CQ renters and landlords get help
RENTERS in Central Queensland can breath a sigh of relief with a new package to provide support during the coronavirus pandemic.
The State Government announced a package this week to help residential tenants, property owners and agents during COVID-19.
Keppel MP Brittany Lauga said the measures would place a freeze on residential evictions.
“Right now, many Central Queenslanders are doing it tough and living day-to-day after being stood down from their jobs or having their hours reduced,” she said.
“From Thompson Point to Yeppoon and Stockyard, almost a third of dwellings in our community are home to renters.
“We won’t beat this disease if tenants are put out on the street for not paying the rent because of a Coronavirus-related job loss.
“Sadly, at a time like this, some Queenslanders will need to leave their rental home to escape domestic and family violence. “
The State Government is implementing the National Cabinet’s decision to retrospectively freeze residential tenancy evictions, as of March 29, 2020.
New protections will also prevent property owners evicting tenants if their lease expires during the COVID-19 public health emergency.
Rockhampton MP Barry O’Rourke said there was an online rental hub to support discussions between property owners and renters at: www.covid19.qld.gov.au/the-hub
“Property owners aren’t to blame for COVID-19, nor are tenants,” Mr O’Rourke said.
“We know rental disagreements can be challenging, that’s why the State Government has a safety net for tenants and property owners who can’t agree on COVID-related matters.”
Freeze on evictions
The new protections mean property owners will be prohibited from evicting a tenant if their lease expires during the COVID-19 public health crisis.
This means that a tenant must extend their lease for at least a further six months.
Alternatively, if a tenant cannot pay rent due to impacts of coronavirus and wants to end their lease early, they will be allowed to do so.
Tenants will still be required to demonstrate respect for their property and neighbours by maintaining their home in accordance with their tenancy agreement.
The State Government has also introduced fail-safe measures to be there for Queensland tenants if all else failed.
New eligibility criteria is now in place for rental grants of up to four weeks’ rent, or up to $2000.
This is a last resort specifically for Queenslanders in need of support while they are waiting for federal government support to prevent homelessness.
The State Government will also implement legislative protections to allow Queenslanders experiencing domestic violence to escape a rental property in a hurry if they need it.
Immediate support to end tenancies quickly, change locks without seeking approval, access bond and separate from co-tenancies will be introduced retrospectively.