Your rental reform ideas: “Tenants need to have rights…”

October 2, 2019

We asked and you answered! Here’s one of the many rental reform ideas that have been contributed by Queenslanders…

Tenants need to have rights, which as far as I’m concerned, we don’t have. The laws are made to protect relators and landlords instead.

I have been to the Tribunal before, and the landlord had proper representation, but of course, I had to represent myself. I lost, regardless of all the illegal building work we had to put with. This is one of many issues facing tenants in Queensland. Julie

Take action!

Do you agree with Julie? We want to hear about the changes you most want to see. Email [email protected] or send us a video on our Facebook or Twitter page.

To support our initiative to change Queensland laws and make renting fair, sign up for our campaign updates and share this post with your friends.

Your rental reform ideas: “Tenants deserve a cooling off period…”

September 27, 2019

We asked and you answered! Here’s one of the many rental reform ideas that have been contributed by Queenslanders…

A renting reform I’d like to see in Queensland is the introduction of cooling-off periods for tenants when they sign a new lease.

When moving into a new house, my partner and I discovered the lights didn’t work in half of the house, the hot water system would short out all the time, and the stove was constantly turned on. It took them two weeks to fix the stove, and we couldn’t live in the house during that period because it was a fire trap.

So what we would love to see, aside from pets being allowed, is cooling off periods. A cooling-off period would have prevented what happened to us. It would stop dodgy landlords and stop dodgy rental agencies. Keith

Take action!

Do you agree with Keith? We want to hear about the changes you most want to see. Email [email protected] or send us a video on our Facebook or Twitter page.

To support our initiative to change Queensland laws and make renting fair, sign up for our campaign updates and share this post with your friends.

International Tenants Day – photo and art competition

September 24, 2019

Tenants Queensland invites all tenants across Queensland to participate in our photo competition, capturing what ‘A sense of home’ means to you. Tell us in a caption “A sense of home is…”

You have until October 4 to send your photos and/or artworks –
1 – Email or mail your photo or photo of artwork, name, contact details and where you are renting in QLD to [email protected] or by post to Tenants Queensland 1/87 Wickham Terrace, Spring Hill 4000
2 – Post your photo or photo of your artwork on the Tenants Queensland Facebook page
https://www.facebook.com/tenantsqld/

CONDITIONS OF ENTRY
To be eligible for this competition, please send us your photo, name and contact details and tell us where you are renting in QLD. By sending your photo to Tenants Queensland, you are consenting to the photo, artwork, or photo of artwork being used publicly by Tenants Queensland, including on the Tenants Queensland website and social media. By sending this photo you confirm that you have consent of any person in the photo for their image to be shared in this way and you confirm the artwork sent in as entries for the competition are the entrant’s original artwork.
Any enquiries please contact Cameron at Tenants Queensland – Phone: (07) 3832 9447 – Email: [email protected] Website: tenantsqld.org.au

 

 

“I can’t find somewhere to live with my kitten…”

September 20, 2019
The real kitten did not want to be identified so we’ve used a file photo!

“My experience with renting in my current unit while owning a pet has been great. I’ve never had any issues, but soon my lease will be up and I am struggling to find a place that will take my kitten in as well. I believe that all units/houses/apartments should consider permitting pets.

I see so many posts about people having to re-home their pets due to lessors not accepting them, which I don’t think is fair for the pet or the owner! Let’s face it, we love our fur-babies and they love us! We should always have the opportunity to be with them no matter where we live”. This story was sent to us by a tenant who asked to remain anonymous to avoid any negative impact on their renting options.

Take action!

To support our initiative to change Queensland laws and make renting fair, sign up for our campaign updates and share this post with your friends.

You can also tell us your own story by emailing [email protected] or send us a video on our Facebook or Twitter page.

“My dog is my best mate….” Lauren and Alex’s story

September 3, 2019

Renting with Pets

“I got my dog, Rylie, about two-and-a-half years ago,” explains Alex, a Queensland tenant and pet owner. “I was very lucky to live in a house where pet ownership was permitted. After I moved out of that house, I encountered difficulties. Almost every rental  advertisement said, ‘no pets’. It took two months to find a new pet-friendly house, and it was right down to the wire. I was accepted into a new home just days before my lease ended.”

After months of searching, Alex was fortunate to move into a share-house with his friend, Lauren, and her poodle, Lottie. The two dogs get along well, and their lessor is willing to have tenants with pets.

Unfortunately, many pet owners don’t find pet-friendly rentals. Despite having one of the highest rates of pet ownership in the world, only around 10% of rental properties in Queensland allow pets. This disparity contributes to the rate of animals being surrendered. The Animal Welfare League claims 25% of pets were surrendered last financial year due to an inability by renters to find pet-friendly homes.

“I had another dog a few years ago, his name was Chief,” says Lauren. “I had him for six years, but because he was so big, I struggled to find a house for him. Eventually, I made the difficult decision to re-home him to a family who owned a large property. I know he is happier there and the family continue to send me photos and messages.”

