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.
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".
Gold Coast 391
Sunshine Coast 72
Moreton Bay 63
Originally published as Tenants and landlords go to war over COVID-19 disputes