Homeless spike: Eviction threat as rental guarantee ends
Young families could be left homeless within weeks as housing bodies warn of a spike in evictions when Queensland's moratorium ends on Wednesday.
Queensland is now the only state where residential tenants impacted by COVID-19 can be booted out of their homes before Christmas, after New South Wales this week extended its eviction moratorium until April 2021.
Housing not-for-profit Micah Projects CEO Karyn Walsh said it was disappointing the moratorium was set to end at the same time coronavirus payments for JobKeeper and Jobseeker were being reduced.
"We are heading into a perfect storm," Ms Walsh said. "The link between not having enough income to pay your rent and homelessness is very clear and we don't have a great supply of affordable housing anyway.
"We will see probably more people be at risk of homelessness, if not homeless."
Tenants Queensland CEO Penny Carr said low to middle income earners who had never contemplated homelessness were now fearful of that outcome.
"People I can think of off the top of my head who are probably going to face eviction are single parent families with one and two teenage kids, there's a couple in their 60s, two parent families with dependent children, I know a couple of them as well," she said.
Many tenant-landlord relationships became bitter after failed negotiations for rent reductions or deferrals, and tenants are now fearful of retributive evictions over rental arrears, Ms Carr said.
"It's hard to understand why we are the only state that hasn't extended their eviction moratorium, we are still struggling with employment issues, some of those people aren't seeing their jobs come back yet," she said.
The state's unemployment rate was 8.8 per cent in August, 2020 - an additional 27,525 people are unemployed since last year.
"Hundreds of thousands of Queenslanders have lost their job since the COVID crisis began - many of them will be renters … 34 per cent of Queenslanders rent," Queensland Council of Social Service CEO Aimee McVeigh said.
Ms McVeigh said there was no real way of quantifying just how many Queensland renters would be evicted once the moratorium ended.
"We have been told by a father of five, a single mother and someone who has just fled from domestic violence that the moratorium is the only thing standing between them and homelessness," she said.
"These people have been explicitly told … come next week, they will be kicked out."