× IMPORTANT information for tenants during COVID-19 pandemic - click here.

16 September 2020

Joint News release

Queensland Council of Social Service (QCOSS), Q Shelter and Tenants Queensland, three of the five members of the Queensland government’s COVID-19 Housing Security Subcommittee, have criticized the decision not to extend the residential tenancy eviction moratorium.

In a joint statement from QCOSS CEO Aimee McVeigh, QShelter CEO Fiona Caniglia and Tenants Queensland CEO Penny Carr:

“We are deeply disappointed in the decision by the Queensland government to not extend the moratorium.

“This decision flies in the face of the advice provided to government from the majority of the Minister’s Housing Security Subcommittee – our three organisations all recommended that the moratorium be extended to 31 December 2020.

“This will only serve to make the housing arrangements of Queensland families much more insecure.

“The Queensland government have decided to go it alone in not extending the moratorium – Western Australia, South Australia and Victoria have all committed to extending their moratoriums to March 2021, and Tasmania has extended theirs to December 2020.”

-ENDS-


Use our online template to send an email.   For extra impact, add details of your personal experience and why you believe the extension is needed.

We urge all of our supporters to put pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard and contact our Housing Minister, Mick de Brenni, and Premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk, asking them to extend the moratorium.

As we move into September, we inch closer to the end date for Queensland’s moratorium on evictions. Designed to protect those Queenslanders who have been significantly impacted by COVID-19, we don’t believe now is the appropriate time to end the moratorium.

By continuing the moratorium to 31 December, our most vulnerable tenants will be protected from the mental, financial and physical stresses a premature eviction would cause.


Media Release   2 September 2020

Tenants Queensland calls for three-month extension of the moratorium on evictions

Queensland’s peak tenant advisory group is calling on the Queensland Government to extend a ban on evictions, fearing a surge in homelessness once the September deadline ends.

Tenants Queensland (TQ) CEO Penny Carr said a ban on evictions was necessary at least until the end of the year with a preferred tapering of protections extended into 2021 for those affected by COVID-related hardship.

“Increasingly Queensland renters have been contacting our service expressing concerns about potential homelessness and anxiety for the debt they have accrued while renting during the pandemic,” said Ms Carr.

“Many are desperately worried they will lose their homes due to unresolved negotiations on rent reductions and because they cannot rely on the goodwill of their landlord.

“With no end in sight to the pandemic, we believe it is premature of the Government to end the evictions moratorium with unemployment still so high and incomes reduced.”

From 30 September, landlords will be able to go to court to evict tenants, prompting fears from TQ and social services groups that there could be a rush in cases.

Other changes to come into effect include:

  • Rent will increase with a return to the ‘starting rent’ i.e. if a renter has been paying less rent under a variation agreement or unresolved dispute, the renter is required to return to the contracted rent;
  • Income is likely to drop due to changes to the rates of coronavirus supplement and JobKeeper payment; and
  • Rents owed during the ‘protected period’ will become due.

TQ’s proposals post 31 December include; exemption from tenancy database listings if the dispute arises during the three-month extension period and a blanket ban on evictions for rent arrears and disputes which also occur during the protection period until the case is resolved through mutual agreement, the RTA or QCAT.

“The current exit from the COVID tenancy protections for affected renters will be harsh and will result in a significant number of renters facing eviction,” she said.

“We believe a softer exit will be fairer in order to maximise opportunities for renters to remain housed beyond the end of the evictions moratorium.”


The State Government is proposing planning reforms to notify RENTERS of future developments on adjoining properties as part of the public notification requirements.

The inclusion of RENTERS is part of the Planning initiatives to support economic recovery.

 Here’s what you can do to show that you support the State Government’s positive step:

  1. Click the link to sign the proforma or copy the text to compose your letter.  Word version  PDF version
  2. Email it to bestplanning@dsmip.qld.gov.au  by this FRIDAY the 7th of August 2020.

For more information, go to: https://haveyoursay.dsdmip.qld.gov.au/…/doc…/173539/download


Earlier this year the State government announced a $200 utility payment to all Queensland households as part of a COVID-19 relief package. The payment was credited to electricity bills from April for regional Queenslanders, and May for those in the South-East. In addition to this one-off credit, a $50 Asset Ownership Dividend was due to be paid over the next two years. However, a decision has now been made to bring the payment forward.

From 31 August 2020, Queenslanders will receive the one-off $50 dividend credit on their electricity bills. This is the fourth payment of this kind, with the previous dividends paid in 2018 and 2019. To be eligible for the payment, you must have an open electricity account on 31 August. The dividend will be displayed as a $50 credit with the text “Qld Govt Asset Ownership Dividend,” or similar. The amount is not diminished by any GST calculations.

These payments totalling $250 are made possible because Queenslanders own their energy assets.

If you have not received the $200 credit, or you do not receive the $50 dividend, please contact your electricity provider.

At Tenants Queensland, we are hopeful that the credits will provide some relief for those households living in financial stress during this pandemic.


In March of this year, David was unable to work because of COVID-19 restrictions.  With two young children to care for, David’s priority was keeping a roof over their heads. He asked for a rent reduction, but his request was denied. So instead he gave almost every cent he had to his real estate agent, and caught up on his payments with the small lump sum he received from the government. But despite his best efforts, David felt bullied and targeted for falling behind on his rent in the first place. By April he was issued a notice to leave without grounds. [click to continue…]


Lucy* and her family were COVID affected. They sought a reasonable and genuine rent reduction which they pursued in the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) and won!

