QUEENSLAND tenants are being forced to live in poorly maintained, pest-infested properties for fear of eviction and nearly one in 10 have being asked to leave for no reason, according to a new report.
The survey of more than 1000 renters by CHOICE, National Shelter and the National Association of Tenant Organisations found almost half of all Queenslanders who rent are in homes in need of repair and nearly two thirds fear a repair request will result in a rent rise.
The report, to be launched at Parliament House in Canberra today, reveals the the shocking conditions the state’s renters are living in as they struggle to afford to keep a roof over their heads.
According to the report titled ‘Disrupted: The consumer experience of renting in Australia’, eight per cent of Queensland renters have received at least one ‘without grounds’ notice
and been evicted at least once without given a reason or explanation.
One in five renters are living with electrical, plumbing and water issues; 31 per cent have problems with cockroaches, moths and ants; 28 per cent have had issues with locks, doors and windows and nearly a quarter say they struggle to afford a rent rise.
“This report shows that tenants are living in substandard housing for fear of eviction or
a rental increase,” Tenants Queensland chief executive Penny Carr said.
“Some renters are inheriting repair problems known to previous tenants unable to get
“There is no way for repairs to be managed between different tenancies and
responsibility rests with individual tenants to pursue the problems.”
The report comes as the Queensland government undertakes a review of the state’s outdated rental laws, with public consultation wrapping up last week.
Queensland housing and public works minister Mick de Brenni said the public consultation looked at issues such as pet ownership and how it could be made easier for landlords and tenants to agree on households keeping pets.
But Mr de Brenni said an online survey conducted as part of the process revealed an alarming percentage of people pointing to safety repairs as the most important issue to be addressed.
“Queenslanders have said overwhelmingly they want good tenants who want to stay and care for their property, and that this is good for landlords,” Mr de Brenni said.
“But we’ve seen respondents to the online survey comment that they had been given notice to leave ‘without grounds’, in many cases suggesting it is connected to repairs or maintenance issues.”
Tenants Queensland is one of a group of organisations that have banded together to form the Make Renting Fair in Queensland alliance to advocate for urgent reform to tenancy laws and to put a stop to ‘no grounds’ evictions.
“We believe tenants’ rights are not just about allowing pets and picture hooks,” Ms Carr said.
“Of most concern, we are seeing an alarming number of renters being evicted without
being given an explanation or a reason; in many instances, after they have complained
about a repair.”
Tenants Queensland is also calling for a restriction to rent increases to once per year and requiring the owner to justify any increase 20 per cent greater than CPI.