A Greens candidate hoping to become Brisbane mayor is promising to increase landlord rates by 650 per cent – but it won’t hit his pocketbook.
Jonathan Sriranganathan has vowed to “freeze rents in Brisbane” and punish landlords who object with crippling rate rises.
Such a move would have no personal impact given he lives on a houseboat called ‘Afterglow’ in Brisbane’s Norman Creek and pays no mooring fees.
He also owns a 4×4 and a caravan, and keeps them parked on the street adjacent to his boat.
Jonathan Sriranganathan has vowed to “freeze rents in Brisbane” and punish landlords who object with crippling rate rises. But such a policy would have no impact on him, given that he lives on a houseboat he calls ‘Afterglow’.
Sriranganathan told Daily Mail Australia that he and his partner “moved into an old, leaky houseboat mainly because it was too expensive to buy anywhere on land.”
He said the experience makes him “very qualified to advocate for changes to housing policy, because I am one of thousands of Brisbane residents who have been locked out of the housing market”.
“I’d like to have a house, but (Prime Minister) Steven Miles seems to have bought them all,” he said.
Sriranganathan earned up to $160,000 a year for seven years working as a councillor, but never bought property.
Instead, he lives on the houseboat, which requires a kayak to access.
He purchased the houseboat in March 2017 for about $30,000, according to Domain. At the time he was donating half his salary to charities in protest at the much higher salaries politicians receive compared to ordinary Australians.
“If I kept that I could afford to live in a much better place,” he said.
‘Until ordinary workers are paid better and Centrelink is made much more reasonable, I don’t think it’s fair for politicians to be paid much higher salaries.
“It’s about practicing what I preach.”
The Greens candidate (left) is hoping to become mayor of Brisbane and is running a campaign promising to increase homeowner rates by 650 per cent (pictured with Greens housing spokesperson Federals, Max Chandler-Mather).
Since quitting his job as a councilor to run for mayor, he no longer earns an income, but before that he said he donated specifically to registered environmental and housing charities, while also donating to “local community projects and people who” “He had fallen on hard times.”
As part of its housing policy, Sriranganathan has pledged to hit homeowners – many of whom are struggling under rising cost-of-living pressures and rising interest rate hikes – with huge additional costs if necessary. chosen one.
His plan is based on a commitment to freeze rents for two years to allow “wages to catch up and provide relief to tenants.”
But he offered assurances to owner-occupiers that they are not the target of the plan.
“Owner-occupiers can rest assured that we don’t want to raise their rates; we just want to target mega-rich speculators with multiple investment properties that they leave empty for the long term, or who systematically rip off tenants.”
In fact, he said homeowners have as much reason to vote Green as renters.
“We are the only party that is serious about reducing the number of homeless people and stopping big developers from manipulating our democracy,” he said.
“City councils and parliaments are already full of property investors, so having someone with a different financial background will help achieve much-needed balance in housing policy conversations.”
He bought the houseboat in March 2017 for about $30,000, according to Domain, and claimed at the time that he donated half his salary to charities in protest of the much higher salaries politicians receive compared to ordinary Australians and currents.
One image shows the caravan and 4×4 parked in front of a sign that says: “Narrow street, do not park in front.”
To enforce its rent freeze, Sriranganathan says it would “charge significantly higher rates to any real estate investor who raises rent above January 2023 levels.”
Additionally, the rent freeze would apply to housing, rather than leasing, meaning landlords would be locked into the rent even if their tenants move out and the property is put back on the market.
Sriranganathan has described his policy idea as one that would “make it extremely costly for property investors to raise rents by charging much higher rates if they did so.”
While the council does not have the power to change state rental laws, it has argued it could create a new rate category described as “uncapped rental housing” where properties would be located if landlords raised rents.
“In practice, almost no investor would raise the rent, since doing so would mean losing money,” he said.
Its long-term goal is to eliminate Australians’ desire to treat housing as a financial asset.
And Sriranganathan maintains that his policy proposal is actually proving hugely popular with the electorate.
He noted that “some investors have been concerned about the rent freeze,” but there are many others “who say that if a landlord has managed his finances so poorly that he can’t cover his costs without extorting his tenants, he should probably just sell up.” ‘.
‘Tenants and owner-occupiers love our proposal to freeze rent increases for two years. Even people who own their own homes can see that we urgently need to do something to prevent more people from becoming homeless.’
However, it will be an uphill battle to unseat LNP mayor Adrian Schrinner, who currently holds the highest office for a Liberal politician outside of Tasmania.
By the time the election rolls around in March, the LNP will have held the Brisbane mayoralty for 20 years.
In 2020, then-Greens candidate Kath Angus managed a five per cent swing, but Schrinner still won 56 per cent of the two parties’ preferred vote and is still considered a popular leader.
“We are definitely still the underdogs in the mayoral race, but I predict we will win several wards from the LNP,” he said.
“Support for the Greens has increased in Brisbane over the past 8 years and almost 50% of Brisbane voters now have a federal Greens MP.”
He believes at least 10 council areas are within striking distance in the next 2024 council election, following strong results in the 2022 federal election in and around Brisbane.
Labor has put forward a local lawyer and mother, Tracey Price, as its mayoral candidate, who is campaigning on a policy to “make our suburbs safer” and “transform Brisbane into a 24-hour city”.
He also maintains that the LNP – after so long in power – and Mr Schrinner are “out of ideas, money and time”.
It will be an uphill battle to unseat LNP mayor Adrian Schrinner, who currently holds the highest position for a Liberal member on mainland Australia.