The Queensland Government is urging tenants to stand up for their rights, following the release of “Unsettled – Life in Australia’s private rental market (external site)”, the first comprehensive national study of the rental sector in Australia.
Minister for Housing and Public Works Mick de Brenni said the report revealed more than half of Australian renters did not exercise their rights from fear of being blacklisted, having their rent increased or being evicted in retaliation.
“All Queenslanders deserve a safe, secure and affordable place to call home,” Mr de Brenni said.
“Given more than one third of Queenslanders rent their home, it’s essential they feel secure and supported to stand up for their rights.
“We know tenants face issues like insecure tenure, difficulty getting repairs done or ending a tenancy, but I want to reassure Queensland tenants they have rights and remedies, governed by law, to respond to these issues.”
RTA CEO Darren Barlow said Queensland tenancy laws were governed by the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Act 2008 (the Act) which clearly states tenants’ and property managers/owners’ rights and responsibilities and penalties for not adhering to them.
“The RTA can issue a penalty infringement notice or prosecute those who commit offences under the Act,” Mr Barlow said.
“We are committed to make renting work for everyone, so tenants should feel secure exercising their rights.
“Under Queensland law, a property manager/owner cannot issue a Notice to leave (Form 12) without grounds if a tenant has taken action to enforce their rights.
“If a tenant believes they are being evicted due to retaliation, they can apply to QCAT for a decision, within 4 weeks of receiving the Notice.”
Mr de Brenni said the report’s findings reflected the sentiments Queensland tenants shared in consultation sessions for the government’s new Housing Strategy.
“It’s clear we need to reform rental arrangements in Queensland to create a level playing field for the sector while balancing the rights of tenants and property managers/owners,” Mr de Brenni said.
“We are considering a variety of measures to ensure Queenslanders have confidence in a fair rental sector, including greater flexibility of tenure, cheaper rent options, greater ability to respond to tenant breaches and more freedom for tenants to treat the property as their home.
“Any changes will need to be entrenched in the legislation, so we are also considering making amendments to the Act to ensure it continues to reflect the changing nature of the rental sector
“Queensland tenants should not live in fear – they can access support and information from the RTA at rta.qld.gov.au, or via the Call Centre on 1300 366 311.
“They can also access free and independent advice from the Queensland Statewide Tenant Advice and Referral Service on 1300 744 263.”