We all need a home that we can rely on. Without stability and security of tenure, people begin to live in a state of fear and uncertainty.
Use the form below to send a message to your elected MPs. Your message will be sent to your state MP, the Premier and Deputy Premier, Minister for Communities and Housing and the Opposition leader. You will receive the same email for your records.
Your browser does not support iframes. Please visit https://makerentingfairqld.good.do/makerentingfairqld/fix-the-bill/
Last Friday, the Minister for Housing, Leeanne Enoch introduced proposed legislation that would see tenants at the whim of the well-funded real estate lobby.
The Make Renting Fair Queensland campaign, supported by over 50 community organisations, have come out today outlining their disappointment with the mixed bag of changes, after two and a half years of waiting, the government’s new proposed legislation.
Penny Carr, CEO of Tenants Queensland, the state’s tenant advisory specialists, supported the government’s move to make rentals more pet friendly and introduce minimum standards, but expressed strong concern for the lack of protections for battling renters from unfair evictions.
“Our staff received over 14,000 calls in March this year. This just shows how many Queensland renters, and their families are in housing distress and are facing crisis point.
Ms Carr is concerned the proposal have been watered down to the point they undermine the current tenancy laws, by introducing more grounds to end tenancies when the tenant is not in breach.
“We advocated new grounds to end tenancies, but only with the view to removing the ability to end tenancies without grounds. The government have done the former but not the latter.
Make Renting Fair is concerned the proposed legislation was watered down following a scare campaign run by the well-funded real estate lobby.
The ability to undertake minor modifications have been removed from the proposals completely. Paige Armstrong, CEO of Queenslanders with Disability Network worries that people with disability will be impacted by this.
“Minor modifications like the addition of a shower or other rails make places safer for tenants with little impact upon the appearance and structural integrity of a property.
“What we hear from our members is that they are often reluctant to contact their real estate in fear of a backlash like ending their tenancy or not renewing their lease,” Ms Armstrong commented.
People experiencing domestic and family violence and older women are among the people reliant on private rental homes. Fiona Caniglia, Director of Q Shelter said the proposals include very important protections for people experiencing domestic violence. However, without protection from unfair evictions, many people will continue to live in properties in poor repair and be forced to move frequently. This causes poverty and people experience significant instability.
“We know that older women are one of the fastest growing groups of people facing homelessness across our state. These are women who have worked their entire lives, raised families, paid taxes and they are left with virtually nothing and sometimes, not even with a place to call home,” Ms Caniglia said.
Queensland Council of Social Service (QCOSS) CEO Aimee McVeigh said that the government demonstrated that they recognise their responsibility to act on housing insecurity in the state budget this week, but the 1.8 million Queenslanders who rent can’t be forgotten.
“The most important factor of the government’s prior commitment to rental reform was protecting tenants from unfair evictions. This bill does nothing to improve the status quo.
“It defies belief that minimum standards for air and ventilation have been dropped from the reforms. If a person or company can afford to invest in property, they can afford to ensure a tenant has enough light and air.
“We need reform that ensures that all Queenslanders have access to safe, secure and certain housing, whether that be social housing or privately renting.”
In the leadup to the Queensland State election, we have asked each of the major parties about their policies in relation to changing and improving our State’s tenancy laws.
We put forward 10 questions to the parties. To date only the Greens, the LNP and the ALP have responded, with a promise to respond having been received from Katter’s Australian Party. We will be publishing their responses as we receive them, and updating the scorecard below.
|Legend||Supportive Response||Non-supportive Response||Neutral Response or Status Quo||No Response Received|
|Platform Priorities||Greens||ALP||KAP||LNP||One Nation||United Australia|
|General Policy Supportive of Renters Rights|
|Commitment to support and improve renters rights during next Qld Parliament (2020-24)|
|Support for Independent Tenancy advisory Services in Qld|
|End No Grounds Evictions|
|Make it easier for Renters to keep pets|
|Make it easier for renters to get their bonds back|
|Limit rent increases|
|Minimum standards for rental properties|
|Read what the Greens said here||Read what the ALP said here||Committed to respond|
|Read what the LNP said here||No response||No response|
In the lead-up to the election, let your local candidates know that everyone deserves a safe place to call home!
