URGENT: Will the Palaszczuk Government’s Special COVID-19 Protections for Residential Tenants protect you?

Contributed By: Real Estate Institute of Queensland on

As the owner of an investment property in Queensland, if you are not already aware of the Palaszczuk Government’s proposed Special COVID-19 Protections for residential tenants and landlords, The Real Estate Institute of Queensland (REIQ) wants to ensure you understand them. As the peak body for real estate in Queensland, we support the need for tenant protection during COVID-19 however, we are fundamentally opposed to some of the proposed measures. You should be too. As a landlord, you will ultimately foot the bill if the following proposals are introduced:

  • Your tenant/s will NOT have to pay back any rent. Put simply, a rent reduction negotiated with your tenant/sis a permanent rent waiver meaning you, as the landlord, will be out of pocket, with no means of recovering any unpaid rent in the future post COVID-19.
  • You CANNOT ask your tenant/s for any proof of financial hardship. Your tenant/s can request reduced rent due to COVID-19 without any proof. This potentially exposes you to false claims and exploitation of the proposed protections for those who genuinely need it.
  • Your Landlord Insurance will NOT cover you for rent in arrears. The normal terms of your policy won’t cover the rent reduction as this is a mutual agreement between you, as the landlord, and your tenant and you cannot follow the necessary rent default process as this is prohibited. (*Please contact your relevant insurer for individual policy conditions)
  • Your tenancy agreement WILL immediately extend by 6 months if it expires during the 6 month freeze on evictions. Tenants will be automatically entitled to a 6-month extension of the tenancy agreement meaning any protections may last up to 12-months.
  • Your tenant/s can REFUSE ENTRY for anything other than emergency repairs. Not only can your tenant refuse access, they don’t have participate in virtual property inspections either. There’s also no clarity as to whether prospective purchasers can inspect a property that is for sale.
  • Your tenant/s can BREAK A LEASE with only 7 days’ notice. To make matters worse, you cannot recover any lost rent or costs associated with finding a new tenant as would normally apply.

Now you understand how the Palaszczuk Government’s proposed Special COV/0-19 Protections favour tenants at the expense of landlords, The REIQ needs your urgent help before Parliament sits to pass these protections on Wednesday, 22 April 2020. For our voices to be heard, complete your details in the landlord template letter to Premier Palaszczuk provided by clicking here. It’s that simple. Together we can make a difference and achieve a more balanced outcome for landlords.

Antonia Mercorella
REIQ Chief Executive Officer

Template Letter:

  • STEP ONE: Copy paste the below template letter into an email.
  • STEP TWO: Insert your name at the end of the letter in your email.
  • STEP THREE: Copy and paste the following subject header into your email: Urgent Review of Special COVID-19 Residential Property Protections
  • STEP FOUR: Copy and paste Premier Palaszczuk’s email address into the recipient area in your email: thepremier@premiers.qld.gov.au
  • STEP FIVE: Press send.

The Hon. Annastacia Palaszczuk MP Premier of Queensland,
Department of the Premier and Cabinet,
1 William Street,
Brisbane QLD 4002

RE: Urgent Review of Special COVID-19 Protections for Residential Tenants and Owners

Dear Premier,

As one of Queensland’s investment property owners, I am writing to express my serious concerns in respect of your Government’s proposed Special COVI D-19 Protections for Residential Tenants and Owners (“Renter Protection Package”). I implore you to reconsider aspects of the Renter Protection Package and to create a more balanced and fairer framework that provides better protection measures for both renters and property owners like myself.

While I support the protection of tenants who are in financial distress due to this pandemic, the scope of the Renter Protection Package is too broad in its application. I am calling on your Government to amend the following aspects of the Renter Protection Package:

  • Introduce rent deferrals rather than permanent rent waiver rights for tenants. This aligns with the Federal Government model and framework adopted/being adopted in other jurisdictions;
  • Introduce a minimum income reduction threshold for tenants to meet before they qualify for the protection measures. In New South Wales, a 25% income reduction requirement applies;
  • Introduce a standard requirement for tenants to substantiate a rent reduction request to allow landlords to make properly informed and fair decisions about rent reductions;
  • Introduce clear guidelines on property entry requirements, and broaden the range of activities allowed to continue, subject to applicable safety and hygiene protocols;
  • Remove the proposed break lease right that allows tenants to simply walk away from tenancy agreements with only 1 weeks’ notice notwithstanding that those tenants are afforded all the other protections provided under the Renter Protection Package; and,
  • Remove the proposed automatic right to a 6-month tenancy agreement extension which in effect introduces a 12-month moratorium in Queensland with the consequential imposition of permanent rent waivers that would be extended over this additional period.

