By Julia Contrucci
“The freeze on evictions was important in the residential sector when movement in Queensland was much more restricted,” said Housing Minister Mick de Brenni while announcing the extension of several critical tenant protections until the 31st of December 2020.
The measures aim to safeguard property owners and tenants as households continue to recover from the global economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The remaining securities include:
· Protections for tenants from being listed in a tenancy database for unpaid rent caused by COVID-19 impacts;
· Tenants experiencing domestic violence being able to end their interest in a tenancy agreement quickly;
· Limited reletting costs for eligible tenants who end their fixed lease early;
· Entry restrictions and requirements that support social distancing requirements; and
· Relaxed repair and maintenance obligations that recognise impacts on lessors while maintaining tenant safety in the rental property.
“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 have seen Queensland’s economy fare better than other economies,” the Minister said.
“Our free conciliation service will continue,” emphasized the Minister. “We’ve seen 70 per cent of all conciliated tenancy disputes successfully resolved within an average of just over eight days.”
Since the start of the year, the Residential Tenancies Authority (RTA) registered a significant reduction in the volume of calls. According to the RTA’s latest COVID-19 conciliation data, tenants and property owners had worked together to resolve 1,677 disputes since April.
“With the Australian property market expected to continue to change over the next period, we’re asking all parties to continue to work together.”
For more information on assistance from the RTA, please visit rta.qld.gov.au/renting/covid-19-changes, or call the RTA’s 24/7 COVID hotline on 134 COVID (13 42 68).