A tenant service helped this Queensland renter navigate the QCAT process to resolve her dispute. The government authority doesn’t do that. Where will tenants like this go after December when funding runs out? Help save tenant services
This weekend Save Tenant Services campaigners will be out and about at local markets to help spread the word about the issues facing tenants in Qld concerned with the loss of services.
We will be asking market goers to sign letters to the Qld Premier, Campbell Newman, to pass on a small amount of tenants’ bond interest to fund a tenant advice service for Qld tenants and the Federal Attorney-General, George Brandis to keep tenants advice services alive until the Qld Govt returns the funding.
For the next two weekends we’ll be at Rocklea Sunday Markets – head over to say g’day. After that we’ll be at Mt Gravatt, Manly and West End (Davies Park) Markets.
We’re still inviting supporters to help us with the markets, visit your local MP, distribute information to friends and neighbours etc. If you’d like to help with the campaign, please let us know on the volunteer form.
The Newman Government delivers another blow to tenants.
The RTA (Residential Tenancies Authority) has a board that has normally consisted of members who can provide perspective from a variety of stakeholder groups.
For the last 20 years there has been a board member representing tenants on the RTA board, as there should be, the RTA is funded from the proceeds from tenant’s bond money.
In another attack aimed at Qld tenants the Newman Government appointed the RTA board this week with NO tenants’ representative. The new board consists of members with backgrounds in real estate agencies, property owner groups, public housing, finance and building but NOT from groups representing tenants. One third of Queenslanders are tenants – tenants’ money provides the capital to run the RTA – it is hard to believe that tenants’ interests are not represented.
This move further highlights the need for an independent tenant’s advice service in Qld.
The Federal Government acknowledged the importance of the tenant advice and advocacy services that have existed in Qld for over 20 years and provided emergency money after the Qld Government diverted away the small percentage of tenants’ own bond interest that had provided the funding for these services.
With no long term solution available from the Newman Government as yet we must ask that the Federal Government extends its funding until the Qld Government is prepared to give its commitment to independent tenant advice and advocacy services.
The report – “Renovating Housing Policy” released by the Grattan Institute last week clearly describes the imbalance already present in the Australian Housing system. Landlords and owners of homes enjoy enormous benefits through Government policies compared to people who rent their homes. As more people are renting their home, and renting for a longer part of their lives this imbalance of fairness will cause more strain to the system and anguish for more people – especially tenants.
With the odds stacked so much against them tenants need access to independent tenants’ advice and advocacy services.
When these services were funded by the tenants’ own bonds and not from State taxes it makes the case for continuing the funding seem beyond obvious.
After having problems getting maintenance done on her rented home then being unfairly treated by the agent, Marie* sought help from her local independent Tenants’ Advice and Advocacy Service. The Service helped her through the process of a QCAT hearing to achieve a fair outcome. This is her story.
*not her real name
Nearly every product on the market has to meet a set of standards, from food to cars to computers.
A Victorian Greens MP, Greg Barber, believes basic standards should also apply to people’s homes in the private rental sector. He has proposed legislation for Victoria to establish these standards.
The standards would cover things like structural integrity. The standards might include an electrical safety switch, windows with glass in them, locks, running water, a stove and a sink, protection from damp and its effects. What do you think? At a time when private rental properties don’t have to meet basic standards, is it appropriate for the Government to strip funding from tenant advice services? Who will help tenants exercise their rights to get basic maintenance and repairs done?
Across Australia, more people are renting in the private rental sector than previously, in fact there are twice as many renters today than there were in 1981. And they are renting long term, no longer is private rental a transitional tenure to home ownership. But renters in Australia have fewer tenancy rights than renters in Europe.
So why is the Qld Government withdrawing funding to tenant advice services? Especially since the tenancy advice services are self-funded, ie they don’t rely on taxpayers because they are funded by a small portion of tenants’ bond money. With more tenants, and therefore increased levels of bond interest, the government is in a better position than ever before to allow funding to go to support tenant advice services.
Contact your MP, write to the Premier demand our services back!
Here’s a video review of just a few of the activities so far. Remember a focused DAY of ACTION is on Tuesday August 28! Show your support by taking action!
At the UnCut Rally in Brisbane on August 28th in Brisbane the TUQ Coordinator Penny Carr explained the issues concerning the cuts to funding and calls for action to reinstate.
UnCut Rally Brisbane – TUQ Coordinator explains the Qld Government's withdrawal of funding of the Tenant Advice and Advocacy Services, a long standing service funded from the interest on tenants' bond monies.