Lauren’s previous experience with Chief made her very selective when it came to choosing Lottie, years later. As a student, she knew homeownership wasn’t an achievable goal in the near future. She deliberately selected a poodle because of their small size and inability to shed fur. Lauren hopes these traits will improve her likelihood of securing future rental homes with Lottie.

“My dog is my best mate. It doesn’t matter the time of day, she’s always there for me, and I never feel alone,” says Lauren. “It just doesn’t seem fair that people should be discriminated against in their rental housing for owning a pet.”

“My dog promotes a healthy lifestyle for me,” continues Lauren. “Lottie encourages me to take daily walks, and pet ownership also gives me a higher sense of responsibility that carries into other areas of my life.”

Numerous studies have shown the positive effects of pet ownership on people’s health, happiness and resilience. For the elderly, chronically ill, children or those with mental health difficulties, a pet can indeed be a lifeline, providing a reason to get out of bed each day.

When we know just how important pets are to Australians, it seems unfair that tenants are expected to surrender their pets or forego the opportunity of pet ownership.

While Lauren, Alex and their dogs enjoy their current home, knowing how few rental properties accept pets, does play on their minds.

“I’m heading overseas soon, and my Mum will mind Riley while I am away,” says Alex. “But when I get back, I’m in for some trouble trying to find a new home.”

“I try to live day-to-day and not worry,” says Lauren. “Because I already had problems renting with a large dog, I’ve chosen a breed that can fit with my lifestyle and should make finding a rental home possible. But you just never know.”

Both Alex and Lauren would like to see improved pet-ownership rights for tenants. “It would be nice to be given a chance from lessors and agents, instead of just being condemned from the start,” says Lauren.

“We give up thousands of dollars in bond money to live in a rental home, so it seems unreasonable that pet owners are denied an opportunity flat out,” agrees Alex. “It also encourages tenants to sneak pets onto a property and breaks down communication between tenants and lessors.”

Take action!

To support our initiative to change Queensland laws and make renting fair for pet owners, sign up for our campaign updates and share this post with your friends.

If you have experienced unfair rental practices related to pet ownership, share your story with us. Email [email protected] or send us a video on our Facebook or Twitter page.

Keep people together with their pets

September 3, 2019

Australians have one of the highest rates of pet ownership in the world, with an estimated 62% of households owning a pet. Despite our love of animals, the Residential Tenancies Authority have said that only about 10% of rental properties in Queensland allow pets. This alarming disparity contributes to the rate of pet surrenders, with the Animal Welfare League estimating that 25% of surrenders last financial year were because of an inability by people who rent to find pet-friendly homes.

Share our video and get on board the campaign to Make Renting Fair in Queensland!

As any pet owner will testify, animals play a significant role in the mental and physical health of their owners. Whether the owner is young or old, single, married or a bustling family, pets are a welcome presence at the end of a long day. Whats more, they fill the role of someone to talk to, someone to walk with and can be someone’s motivation to get up each day for those suffering mental health problems. Numerous studies have confirmed the importance of pets in people’s health, happiness and resilience, with many hospitals and aged care homes now incorporating pets into their rehabilitation.

Tenants deserve the right to own pets and keep them when they move house. They also deserve to live without fear for the future of their pet and know they will always find a safe place to call home together.

To make changes to Queensland tenancy laws, we need your support. Please share our message on social media with your friends, and sign up to our newsletter.

We also want to hear your personal experiences of renting with pets. You can email [email protected]g.au, or send us a 30-second video answering the question: “THE THINGS I MOST WANT TO CHANGE ABOUT RENTING IN QUEENSLAND IS…”

Your video will be shared on our social and other public media sites. Send it to our Facebook page or via email ([email protected])

Make bond returns easier for tenants

July 31, 2019

A rental bond is the tenant’s money held in trust during the tenancy, in case there is any unpaid rent or damages when the tenancy ends. When tenants pay a bond on their rental property it’s usually a significant sum of money.

Tenants deserve to get that money back with relative ease when it comes time to move house however the bond return process creates significant financial hardship and stress for many renters. Currently, it’s a race between the lessor and tenant to make a claim first with tenants often left to argue their innocence against unclear, unknown and changing demands.  Additionally the tenant will often have moved to another rental property before the dispute is resolved, paying another bond and now missing thousands of dollars from their bank account. 

It should always be assumed that the bond will be returned to the tenants unless there are evidenced claims by the lessor or agent. When a bond dispute has to be resolved in the Tribunal, it ‘s only fair that the agent or lessor should be the one required to make the application. This means tenants will be made aware the specific claims and given time to prepare their response.

To Make Renting Fair in Queensland, we want to change outdated legislation and ensure the bond is returned to tenants unless the lessor makes a substantiated claim.

To support this change, please share this message on social media, sign up to our campaign updates and also share your own renting stories.

If you have unfairly lost your bond money, we want to hear your story — email [email protected].

You can also have your say. Send us a 30-second video answering this question: “THE THING I MOST WANT TO CHANGE ABOUT RENTING IN QUEENSLAND IS….”

