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Bill to stop NSW landlord flood profits

Proposed changes to rental laws in NSW would cap rent during a flood to stop landlords profiteering from housing shortages.

New legislation presented by the Greens in parliament on Thursday seeks to protect renters who lose their homes during catastrophic flooding, as well as addressing the wider issue of housing shortage in the state.

Assessors have so far found at least 95,000 homes were damaged or destroyed by the recent floods disaster.

In response, the federal and NSW government has allocated $285 million to address the crisis, providing temporary housing, including 120 motorhomes, temporary “pod” housing and hiring longer-term homes and Airbnb homes for those displaced.

Greens Housing spokeswoman Jenny Leong said amendments were needed as a matter of urgency.

“Those people in flood-impacted areas would be protected immediately (with) a moratorium on evictions,” Ms Leong said as she introduced the bill.

“In addition, we’d have a cap on rents to see that greedy landlords don’t seek to profit from what is a horrific and tragic crisis across the state.”

There had been a “complete market failure when it comes to housing affordability” leading to the “completely disastrous situation we are seeing in NSW when it comes to renters” following the floods, Ms Leong said.

“This emergency should not be an opportunity for landlords to evict tenants or profiteer by jacking up rents – simply because so many homes have been destroyed the demand for rental properties has skyrocketed.”

The bill, which seeks to amend the state’s residential tenancies act, also looks to more broadly improve the habitability, affordability and security for tenants.

The demand for rental properties already exceeded demand before the flood crisis, Ballina MP Tamara Smith said.

“The extent of damage in regional towns and villages is such that there will be a deficit of available rental properties for the foreseeable future,” she said.

“We need to ensure that every possible rental property is available for medium to long term rentals for at least the next 12 months.”

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