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Tenants Queensland (TQ) has welcomed the Palaszczuk government’s new laws designed to introduce minimum standards in rental properties and provide greater consumer protections for manufactured homes owner-occupiers.

TQ CEO Penny Carr said that introducing a head of power to regulate minimum standards in rental properties was a very positive step forward.

“Minimum standards in rental properties are particularly important when you consider that half of the renting households are families with children,” Ms Carr said.

“The legislation will also address the very poor quality of some rental accommodation in the state.

“Minimum standards are good for tenants who often fear asking for repairs and maintenance.

“Equally, they’re good for real estate agents and industry, particularly when dealing with unscrupulous lessors. Those lessors with properties which meet community standards have nothing to be concerned about.” [click to continue…]


Queensland’s renting households will maintain access to free tenancy advice.  Today Minister for Housing and Public Works and Minister for Sport, the Hon Mick de Brenni, pledged $37.597 million for five years from June 2018 for the Queensland Statewide Tenant Advice and Referral Service (QSTARS).

QSTARS has helped tens of thousands of Queensland renting households since the program commenced on 1 October 2015 but until today the future of the program was unclear with the current contract ending in June 2018.

As managers and deliverers of the program, Tenants Queensland welcomes the announcement saying it will provide comfort to half a million renters throughout Queensland to know that the growing service would continue.

“Renters in all regions of the state contact QSTARS for advice and support to meet their tenancy responsibilities and exercise their rights,” said TQ CEO Ms Carr. [click to continue…]


Queensland renters!
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In August the Hon Michael de Brenni MP, introduced the Housing Legislation (Building Better Futures) Amendment Bill 2017 into the Queensland Parliament.   The bill includes detailed amendments to the Manufactured Homes (Residential Parks) Act 2003 to increase transparency in the relationships between park owners, staff and home owners and to strengthen consumer protections and provide more security to home owners.

Key changes include:

  • improved pre-contractual disclosure processes
  • limiting rent increases under the site agreement to one per year, and increase the transparency of market rent review calculations;
  • providing a process for in-park dispute resolution before matters are escalated to the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT).
  • prohibiting administrative fees for provision of utilities, including meter reading; and
  • prescribing clear, enforceable behaviour and management standards for park owners and home owners; and
  • ensuring emergency services and health workers have access to residential parks and emergency management plans are in place.

Tenants Queensland supports the changes being proposed and wants to see the changes become law.  Before the bill can be passed by parliament it must be considered by the Public Works and Utilities Committee.  This parliamentary committee is currently taking submissions from the public until 28 August.  They will report on their findings by 28 September.

TQ encourages you to make a submission to the parliamentary committee to help support the changes and ensure they become law.  Just a few short comments about how you think the changes will impact on residents will help.

You can find out more about the proposed changes and how to make a submission here: https://www.parliament.qld.gov.au/work-of-committees/committees/TUC/inquiries/current-inquiries/I48HsngBetterFutures

In addition to supporting the proposed changes TQ will be advocating for additional protections for residents of manufactured home parks, in particular introducing a licensing system and standards for operators of park sites.

 

 


The condition of rental properties in Queensland can often be very poor – especially those that are ‘affordable’  .  Although the law says properties must be “in good repair” and “fit to live in” it is not always clear what that means.  There are many reasons why tenants might be reluctant to ask an agent for repairs – especially if they have a short lease or are worried about being unfairly evicted.   Often a tenant will not pursue repairs because they don’t want to ‘rock the boat’, resulting in problems being inherited by consecutive tenants.

The state government is proposing to make changes to the Residential Tenancy and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008 (RTRAA) so that, in the future, rental properties will have to meet defined minimum standards before being listed for rent.  Minimum standards will make it easier for tenants and lessors to know what is expected. [click to continue…]


TQ welcomes today’s introduction of the Housing Legislation (Building Better Futures) Bill 2017 into the Queensland parliament by Housing Minister, the Hon Mick de Brenni. The Bill will amend the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008 to allow for the introduction of minimum housing standards in rental properties. The standards will be set out in Regulation and developed through a process of consultation.

The poor quality of some properties is an on-going issue for Queensland renters. The changes will help protect the most vulnerable, often pushed into the margins of the market and reluctant to seek repairs for fear of losing their tenure, from living in substandard and unsafe housing.
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The Bill’s introduction is a big step forward but there is still a lot of work to be done. TQ looks forward to participating in the consultation to develop the standards. TQ will also lobby for additional reforms, in particular to address the lack of tenure security.

 


On Monday the Premier, the Hon Anastasia Palaszczuk announced the government’s 10 year Housing Strategy providing an investment of $1.8B over that time.

The Strategy’s three year Action Plan states that ‘people living in the private rental market will have better consumer protection and housing stability through legislative and policy reforms’. This mean a legislative review of Queensland tenancy laws will take place soon. It is likely to focus on security of tenure and standards in rental properties. We’ll keep you updated as we learn more. Rest assured, we’ll be enthusiastically supporting the Strategy’s aim of developing a more contemporary legislative framework!

Changes to the Manufactured Homes legislation and Retirement Villages, work commenced some years ago are likely to be finalised in the near future. [click to continue…]


Check out the rental vulnerability where you live!  

Today Housing Minister Mick de Brenni helped Tenants Queensland launch the first ever Rental Vulnerability Index (RVI), a tool which allows you to see how many vulnerable renters there are in any postcode area in Queensland.

The RVI is more than just a measure of affordability; it is a look into who lives in the local rental housing and what sort of other vulnerabilities they might experience. It combines 13 data sources, each of which individually expose a potential to experience a housing problem, into one measure of overall rental vulnerability.

Using the interactive map, you can identify not just the RVI for each Queensland postcode area, you can also see the statistics on each of those 13 indicators.

This RVI has been developed as primarily as a service planning tool for tenant advisory services – to ensure that need for services align with demand and if not to reach out to the most vulnerable tenants. However, it will have applicability for a much broader range of service providers, policy maker and planners.

Check out your postcode!


Tenants Queensland is calling for the abolition of without grounds termination of tenancies so that every tenancy is ended with a “JUST CAUSE“. Queensland tenancy law is currently under review. If you agree with us, help our campaign by emailing your views to the Residential Tenancies Authority at enquiries@rta.qld.gov.au  or your State MP.  Tell them that you want Just Cause evictions in Queensland!


Last Thursday CHOICE, the National Association of Tenants’ Organisations (NATO) and National Shelter called for governments to prioritise rental security and quality issues, not just housing affordability. This followed the release of Unsettled, Life in Australia’s Private  Rental Market, the results of a national survey by the same groups, in which widespread fear and discrimination was reported by thousands of Australians.

Key findings from Unsettled were:

  • 83% of renters in Australia have no fixed-term lease or are on a lease less than 12 months long
  • 62% of people say they feel like they can’t ask for changes
  • 50% of renters report experiencing discrimination when applying for a rental property
  • 50% of renters worried about being listed on a residential tenancy database
  • 20% renters experiencing leaking, flooding and issues with mould
  • 8% of renters are living in a property in need of urgent repairs

For those who rent, this was no surprise but media across the country picked up the story with coverage on [click to continue…]


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