As a property owner, I am also entitled to be supported by special regulatory protections during the COVID-19 pandemic. Your Government’s proposed protections ignore my rights, take away my ability to derive critical income and take away control over an asset I’ve worked so hard to acquire. I strongly urge your Government to reconsider these damaging amendments, in favour of protections that offer a better balance of security and stability to property owners and tenants alike.

Yours sincerely,
<Your Name>

19 Comments

  1. Author

    The proposed COVID-19 tenant protections are an unmitigated disaster for QLD. Our holiday complexes are already at crisis point, now the ALP threaten to do the same for permanent complexes.

  2. You’re an absolute disgrace to humanity. Where is YOUR SENSE OF CARE to those lease fortunate. SHAME ON YOU LANDLORDS, ALL OF YOU. IT’S ALL ABOUT MONEY MONEY MONEY TO YOU.
    We the tenants, have rights too, we work hard to pay our rent our bills, feed our families, for you it comes, on a silver plate. Disgraceful, shameless people. We are in a crisis, the whole world is drowning, not just you stupid people, with no brains, nor heart. Millions are out of work and on top of that, you are concerned about your pockets. Love to see you rent those homes when the tenants are gone, and at the prices you are asking. WAKE UP all you Landlords, for years, and years you have pressed your foot into tenants throats, making sure your rent is never one day late, blood suckers to the end. It’s about time the simply hard working man, has some rights too. Your a disgrace for humanity, some of us can’t even put enough food on the table for our children, nor pay bills because we are out of work. Your in this COVID-19 crisis too.

    1. Author

      No where is anyone saying tenant protections aren’t warranted. The concern is that the current proposal eliminates any burden of proof that covid-19 hardship even exists. Of even greater concern is the proposal that land-lords incur the full cost of any such hardship (proven or otherwise) in spite of a legally binding lease agreement (or future lease agreement). The federal government has called for a moratorium on evictions, but this proposal is effectively a moratorium on paying rent for any reason. Section 51 of our constitution states that fair compensation must be paid to any property holder who has had their property acquired by the state which is effectively what this amounts to. This proposal isn’t just ill-conceived, I believe it’s illegal. That’s not to say tenant protections shouldn’t exist, but these cannot be unconstitutional.

  3. Thanks for passing this out Nick
    Landlords have been thrown to gutter with these conditions hopefully the government can rethink some of these conditions to help landlords who will be left to foot the bill.
    Tenants need to understand they wont have any properties to rent if the government keeps sticking it to landlords if you think rents a high now you wait until investors sell there investments leaving no rentals for tenants to rent ?

  4. Disgraceful. These restrictions may not fit in with your plans but the whole world has to compromise at the moment, investment property owners, banks and tenants included. This is about saving lives! Life or death situation.

    1. Author

      See previous comment, actually read the article and statement from REIQ. No one is arguing tenant protections and compromise aren’t needed. The currently proposed laws, however, effectively serve as an unconstitutional ban on paying rent, period, for up to an entire year with no evidence of hardship required.

  5. DO YOU THINK FOR ONE MOMENT THAT LANDLORDS HAVE FINANCIAL COMMITMENTS AS WELL AND HAVE BOUGHT THESE INVESTMENT PROPERTIES FOR THEIR RETIREMENT AND STILL HAVE TO PAY THEM. LUCKILY OR YOU WOULD NOT HAVE A ROOF OVER YOUR HEAD. LANDLORDS ARE ALSO OUT OF WORK SOME ARE EMPLOYED OR OWN BUSINESSES WHICH HAVE CLOSED DOWN. THE BANKS WILL TAKE THESE HOMES AND YOU WILL HAVE TO FIND SOMEWHERE ELSE TO LIVE IF THEY DON’T PAY THEIR MORTGAGES.