Since last month’s changes by the state government to our tenancy laws for the COVID-19 emergency period, tenants seeking rent reductions have been left to negotiate with their agent or lessor. When agreement can’t be reached, the dispute continues to RTA conciliation, and if not resolved there, can be decided in QCAT.

Several weeks into the changes, Lucy’s story is one of the first QCAT outcomes we’ve heard and we’re sharing it to give heart to all the Queensland renters still stuck in negotiation.

Lucy lives with her husband and small baby in a rental they’ve called home for ten years. Until COVID-19, the tenancy has been unremarkable. They’ve never been in arrears, never had to go to QCAT, and late last year welcomed their first child into their home.

However, when COVID struck, Lucy’s husband was stood down from work and warned of a possible redundancy. With an uncertain family income and Lucy on maternity leave, she asked her agent for a rent reduction as soon as the Queensland COVID tenancy laws were made. [click to continue…]


Last week, Queensland put into law the National Cabinet’s six-month moratorium on residential evictions resulting from COVID-19. Here’s summary information on how that’ll work for renters across our state. If you’re directly affected though, seek advice by calling us or check out our website.

The new rules cover the management of rent arrears and evictions, how entries can be made, requirements for dispute resolution, and changes to reasons and processes for ending tenancies. Most changes apply to residents in rooming accommodation as well as general tenancies like houses, units, caravan tenancies and flats.

These new rules will apply to all residential tenancies entered before or during the emergency period (March 29 – September 29, 2020). Some changes will apply to all tenancies while others, like the evictions moratorium, apply only to tenants and residents who meet a specific criterion set out in the new regulations. For this article, we’ll call those criteria ‘COVID hardship’ – they’re explained below.

Let’s focus on the evictions moratorium first. [click to continue…]


Media Statements

JOINT STATEMENT

Deputy Premier, Treasurer and Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships
The Honourable Jackie Trad

Minister for Housing and Public Works, Minister for Digital Technology and Minister for Sport
The Honourable Mick de Brenni

Thursday, April 09, 2020

Special COVID-19 Protections for residential tenants and owners

The Palaszczuk Government has unveiled a package of measures to implement the freeze on evictions.

Deputy Premier Jackie Trad is encouraging tenants, property owners and agents to work together to sustain tenancies during this public health emergency.

“We’ve all heard of stories of too many Queenslanders who are doing it tough right now, and the Palaszczuk Government recognises the hardship they are suffering.

“It’s not in the interest of anyone to have tenants left without a place to go when we are fighting to prevent the spread of a deadly disease.

“We will not allow anyone to be evicted because they can’t pay their rent as a result of this crisis.” [click to continue…]


Unless the federal and or state government take action to prevent the accrual of rent arrears over the coming months, the evictions moratorium will simply end for renters in deferred evictions, on-going debt and tarnished reputations during the recovery stage.  Rent reductions, where the rent due is reduced, rather than rent deferral, must be the aim.

National Cabinet turned out to be a lost opportunity. Many of the principles outlined by the Prime Minister in the mandatory code of conduct for commercial rents could have been applied to residential tenancies. National Cabinet could have pushed lenders to play their part and required broad relief from residential mortgage costs, and in particular capitalization of interest, removing a key barrier to rent reductions for tenants.  Despite this, most landlords will have access to mortgage relief on the basis of economic hardship.

The issue of residential tenancies has now been left for the state government.

Reducing costs

How can we hibernate and suppress (to use the PM’s speak) the costs of rent and mortgage and keep as much money flowing around the economy as possible, rather than using income support payments to service debts and loans? [click to continue…]


We know from yesterday’s announcement that changes to tenancy laws will be made in the next couple of weeks. We’ve been doing a bit of work behind the scenes to work out how we can protect renters from negative impacts of COVID-19. As a community, we’re all going to have to work together, with the impacts shared amongst all the players, renters and landlords alike.  

The issue prominent in the media has been protecting all renters (including residents of boarding housing and caravan parks) from forced evictions and homelessness. This has to be a key focus during what is a public health crisis, and needs to go beyond evictions due to economic hardship. However, we’ve also been lobbying governments to:

  • ensure that rents are reduced not just deferred, renters shouldn’t end up with crippling debts when we reach recovery. That would just lead to evictions and homelessness down the track. 
  • develop a reduced rent model which is affordable and used to determine unresolved rent reduction disputes
  • protect everyone from avoidable entries, and set out reciprocal questions when an entry can’t be avoided e.g. for repairs, to keep everyone safe and healthy
  • extend entry time frames from 24 hours’ notice to 48 hours so that any arising issue can be managed prior.
  • limit the amount of personal information a renter can be asked when seeking a rent reduction (we’ve seen some very intrusive forms!)

We agree there needs to be limited exceptions to the eviction moratorium, around issues of damage and injury, while still ensuring that no one is evicted into homelessness.

It’s a shame that the Prime Minister didn’t see fit to set out the rules for residential rent reductions like he did for commercial tenancies. We think costs need to be pushed downwards for both tenants and landlords. the more that landlords’ overheads are reduced, the better position they’re in to reduce rents. Those things are in the control of the federal government. 

We’ll keep you updated as soon as we hear anything more from the state government on changes to tenancy laws. 


Page 2 of 7
1 2 3 4 7