NO RIGHTS: Landlords and real estate agents all across the South Burnett and Queensland could be in for hell. Photo: Freeman Estates
NO RIGHTS: Landlords and real estate agents all across the South Burnett and Queensland could be in for hell. Photo: Freeman Estates

Local landlord speaks out: ‘I’ve got no protection’

A LOCAL property owner says the State Government’s first proposed COVID-19 tenant and property owner protection package has not only forgotten local Mum and Dad investors, but also left them in the dark and without any support or rights in these trying times.

The original proposal meant landlords and real estate agents all across the South Burnett and Queensland could be in for hell.

Some of the changes included tenants being able to – refuse rent without any consequences, not having to pay back unpaid rent, not having to provide proof of financial hardship, refusing entry for quarterly inspections, and breaking a lease with only seven days’ notice.

A local Kingaroy landlord has already been affected by the global pandemic and said things aren’t looking good for her if the State Government doesn’t change their proposal or consider landlords.

The Kingaroy woman, who preferred not to be named for privacy, lives in Kingaroy, where she works as a teacher aide, with her husband and family.

Along with the house they live in, the Kingaroy woman and her family own four investment homes.

Two in are in New South Wales, one on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, and another in the South Burnett.

“We bought our investment home in the South Burnett about ten years ago,” she said.

“We did this to try and have another form of superannuation and to prepare for our eventual retirement.”

All four investment homes were being paid off through the rent their tenants paid.

Since the global pandemic and ongoing threat of coronavirus, the Kingaroy woman has lost her South Burnett tenants.

“My tenants moved out last week,” she said.

“We weren’t expecting them to leave until after the end of June.

“This has left us in a tough position where we’re having to find another way to make our mortgage repayments.

“But with what has been proposed by the State Government I don’t think I will be re-renting.

“Even though we really need the rent money it’s not worth it when we’re not protected in anyway.

“I’d rather leave it empty than allow tenants to live rent free, never be paid back that rent, not be able to go into our property for checks, and not know whether they are looking after our home.

“Even if they completely trashed the place we couldn’t kick them out.”

The Kingaroy woman said she would like to see the State Government have tenants prove their financial loss, as well as prove they have applied for financial support.

“Having no renters isn’t what we want of course,” she said.

“We want to be renting our properties out. Not just for us but also for the real estate industry so they get their commission.

“If they (the State Government) don’t make changes for both the tenants and landlords then what will happen to the real estate industry?

“This decision will put financial stress on everyone.”

The Kingaroy woman said her family is stressed themselves and are only asking for the same support the State Government is offering tenants.

“We’re doing it hard too,” she said.

“Being a teacher aide I’m yet to see if I will keep my job.

“It’s going to depend entirely on how the first week of Term 2 plays out and how many kids are at school.”

The Kingaroy woman said she was empathetic to tenants who had lost their source of income in this pandemic, but all she’s asking for is transparency and her rights as a landlord.

“I’ve had tenants in NSW ask for rent reductions and I am waiting for the proof to come through,” she said.

“Because in NSW tenants have to prove their loss of income to receive a rent reduction. As is fair.

“I’d be willing to negotiate reducing the rent if it’s fair and if there’s proof.

“I do feel for them (tenants) too. However there's two sides to every story and it’s just all a bit scary right now.

“Especially when you have a big family to look after like I do.

“I’m just anxiously waiting to see what happens on April 22 when a decision will be made.”

The State Government has since stepped back from its plans and promised to consult with The Real Estate Institute of Queensland on a package that ensures protections for everyone.

The outcomes can be found here: https://www.reiq.com/everyonematters/

The State Government also offers a one-off payment of up to four weeks rent (maximum of $2000) available to those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic who do not have access to other financial assistance.

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