  6. I am a long term tenant and pay a rental of $850 pw. I could easily apply for this hardship assistance package with no questions asked but prefer to be honest and maintain my peaceful life in the home I love but can not afford to own. I have a good relationship with the owner and so therefore instead of doing this, I have written to the owner to assure him that we will not be doing so in order to tcontinue our happy lease arrangement. My point is that not all tenants are looking for ways to rip off the owners but sadly the state government’s proposal leaves the door wide open for unscrupulous tenants to do so. Hence I am in agreeance with not allowing this to go ahead and the proposal should definitely be immediately amended for the protection of tenants and landlords alike.

  7. Thank you for sending this information out to the community. While I am not a landlord or a tenant I have worked in Social Housing as a manager of 380 tenancies, letting and maintaining properties. I have seen both sides and the government view.
    The petition letter is well balanced and fair to both parties. The unfairness comes from the proposed government legislation, because the government is off loading future social housing issues upon landlords.
    Tenants do have a responsibility for their own lives and outcomes. Landlords do have a responsibility to their tenants. Governments have a responsibility to the community. This is a moral issue that has become all about the money for everyone. Having said that, I favour the petition. It is a request for fairness to others in the community who also have bills to pay, families to attend to and taxes to pay.

  8. I don’t understand the need for such vitriol between tenants and landlords. This should be fair to all, not about ‘us versus them’.
    Tenants need to be reasonable and understand that landlords have debts too. In fact, since the building boom in Brisbane, most pre-2015 apartments have not been able to increase their rents and their investments have done nothing but cost them money for the last 5 years. They still have to pay rates, water service charges, body corporate levies, insurance, management fees and the list goes on including refurbishment or replacement of appliances that break down. Many of my landlords have been running at a loss for years. They are caught in the middle of this.
    I don’t think it is unfair to ask a tenant who is requesting a rent reduction or who just stops paying rent – because according to this that is what they can do without providing any reason at all – for proof of a change of financial circumstances, just as we needed proof of income at the tenancy application stage. It would be easy enough to build in a proof of say 30% loss of income into the legislation, and other criteria, such as a proposed repayment scheme once the tenant gets work, or take it from the bond at the end of the tenancy. Yes, there is a moratorium on SOME mortgage repayments if the landlord requests it, but the interest owed on the principle will still accrue. 99% of landlords in my letting pool are ‘mum and dad investors’ and not wealthy land/property owners, some of them rely on the rental income to put food on their own tables.

  9. MARISSA BARRIS
    “..for you it comes, on a silver plate. Disgraceful, shameless people…. ”
    I’m a 65 year old arts manager, who has worked since I was 15. I own a one bedroom unit I rent out for $295pw. This year, the amount I earned from the property after tax was $3130. The rest went on government charges, utilities, bank loans, insurance, repairs, body corporate etc. I don’t understand why you’re so upset about me making $60.20 per week from an investment that cost me $315,000 and is now worth around $270,000.
    Your anger is palpable. I suggest you think before writing such vitriolic and unsubstantiated drivel. Your comments are unfounded and based on class jealousy. Your “us and them” mentality went out of fashion years ago. Maybe you should catch up with the times and realise that just because you own property you’re a greedy, uncaring silver tail with money to burn. That’s not reality!

  10. Congratulation Marissa Baras – you sound like an uneducated, self-entitled fool.
    As a landlord and coincidently currently a tenant, I can assure you my ‘silver-plates’ are from Kmart, just like yours.
    Not all ‘Landlords’ are rich and ‘Bloodsucking’, although vampires were a thing for a while, so ummm thank-you for the backhanded compliment.
    Did you ever think the roof over your children’s head is provided by a mum & dad couple who took a gamble to sign a loan with a bank with the hopes of joining the Australian Dream of somehow owning their own home or using investing in property to somehow create a small amount of wealth for themselves later in life? And with that leap of faith comes mortgage repayments, rates, insurance (property and landlord), land tax, water bills, management fees, BC levies, replacing stuff you as tenants break or require replaced or fixed. The list goes on…
    Have you ever considered that without your rent, how do some landlords pay their mortgage or keep your rental to the standard you so expect? It’s tenants like you which causes landlords like me to list their property for sale = no houses like yours for rent. Bye Bye affordable future rent.
    Or maybe have you considered that landlords can be hard working men/women too and may have lost their jobs, they too have children’s mouths to feed and that they too have bills to pay, such as the mortgage for the house we provide for you?
    Or are you just to self-pitying to consider the other side. You’re a disgrace on other tenants who have decency to be honest and pay their rent or negotiate with their landlords due to valid reasons.
    Consider yourself clapped back – you can crawl back to your hole now that is probably owned and paid for by someone else as well.

