Queensland Government’s rental changes a ticking time bomb for all
- Federal MP calls for Palaszczuk Government’s proposals to be dramatically overhauled
- Mr Wallace encourages Sunshine Coast residents to contact the Premier with their concerns
The Queensland Government’s proposed changes to rental contracts in Queensland would be a ticking time bomb for renters, landlords and home owners alike on the Sunshine Coast according to local Federal Member for Fisher Andrew Wallace. Mr Wallace, a builder and construction barrister for thirty years prior to entering politics, called on the Palaszczuk Government to make the proposals fairer for everyone before they can be debated in the Queensland Parliament next week, and urged local residents to contact the Premier to make their objections known.
“I know that this is a difficult time for everyone, and for COVID-19 affected renters as much as anyone. But Annastacia Palaszczuk’s so called ‘protections’ for renters are an unfair mess which won’t protect anyone, and will leave all of us worse off for years to come. Put simply, they would increase rents, leave some rentals dangerously unsafe, cause financial distress for many more people and reduce home values for all of us. We need the Palaszczuk Government to wake up to the terrible consequences of their ill-considered scheme and amend it before it becomes law next week.” Mr Wallace said.
“These proposals are deeply unfair, asking thousands of mum and dad landlords on the Coast who are often themselves struggling to make ends meet, to bear all the burden of COVID-19 while their costs continue to increase. In the longer term, these measures will only increase rents for the hard hit tenants the Premier says she wants to protect.” he said.
Unlike other proposed rental schemes in other states and territories, the Queensland Government’s rental changes would see landlords forced to waive rents for tenants in financial distress with no recovery of any amounts owed when those tenants return to work. Landlords would remain exposed to full costs for rates, utilities, and loan interest.
“Annastacia Palaszczuk’s proposals do not require renters to show a shred of evidence that they have suffered financial distress arising out of the COVID-19 crisis. The Premier is asking, for example, older Australians who rely solely on rental income to survive, to waive their tenants’ rent for six months simply because the tenant claims they cannot pay. Times are incredibly tough for a great many people, and we should not put more Queenslanders in unnecessary financial distress because a small minority of unscrupulous tenants don’t want to pay. We expect people to provide evidence of their circumstances to access Government help, and we should expect the same for people who need a reduction in their rent. There must be a degree of proportionality in the pain experienced by both landlords and tenants. How can a landlord enter into negotiations with a tenant in good faith, without evidence of the tenant’s loss arising from COVID-19?” Mr Wallace said.
The Palaszczuk Government’s proposals also include a compulsory offer of a six month extension of the existing rental agreement if a lease expires during the moratorium on evictions.
“The National Cabinet agreed a six month moratorium on evictions because that is the length of time that we all believe this measure will be necessary. But the Queensland Government’s compulsory lease extensions effectively double the length of the moratorium and leave landlords facing significant financial hardship long after this crisis has passed.” Mr Wallace added.
Mr Wallace also raised concerns about the safety implications of these proposals.
“Under this dangerous plan, landlords would be unable to insist on inspections of their rental properties to check for electrical faults or broken smoke detectors, despite their legal obligation to make these checks. Those inspections exist for a critical reason, to reduce fires, injuries and even deaths of tenants and, with the proper social distancing measures in place, they must be allowed to happen.” he said.
Mr Wallace encouraged Sunshine Coast locals to find out more on his website at www.andrewwallacemp.com.au/rentalprotections and to contact the Premier before the Queensland Parliament sits on 22 April 2020.
“The Queensland Government has given us very little time to try and make a difference to these disastrous proposals. At this difficult time for everyone I call on Annastacia Palaszczuk to shelve these plans and give Queenslanders fair and equitable protections for all. I urge Sunshine Coast residents to learn more about what the Queensland Government is proposing and join me in trying to make a difference by contacting the Premier before 22 April.”
Concerned residents can email the Premier of Queensland on firstname.lastname@example.org.