Given that we currently seem no closer to finding out when the state government will progress the paused Tenancy Law Reform Process, we are seeking to highlight the issue with all candidates standing in the upcoming state election.
Will you send a letter to your local candidates?
Follow this link to easily send emails to your local candidates and ask their views on better protections for renters.
Also keep an eye on our blog, Facebook and Twitter. We’ve sent our own letters to all of the major political parties and we’ll be launching a scorecard in the next couple of days.
Last week, the Queensland government decided to end the moratorium on evictions for residential renters whist at the same time extending the moratorium for commercial tenancies.
Help us in our call to extend the moratorium until December 31 by sending a Premier an email. It’s not the right time to be ending protections for Queensland’s renting families and households.
Michelle lives in South-East Queensland with her two teenage daughters, and until more recently, her ex-partner. The house they rented had termite damage, rats in the wall and rotting timber. Every request Michelle made for repairs, was ignored.
“I almost fell through floorboards once, and there are support beams that are rotten,” says Michelle. “I think it is dangerous that these repairs have not made. I believe there should be legislation for minimum standards.” (more…)
Use this link to email the Housing Minister and ask for the moratorium on evictions to be extended.
The moratorium on evictions is due to end September 29, putting many Queenslander renters at risk of homelessness. At the same time, both the JobKeeper and JobSeeker payments will reduce. Predictions are that another 740,000 Australians will plunge into poverty.
From September 30, landlords will be able to go to court and evict tenants. Rent reductions for COVID-impacted tenants will return to their ‘starting rate,’ and rents owed during the protection phase of the moratorium will become due.
Tenants Queensland reports that increasing numbers of people are contacting their service expressing concern about potential homelessness, unresolved rent disputes and anxiety for the debt they’ve accrued while renting during the pandemic.
Highlighting the issue, Anglicare has released a special mid-year Rental Affordability Snapshot. The report findings show that in Brisbane, once the COVID-19 supplements are decreased, only 4% of rentals would be affordable and appropriate for households on government support.
Now is not the time to end the moratorium on evictions.
We’re asking you all to help call for an extension to the evictions moratorium by sending a letter to our Housing Minister, Mick de Brenni,
By continuing the moratorium protections until the end of the year, and preferably tapering those protections into 2021, COVI-affected Queenslanders will be better protected from homeless, as well as the emotional, financial and physical stress a premature eviction would cause.
Use our online template to send an email asking for the moratorium to be extended. For extra impact, add details of your personal experience and why you believe the extension is needed.
Thank you for your support.
At Make Renting Fair, the biggest issue we’re trying to change is getting rid of unfair evictions. These are used to target renters who have done nothing wrong and are one of the reasons renters often need to move house. We believe a home should be safe and stable and fixing this law will mean renters can feel more at home.
Terminating tenancies without any grounds creates fear for tenants who become afraid of retaliatory or discriminatory eviction, and allows dodgy landlords to get away with subpar housing.
Here are some real-life examples from Queenslanders.
These are real case studies, but their names have been changed and identities protected, because they were afraid speaking publicly would have a negative impact on their tenancies.
George has a five-year-old child and found asbestos in the backyard of his rental property on the Sunshine Coast. He asked for the asbestos to be removed, without success. Fearing for his family’s health, he tried to get it rectified but the landlord refused. The only option left for George was to try to end the tenancy early. George had the stress and worry of making an application to QCAT (which he won) and the added problem of finding another property and moving at his expense. George has now moved but is worried about being perceived as a troublemaker by his new property agent. He wants to support our campaign publicly, but he’s too scared for fear of reprisals. He believes minimum housing standards and improved processes for getting repairs done should be introduced into Queensland tenancy laws.
Pamela spoke to her real estate agent about a couple of issues within the new building she was renting. The basement carpark lighting wasn’t working adequately, and she had a few security concerns about the building in general. She was shocked to receive a Form 12 the next day and says, “I was stunned to discover the landlord’s agent would get rid of me rather than attend to the building’s issues and residents’ safety…I wonder how many people realise how one-sided the law is. I have been a landlord and still didn’t! The laws need to be changed, but supporting the MRF campaign could be held against me. I’m going to think twice before talking to an agent about a building fault again.
