The state’s leading real estate lobby group has backed a diluted version of Queensland Government legislation to protect tenants during the coronavirus crisis.
Housing Minister Mick De Brenni says the measures were introduced in state parliament in late April.
Under the revised proposals, tenants must be able to prove they have lost at least 25 per cent of their income, or that their rent exceeds 30 per cent of their income, to access COVID-19 rental relief measures.
A tenant will also not be able to break a tenancy agreement with limited fees without being able to prove a 75 per cent income loss of income.
The original legislative framework was widely denounced by the real estate sector, which said tenants – who could originally claim relief without proof – were being protected at the expense of landlords.
More than 400,000 letters of complaint were received by the Labor Government.
Mr De Brenni says the government has made changes that struck a balance between protecting the rights of landlords and tenants.
“Tenants and property owners in significant financial distress are also being supported through a $20 million rental grant package, announced with the framework over a week ago,” Mr De Brenni says.
Real Estate Institute of Queensland CEO Antonia Mercorella says her organisation is satisfied with the revised framework.
“It also ensures stability for the Queensland property market as well as for consumer confidence going forward,” she says.
“It provides both tenants and property owners with certainty and clarity surrounding the Prime Minister’s no eviction moratorium.
“The minimum income reduction threshold for tenants to meet before they qualify for the protection measures is in line with other jurisdictions [states and territories],” Ms Mercorella adds.
WHAT ARE THE CHANGES?
- Tenants can claim COVID-19 rental relief if they have lost 25 per cent of their income.
- They also qualify if their rent exceeds 30 per cent of their income.
- Tenants must be able to provide proof of finances.
INSPECTIONS AND REPAIRS
- Virtual rental inspections will be allowed.
- Access must be given for essential repairs and maintenance.
- Property owners will be prohibited from evicting a tenant if their lease expires. This freeze will be made retrospective to March 29.
BREAKING TENANCY AGREEMENTS
- Tenants can break a lease with capped fees if they have lost 75 per cent of their income.
PROTECTING DOMESTIC VIOLENCE VICTIMS
- Victims of domestic violence will be able to end tenancies quickly, change locks without seeking approval and access bond.
- Tenants experiencing hardship and unable to access, or who are waiting for financial support, can receive up to $2000.