Your video will be shared on our social and other public media sites. Send it to our Facebook page or via email ([email protected])

Tenants deserve greater respect of their privacy

July 17, 2019

Have you ever missed checking your mailbox for a single day? As a tenant, this benign act could result in your lessor catching you in a compromising position the next day, or having your home accessed without your knowledge. Neither of those scenarios seems fair.

In some circumstances under current Queensland law, a lessor or agent needs to provide a mere 24 hours notice to access your property. Meaning an agent or lessor can put a form in your mailbox or send to your email early on one morning, and then access your property the very next day, exactly 24 hours after serving notice. With or without your knowledge.

We believe tenants deserve greater consideration of their privacy and are asking Queensland politicians to extend this notice period to 48 hours. An extra day has little impact on the property owner or agent, yet it increases the tenants’ likelihood of receiving the notice and has positive roll-on effects for the relationship between the tenant and lessor.

All Australians, no matter their income, employment status, shift patterns or the frequency with which they check their mailbox deserve privacy in the place they call home. 

To make these policy changes, we need the support of Queenslanders. Share our message on social media, sign up to our newsletter and share your own rental stories with us.

If you have personally experienced a breach of privacy related to this 24-hour notice policy, we want to hear about it — email [email protected].

You can also have your say. Send us a 30-second video answering this question: “THE THING I MOST WANT TO CHANGE ABOUT RENTING IN QUEENSLAND IS….”

Your video will be shared on our social and other public media sites. Send it to our Facebook page or via email ([email protected])

“I lost my home for no reason…” Susan’s story

July 9, 2019

“I rented a unit in regional Queensland for 18 months without any problems,” says 61-year-old Susan, “then one day, my tenancy was unexpectedly ended. I asked for a reason on several occasions, and the real estate agent just kept repeating, ‘we don’t have to give you one.'”

As a pensioner with health issues, the implications of moving were enormous for Susan. She could not afford the additional costs of relocating and knew she would be hard-pressed to find a similar home for the same price. “My mental health suffered badly, because of the stress and friendships I was leaving behind,” she says.

Susan had invested both time and money into the property, making it a home she was proud of. She had repainted the interior, put up shelving, replaced a small bathroom mirror with a larger one, made curtains for the bare windows and purchased lampshades for the lights. She tended to the small garden each day, adding plants and watching them thrive.

“I was a good tenant, but got treated very badly in the end,” she says.

Under current Queensland laws, agents and owners can end tenancies without any grounds, making it possible to discriminate or retaliate against tenants.

Unfair evictions are just one contributor to the growing rate of homelessness in women over the age of 55, along with low incomes and superannuation due to time out of the workforce or working low-paid jobs while caring for children or parents.

This time, Susan was lucky and found somewhere to live.

“A community support service helped me to move my belongings into a friend’s granny flat. I am lucky it also has a garden, so I have somewhere to spend my time each day,” explains Susan, “but it doesn’t seem fair that I had to leave when the apartment was rented out again after I left.”

If a property is to remain on the rental market, we believe a tenant who is meeting their obligations should be able to continue residing there. It’s a small change that doesn’t cost lessors or the government money but would have a positive impact on renters like Susan.

Take action!

To support our initiative to change Queensland laws and make renting fair, sign up for our campaign updates and share this post with your friends.

If you have experienced unfair rental practices, share your story with us. Email [email protected] or send us a video on our Facebook or Twitter page.

Keep Rent Rises Fair

June 26, 2019

Under current laws, Queensland tenants can experience rate rises every six months. When your most significant living expense has the potential to change twice in one year, tenants can experience extreme stress or be forced to move from their home and community. For the disabled, elderly or low-income families, the roll-on effects of this transition can be enormous.

Tenants who want to stand firm and dispute the rises face an arduous task. The onus of proving the rises are unreasonable is placed solely on the tenants, who must collect market data to dispute the changes. This is a challenge for all tenants but for those who speak English as a second language, or have mental or physical health challenges, the idea of contesting the rises can be entirely overwhelming.

We believe Queensland tenants deserve fair rental prices and are asking the Queensland government to limit rent increases to one annually. Whatsmore, if lessors want to increase the rent by an amount higher than 20% above the Consumer Price Index (CPI), we believe lessors should have to demonstrate the increase is reasonable, rather than tenants having to prove the action is unreasonable. An example where this increase could be considered fair is in the event of significant repairs or increased amenity.

Protection from unreasonable rent increases is also needed to ensure they are not used to end tenancies by stealth and to avoid opportunistic behaviour.

To make these changes, we need your support. Share our message on social media, sign up to our newsletter and share your own rental stories with us.

If you have personal experience with unfair rent increases, we want to hear about it — email [email protected]

You can also have your say. Send us a 30-second video answering this question: “THE THING I MOST WANT TO CHANGE ABOUT RENTING IN QUEENSLAND IS….”

Your video will be shared on our social and other public media sites. Send it to our Facebook page or via email ([email protected])