From the end of this month, the Queensland Government will lift its ban on the eviction of residential tenants who have lost jobs or income due to the coronavirus pandemic.
- Normal tenancy arrangements will come back into effect on September 30
- Tenants still cannot be listed on a database for rent arrears
- A free rental conciliation service will remain in place for landlords and tenants
The moratorium applied to any residential tenants who suffered an income loss of at least 25 per cent, and to anyone whose rent equates to more than 30 per cent of their income.
The National Cabinet agreed to the six-month freeze on rent arrears caused by COVID-19, but normal residential tenancy arrangements will come back into effect in Queensland on September 30.
But Queensland Housing Minister Mick de Brenni said it was the right time to end the ban.
“The freeze on evictions was important in the residential sector when movement in Queensland was much more restricted,” he said.
“Because of our strong health response, we’ve been able to keep the economy more open and we’ve already started delivering Queensland’s plan for economic recovery.
“As a result, we’ve seen Queensland’s economy fare better than other economies.”
But a number of other coronavirus protection measures will remain in place for tenants until December 31.
These include a prohibition on tenants being listed in a database for unpaid rent, the freedom to end a lease agreement quickly for any tenant experiencing domestic violence, limited reletting costs for tenants who end a lease early, and entry restrictions to support social-distancing requirements.
Figures from the Residential Tenancies Authority (RTA) showed 1,677 disputes between tenants and property owners had been resolved since April.
Mr de Brenni said a free rental conciliation service would continue to support renters and landlords.
“We’ve seen 70 per cent of all conciliated tenancy disputes successfully resolved within an average of just over eight days,” he said.
Commercial eviction freeze extended
Queensland’s moratorium on evictions for commercial leaseholders has been extended to the end of December.
Attorney-General and Justice Minister Yvette D’Ath said the three-month extension was good news for struggling businesses.
“It means that to the end of 2020, commercial leaseholders under affected leases can’t have their lease terminated if they fall into arrears as a result of the coronavirus pandemic,” she said.
“Since the moratorium was introduced in March, landlords and tenants have worked together in good faith to tackle the economic challenges we’re facing.
“This extension is about giving businesses and the thousands of workers they employ the certainty they need in these challenging times.
‘No jobs coming back yet’
But Tenants Queensland CEO Penny Carr said she was very disappointed with the Government’s decision, and it would leave tenants vulnerable to being evicted.
“They’re going to have a very stressful, grim, anxious time in the lead-up to Christmas,” she said.
“It’s incomprehensible that we’ve lifted the evictions moratorium for residential tenants but not commercial tenants.
“I just can’t understand how we can think that in one circumstance we need to keep the protections in place and in the other we don’t.”
Ms Carr said many tenants were still feeling the impacts of the pandemic and were struggling to find work.
“They’ve lost their jobs early on and there’s no jobs coming back yet. They’re people in travel, people in events and some in hospitality and the arts as well.
“There’s a whole range of different household types; they are single parents with children, there are two parents with dependent children, they are singles.”