Queensland is in the midst of rental warfare with almost 30,000 disputes between landlords and tenants in just two months – most related to COVID-19 hardships.
Queensland is in the midst of rental warfare with almost 30,000 disputes between landlords and tenants in just two months – most related to COVID-19 hardships.

Tenants and landlords go to war over COVID-19 disputes

WARRING landlords and tenants have flooded a government rental referee with nearly 30,000 COVID-19 disputes across Queensland.

The State Government's Residential Tenancies Authority (RTA) has fielded 28,042 calls to its COVID-19 hotline in just two months.

Coronavirus has caused a spike in disputes between landlords and tenants in Queensland.
Coronavirus has caused a spike in disputes between landlords and tenants in Queensland.

From March 29, the Government banned landlords from evicting tenants who couldn't afford to pay their rent due to COVID-19 illness or job losses.

Property owners must consider temporary rent reductions for tenants who can prove financial hardship as a result of COVID-19.

Tenants have to prove the original rent chews through more than 30 per cent of their take-home income, including Centrelink payments.

More than 40 per cent of calls to the RTA were from landlords complaining about tenants failing to pay rent.

Nearly half were from tenants wanting to end a tenancy, and 11 per cent involved disputes about landlords wanting to inspect a rental property.

The latest data, provided to The Courier-Mail yesterday, shows that 1281 cases have been conciliated by the RTA.

Landlords and tenants failed to reach agreement in one in five cases, which will have to be decided in the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT).

Most cases were in Brisbane or the Gold Coast, with the average conciliation resolved in six days.

Real Estate Industry of Queensland (REIQ) chief executive Antonia Mercorella yesterday said about 10 per cent of landlords had reduced rents for tenants who lost income during COVID-19 shutdowns.

"But even when people have lost their job, due to JobKeeper and Jobseeker payments most of them are still able to meet their rental payment obligations," she said.

QCAT has not yet published its decisions on any COVID-19 evictions.

But it gave the green light to evicting a public housing tenant whose "abusive behaviour'' at her Southport home led to more than 70 complaints from 20 neighbours.

One neighbour complained that "this woman can yell for hours at a time which disturbs sleep on a regular basis".

RTA conciliations

Brisbane 483

Gold Coast 391

Sunshine Coast 72

Moreton Bay 63

Logan 42

Cairns 31

Ipswich 27

Noosa 24

Redland 24

Townsville 17

Originally published as Tenants and landlords go to war over COVID-19 disputes


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