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To Make Renting Fair in Queensland, we want to change outdated legislation and ensure the bond is returned to tenants unless the lessor makes a substantiated claim.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

Tenants deserve honesty and fairness

June 5, 2019

Choosing a home is a big decision. The costs of moving are significant and the emotional turmoil of relocating can be enormous. It’s not a task people want to experience regularly.

To ensure tenants can make the best decision for their future, they deserve to know all the facts when deciding which house to call home. Tenants deserve honesty and fairness.

As the Queensland government considers its review of tenancy laws, we’re proposing changes to ensure tenants receive accurate information at the time of choosing their rental home.

We believe renters should receive full disclosure on specific facts that might affect their ability to live in, or enjoy their home, before entering a tenancy agreement. For example we think renters should know:

  • If there is a mortgage over the property, and whether the issuing bank has given consent to the tenancy agreement;
  • Any intentions to sell the premises;
  • Whether the lessor resides nearby;
  • Whether there are any significant urban developments approved in the area;
  • The extent of any repairs and maintenance works undertaken at the property during the previous 24 months, and;
  • Any other factors that may have a significant bearing on a household’s enjoyment of the property were they to take up occupation.

While we are doing our utmost to push through these reforms, it’s important Queenslanders show their support. Beneficial changes to tenancy laws have recently occurred in the ACT and VIC, and they would not have been possible without public support.

To get behind these changes, please share this message on social media, sign up to our campaign updates and also share your own renting stories.

If you have experienced deceitful tactics when choosing a rental property, 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])

Enforce basic standards – Let’s Make Renting Fair in Queensland!

May 30, 2019

There are some basic requirements that every house should have to help make a house a home.  Homes that are safe and in good condition have a positive effect on people’s well-being and houses with good water and energy efficiency help keep tenants costs down.

Let’s change the law to introduce periodic inspections by an independent party and introduce measures that let tenants know if any, and what, repairs and maintenance have been done on a rental property.

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

HAVE YOUR SAY.  ‘THE THING I MOST WANT TO CHANGE ABOUT RENTING IN QUEENSLAND IS….’
Send us a 30 second talking head video (for use on our social and other public media sites) to our Facebook page or email to    [email protected]

No Unfair Evictions – Let’s Make Renting Fair in Queensland!

May 8, 2019

It’s time to change our laws. Right now renters can be evicted from their homes without any reason which creates instability and fear when renters need a place to call home!  Let’s change the law to remove without reason evictions, requiring a fair ground for every tenancy termination.

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

HAVE YOUR SAY.  ‘THE THING I MOST WANT TO CHANGE ABOUT RENTING IN QUEENSLAND IS….’
Send us a 30 second talking head video (for use on our social and other public media sites) to our Facebook page or email to    [email protected]

‘’Lives turned upside down – NSW renters experiences of no grounds evictions’’

March 19, 2019

Its real! Renters are bearing the brunt of outdated laws more than we think.  Of the 650 or so renters who completed the survey reported on in ”Lives turned upside down”, just under half had direct experience of a no grounds eviction. The result – renters are moving more often and renters are experiencing housing instability.

But even renters who have not experienced a no grounds eviction, the threat of one is enough to create anxiety and fear for tenants, many whom hold back from reporting problems for fear of being evicted.

Read the full report here about the impact on tenants of no grounds evictions.

The experience in Queensland is NO DIFFERENT.  That’s why we need your support to change the law in Queensland.  Please share with your family and friends so they can support us to change this archaic law in Queensland.

Tenancy Law Changes in the ACT

February 26, 2019

Last week the ACT assembly passed a bill to make renting fairer in the ACT.  Changes include:

  • a default position that tenants can have pets and even where a tenant is required to seek consent it can only be refused if ACAT has approved the refusal.
  • Rent increases of up to a prescribed amount, if a landlord wants a higher increase the tenant has to agree, or the landlord has to apply to ACAT.
  • a new process for modifications of a property by a tenant.
  • a new limit imposed on break lease fees to ensure they only cover a landlord’s actual loss.
  • tenants right to vacate by providing 3 weeks notice if they are given a no cause termination notice during a fixed term tenancy.

The changes will take at least 12 months to implement.

Unfortunately other changes including an attempt to end unfair evictions and the creation of minimum standards were not supported.  Despite not winning changes to unfair evictions, landlords will be required to provide a statutory declaration if they are going to evict a tenant because their family will be moving in.

You can find the full story here.

Kickstarting the campaign in 2019

February 22, 2019

With the government still planning to table a tenancy law reform bill in parliament mid-year, we are kick starting the campaign!

As you know the Queensland government’s public consultation about tenancy law (Open Doors to Renting Reform) closed on November 30. They are currently pulling together a report on all the responses.

As we build momentum we’ll be calling for your help to lobby politicians and the community.

Help us kickstart the campaign by asking your friends and family who have rented to follow us on Facebook @makerentingfairqld and sign up as a supporter to receive campaign updates here