Q&A: Landlord complains renters “demonise” property owners as rental crisis worsens

An Australian landlord has complained that she feels “demonised” by renters and made to feel guilty for owning property.

The debate played out on ABC’s Q+A program on Monday night, as the Greens party campaign to limit negative gearing and capital gains taxes, which have driven the investment property boom.

Ann-Maree Eastman joined the live audience and asked the panel why politicians keep “changing the rules” for how to claim “legitimate business expenses”.

Ms Eastman said she owns four properties with her husband Phillip, which they use to fund their retirement.

“I’m just so angry that, as a landlord, I shouldn’t have to feel guilty about owning property – or properties in our case,” she told the panel.

“Why does it appear that all landlords are demonised and put in the same bracket?”

Greens MP and housing spokesperson Max Chandler-Mather was the first to answer her question, saying the current system is not fair.

“We have had a tax system that has encouraged people to buy up property investments and then able to write off any losses they make on those investments off on their tax,” he said.

“I’m sorry, I just don’t think that’s fair.”

Q+A host Patricia Karvelas cut in to point out that many landlord have been hurt by rising interest rates and soaring mortgage repayments.

However, Mr Chandler-Mathers said comparing the struggles of landlords and renters was inaccurate, with renters facing far worse consequences if they are unable to keep up with soaring rents.

“If renters lose they are sleeping in their car on the street. If a property investor has to sell their home, that might be bad but they get a huge sale price out of that home,” he said.

Ms Eastman shook her head in disapproval as the audience erupted into applause.

The conversation struck a chord with viewers, as dozens flocked to social media to share their thoughts on the commentary.

“Owning a home should not be a business, it’s a human right,” one person said.

“If you’re worried about your business when kids are growing up in tents is disgusting and you should be ashamed,” a second said.

Sydney Inner West councillor Dylan Griffiths took issue with Ms Eastman suggesting that she is a “self funded retiree” and relies on her investments to stay afloat.

“Sorry but retirees depending on income from renters – you are not ‘self funded’, you are funded by renters,” he said in a post to X.

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