.30 story, shared on Reddit, has received over 600 comments – the majority of which are negative.
One user wrote: ‘You’re not running a charity. You’re not running anything. You hold hostage access to an essential human right …. Charities are a public good. Landlords are not.’
Mr Duggan said he was aware that landlords are perceived as being ‘evil, cinematic slum lords’ but argued excessive interest rates, tenant laws and state-based land taxes were the cause of Australia’s rental crisis.
‘There’s a perception that landlords are sitting on piles of cash and sitting around on our yachts,’ Mr Duggan said
‘There’s a perception that landlords are sitting on piles of cash and sitting around on our yachts,’ Mr Duggan said.
‘The reality is whilst we have the titles to these properties, they’re very much mortgaged.
‘The good times for landlords are over after APRA (the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority) cut our ability to refinance – a complete game changer for landlords.’
In 2014, the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority issued a directive aimed at cutting lenders’ exposure to interest-only loans and loans with low deposits.
The directive acted as a brake on investors and saw the beginning of a sharp drop of supply into the rental market.
According to APRA, ‘through-the-year investor credit growth more than halved from 10.8% in May 2015 to 4.6% by August 2016’ – a move which created a fickle investment market.
Mr Duggan said his property portfolio started to decline when APRA introduced the directive and his property loans became locked into an excessive interest rate.
‘There aren’t investors in the market,’ Mr Duggan said.
‘The thinking was that this (APRA’s directive) was going to keep house prices down but what it has created is a thin layer of investors and reduced rental stock.
‘It’s not good for renters or for landlords. If I sell it will make a tenant homeless and that’s not what I would ever do at any stretch of the imagination.’
The real estate advocate said while he tries to take some of the ‘bumps’ with increased interest rates he has raised the rent of at least one of his properties.
‘I have some amazing tenants, some I have had for 15 years’, Mr Duggan said.
‘I don’t want to charge tenants and I am not trying to put money in my pocket. I don’t make any money week to week from my properties.
‘At the same time I need to cover my costs and have a little bit of cream in case I need to repair a broken water heater or other property damages.’
Mr Duggan said there are many landlords looking for a cash grab but others are just trying to cover the cost of increased land tax and mortgage repayments.
Mr Duggan (pictured) argued landlords are facing the squeeze of inflation and are up against laws specifically designed to protect tenants. He said ‘no-cause’ eviction laws were a problem with bad tenants as no landlord would evict a good or even average tenant
The Reserve Bank of Australia raised the cash rate for a fourth consecutive month by half a percentage point on August 2 – a move which took the cash rate to a six-year high of 1.85 per cent.
It was also the third month in a row the cash rate rose by 0.5 per cent, the fastest interest rate growth Australia has experienced in almost 30 years.
Landlords are banned from evicting tenants without grounds in Victoria, Tasmania and the ACT, while in Queensland ‘no-cause’ evictions are banned except at the end of a fixed-term rental agreement.
ACT Attorney-General Shane Rattenbury said by banning ‘no-cause’ evictions, states and territories created a fairer rental system and alleviated mounting affordability and availability pressures for tenants.
‘The bottom line is that people deserve a home to live in and shouldn’t be evicted without a legitimate reason,’ Rattenbury said.
‘The ACT government has committed to end no-cause evictions to help address the power imbalance that currently exists between landlords and a tenant.’
The Reserve Bank of Australia (pictured) raised the cash rate for a fourth consecutive month by half a percentage point on August 2, which took the cash rate to a six-year-high of 1.85 per cent
Mr Duggan argued landlords are facing the squeeze of inflation and are up against laws specifically designed to protect tenants.
‘The no-cause eviction law is a problem when you have really bad tenants,’ Mr Duggan said.
‘I have had tenants who moved out and left $65,000 work of damages.
‘The fact is no landlord would want to kick out a good or even middle of the road tenant.’
It comes after data released by analytics firm SQM Research revealed the national rental vacancy rate fell to 1 per cent in July – the second lowest national rate in more than 17 years.
The July report showed vacancy rates in Sydney almost halved to a record low of 1.5 per cent since July last year while Melbourne dipped to 1.6 per cent.
Adelaide has the lowest vacancy rate of all the capitals with 0.4 per cent while Perth, Darwin and Hobart remained at a steady 0.6 per cent.
Meanwhile, Canberra and Brisbane vacancy rates rose by 0.1 per cent to 0.9 and 0.7 respectively.
Data released by analytics firm SQM Research revealed Australia’s national rental vacancy rate fell to 1 per cent in July (pictured) – the second lowest national rate in more than 17 years
Managing Director of SQM Research Louis Christopher described the rental market as ‘tight’ and said the return of overseas travellers may cause additional pressure to the market.
‘The rental market by and large remains very tight,’ Mr Christopher said.
‘And now, with the falls in CBD rental vacancies rates to well below average, we have evidence that the rise in overseas arrivals is starting to put some additional demand pressure in certain pockets of the rental market.
‘We will wait to see if the increased immigration demand creates pressure elsewhere.’
Mr Duggan said state governments, particularly Queensland, need to stop ‘double dipping in the pot’ with land tax and start looking for solutions into getting stock back into the market.
The Queensland government has introduced an interstate properties and land tax, which will come into effect at the end of June 2023.
Landlords will have their land tax calculated based on their total value of their Australian land – in Queensland and interstate.