    Shame on YOU – I bet you hoard toilet paper too…

  11. I am a tenant. I do believe that there needs to be a fair balance when taking into account the difficult circumstances caused by loss of income. Therefore as our PM said, we must communicate positively with each other. YES, I believe the landlord is entitled to know your financial situation, as was required when the lease was signed to help them make a fair compromise or deferral on the rent. Many landlords have their own businesses that are now closed and probably won’t survive once this Covid 19 is under control , but can’t apply for job keeper allowances.
    The nasty comments are unnecessary and tenants that are in genuine hardship needing help should be willing to show their landlord their dire situation. This will eliminate the dishonest tenants taking advantage of a sad situation.

  12. To all the tenants considering walking away, i haven’t heard anything of not being blacklisted (TICA) if you refuse to pay rent. Good luck re renting when they will be few and far between because landlords have lost the home your in and most likely their own.

    1. Author

      Unfortunately, in order to be (correctly) listed on TICA or NTD you must have a judgement against you first and given these proposed laws, it would not be possible to file such a judgement. That said, I dare say your rental reference wouldn’t exactly be glowing.

  13. I think it is grossly unfair that the Queensland Government’s proposed protection for Tenants during the Covid-19 pandemic. I can see that many landlords will be forced to sell their rental property as soon as this agreement is over, as they don’t have a choice to be able to do so before hand.
    This proposal needs to be opposed.

  14. I negotiated with my real estate and landlord to pay what i can during this and pay it back when it’s over. Great. Been here 8 years. Have written confirmation of the landlord stating they have not been effected by covid-19.

    I make a payment. 80% of my first jobseeker payment.
    Not even 1 week later they have given me a notice to vacate due to selling the property.

    I am a good person and wish to do the right thing, but you cannot take blood from a stone and this is now a dog eat dog world. And this soon to be homeless dog might put up a fight before getting kicked out onto the streets during a worldwide pandemic.

    Greedy fucks. How dare you go against government orders.. put my health at risk.?? And the publics? No concern for my weak immune system with winter approaching. Great time to sell your house..

  15. It’s the case that without the rent I won’t pay any bc, or rates. Will I as owner be given protection from council and bc forcing property sales to gain the missed payments? Will they take reduced rates for 12 months with no need to catch up arrears? After all like many others i no longer have an income! let councils deal with non paying non evictable tenants to secure viable saleable property.

  16. Marissa Baras my husband and I put our money into an old house instead of superannuation for our retirement. We are both in our 70s and still work. My husband has had only a few hours in the last two months, has hardly earnt any money and has been a hard worker since his teens. I also work on maintaining the house and doing paperwork for his truck and the rental house and don’t earn a wage. We have an overseas student who comes from a family overseas paying a very small amount of rent. As soon as the Prime Minister mentioned these restrictions the young man asked for a reduction in rent. If we cannot pay our mortgage and the costs for running the house we stand to lose the rental house and also our own home. Then because of its location, the investors from Asia who have been trying to buy our property will be able to buy both it and our home at rock bottom prices. They will then knock them down and put up expensive homes for their friends to buy. I have always had an excellent relationship with tenants and we remain good friends after they leave. What does concern me is that many of us will have to sell our properties to overseas investors who will not give a damn whether these are any places for hard working Australians like you to rent anyway. There has to be some requirement for those who want reduced or no rent to prove they really need it. There are wealthy people in the world who are paying their children’s rent but only too willing to take advantage of laws which are made to protect people in genuine predicaments such as yours.

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