Betty is in her late 80’s and had repairs done to her rental property in the outer suburbs of Brisbane. Once the repairs were completed, the landlord left some items on the ground, and as a consequence, Betty fell. She took steps against the landlord because of her injuries. In return, she received a notice to leave without grounds, which she fought because she considered it was retaliatory. With the help of a tenancy advice worker, Betty took her case to QCAT and won. Betty now lives on a periodic tenancy, fearful of another notice to leave without grounds. She’s too scared to publicly support our campaign in case it causes more trouble, and she has to leave her home. If she hadn’t had the support of the advice worker, she doesn’t know where she’d be now.
Sally is a single parent in North Queensland who has lived in the same property for five years. Over the last year, she has had consistent water leaks in her bedroom. Sally endures constant drips that occasionally turned into a stream, splashing through her bedroom. Sally requested a repair, but no action was taken. When Sally said she would make a formal complaint, she was told a formal complaint might result in her lease not being renewed later in the year. She strongly supports our campaign but is worried the agent might make good on her threats to end her tenancy if she speaks out.
Community service providers who work in association with real estate agents are also not immune.
- A community service provider called Assist,* supported a local tenant who was moving because of domestic violence and social issues. Assist helped the tenant move into a new property, but the house was dirty and infested with cockroaches. With support from Assist, the tenant asked for pest control and cleaning to be done. In response, the real estate agency managing the property threatened not to work with Assist in the future.
- A second community service provider in regional Queensland called Help* supports the State government’s proposed tenancy improvements. Because Help is based in a small town, they are concerned about reprisal if they publicly support our campaign.
Ordinary Queenslanders should not live in fear of eviction or be punished for asking for better than subpar housing. We deserve better than our existing tenancy laws.
Take action today!
Email your local Member of Parliament to let them know you support an end to without grounds evictions.
Tell us about your own eviction experiences by emailing: [email protected], or send us a video on our Facebook or Twitter page.
*Not the real names of the community service providers.
Pets have always been a huge part of my life and always will be, however, having a dog while renting has caused me plenty of heartaches.
I got my dog, Kenji, right before I found out I was pregnant. I had been battling depression, anxiety and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) after fleeing a domestic violence situation. I was medicated and attending regular psychology sessions, but nothing helped me quite like Kenji. Words can’t explain how her unconditional love helped me. She let me feel secure and safe in my home. She let me feel peace again.
I have never received any complaints about my dog, I have good pet references from my previous landlord, and Kenji is registered with the local council and her healthcare needs are met. Despite being a responsible pet owner, and always receiving my full bond back when moving, renting with a dog has been difficult.
Last year, I was a few days off becoming homeless with my one-year-old baby and Kenji. I simply couldn’t find anywhere to live that would permit pets.
I had been approved for National Renting Assistance Scheme (NRAS) housing and was also on the social housing register. But all the listings refused pets.
I was greatly upset, and couldn’t understand why the government would discriminate against my need to keep my dog. My family began to pressure me to give up Kenji, but I couldn’t.
In the end, I got lucky. My mother stepped in and offered to put her name on a lease with me and subsidise my rent by $50 a week. Not everyone has this luxury, and to be honest, I still can’t afford the rent I’m paying but it was all I could find that would allow me to keep my dog.
Each week I juggle bills, requesting extensions for payments, and some weeks I have requested assistance from various emergency relief organisations to buy food and petrol. But my rent is always my priority and is always paid on time.
My baby is now two-years-old and starting childcare so I can finish studying and apply for work. I need to improve my financial situation before I drown in bills. The struggle is real. I feel desperate for those who do not have a family member to help, as I did.
I want the government to support renters to own a pet. Homeowners are allowed pets, but not me. If it weren’t for my dog, I wonder if I would still be here today. Kenji is my world, and my daughter adores her too.
I am proud to say that these days, my PTSD and anxiety are in remission, and I believe Kenji had a role in that. Pets are life-saving, and I am thankful you are all highlighting this issue. I hope we can make real progress. Cassie
Sign our petition and tell The Hon Mick de Brenni that pets and people belong together.