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
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
A client had an appointment at our outreach service and presented to the appointment with her Notice of an Unresolved Dispute from the RTA. She had until 5pm that afternoon to get her claim number in (which you get after you lodge an application in QCAT), otherwise her $1200 bond would be paid out to the other party, the agent.
The client was an elderly lady with numerous health problems and was distressed as she had lodged her QCAT application, Request for Attendance for Hearing by Remote Conference and Application for Waiver of Fees at the local court house, four days earlier and not heard a thing.
The property was in another area but this client was advised by the local courthouse that she could lodge the paperwork at this court house and they would forward it on. She did not get a receipt as she had requested a waiver of fees. Continue reading
What you can do to help Save Tenant Services (click here) and why you should try! This story sent from a TAAS worker.
A disabled woman on crutches just came into our office. She’s turned up a few times before, and no matter that we always remin…d her, the idea of making an appointment doesn’t seem to stick. Since she’s travelled over half an hour on public transport and then walked (on her crutches) from the train station to our service, we don’t turn her away. Continue reading
We just heard from one of the tenant advice services – they took a call from the tenancy tribunal (QCAT) yesterday which asked if they could patch a call through from a tenant who needed advice. Whilst QCAT usually just refer on, because the tenant was so worried about their situation and QCAT couldn’t advise them, they called the tenant advisory service.
The tenant had just become a single parent and needed help to keep the roof over their heads and reduce the risk the household may owe a debt in the future. The tenant needed to know what their responsibilities are and how best they can meet them. For the sake of anonymity, we’ll leave the story at that.
Neither QCAT nor the Residential Tenancies Authority could help. If tenant advice services close on June 30, QCAT won’t have anywhere to patch calls like that through to.
Another reason why tenants need specialist services!
25 March 2013
♦♦♦♦ ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦ Road
♦♦♦♦♦ALE Q 4♦♦♦
RE: TAAS SERVICE PROSERPINE
We write in recognition of the awesome service that we received from Proserpine TAAS and particularly staff Rebecca and Julie during a tenancy matter which stretched on for approximately 7 months through the Proserpine Magistrates Court.
We found ourselves renting a house at ♦♦♦♦ ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦ ♦♦♦♦♦ale, with an underground cellar which the owner neglected to mention floods with approximately 14000 litres of whenever it rains. By the time we realized what was going on the water had been sitting in the cellar for approx 5 weeks and as the house was completely made of wood the wood acted as a wick and the entire house soaked up this water and was damp and then moldy (sic). This mould then attacked our furniture and personal belongings leaving us with a loss of approximately $81,000 as assessed by our contents insurance provider. The house also had several roof leaks one which was particularly damaging as it leaked into the main bedroom wardrobe.
The owners were ordered to rectify the issues but failed to do so before we left. After asking the magistrate to terminate the lease, we vacated the property on 30th December 2012, the owners immediately re-rented the property.
The courts awarded us a rent reduction for the duration of the tenancy, reimbursed us for costs eg. pumping the cellar and ensured that we received our bond back at the end of the tenancy, without court intervention none of this would have occurred.
TAAS staff supported us Continue reading
This tenant was interviewed just before the Commonwealth announced emergency funding to keep the 23 local Tenant Advice and Advocacy Service (TAAS) services, including the Tenants Union of Queensland going until June.
Where will she go after that if they are not re-funded? The Qld gov’t must reinstatement funding. It’s only fair that some bond interest is used for tenant services. Follow this link to find out how you can help.
A real casework story forwarded to us from a Brisbane based service this week. We wonder who will help these sort of renters after June if the TAAS program is not refunded? Please Premier Newman, renters need these services. Just a small portion of the interest on tenants’ bonds funds a whole network of local services.
“We had a call from a renter using TTY – the relay services for people who are hearing impaired. Through the TTY call, we realised the first thing we had to establish was whether the client was covered under the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008 or if they were a lodger. After talking for some time on the phone the caller asked if they could see an advisor face to face. The client reported they had sought help from the RTA, who were unable to assist, as well as from another service that turned them down because they could not afford an Auslan interpreter.
We really needed to see the caller’s documents in order to make sure our advice was completely accurate. Whilst the cost of interpreters is quite prohibitive, we did not want the client to be disadvantaged nor for them to get the run around, so we organised a date and time. Continue reading
Reprinted from the ABC’s the Drum Opinion, by David M Green. Read this story, along with readers’ comments, directly from the ABC website here.
Who hasn’t had to deal with a bad landlord at some point? From sparking heaters to pen-operated doors, David M Green shares his own experiences with a less-than ideal landlord.
Being a landlord is like being a parent. No qualifications are necessary. Anyone can become one, no matter what your level of complete incompetence.
And unfortunately if you’re the tenant, you’re the child in this relationship. If your landlord says you can’t dig in the backyard or hang that poster of your favourite band on the wall, those are the rules.
When we think of landlords, it conjures images of Victorian era dandy fops with stovepipe hats, grumbling about the price of coal. But the modern reality is landlords are just regular people. Regular people who own property.
What attracts someone to the wondrous world of landlordism? Continue reading
Written by Janet Birmingham and reprinted from http://www.settlepetal.org.au/content/features/160_i_am_a_renter.html#.UQC_zIjjYUc.facebook
I am a renter. I have been a renter for all of my adult life, since I first moved out of home at 18. For the most part, this has suited me fine. I’m not in love with the idea of having such a huge amount of debt that it takes me thirty years to pay it off, nor am I in love with the idea of paying back over $890,000 for a loan of just $380,000. Unfortunately, it doesn’t matter what my preference would be, because my husband and I simply cannot afford to pay a mortgage on a house. Even if we bought the cheapest house currently available in our suburb, we literally could not afford the $2,400 in repayments each month – at least, not if we still wanted to eat. We also don’t have $40,000 in the bank for a deposit, another $15,000 for stamp duty, and another couple of thousand for bank and legal fees. In fact, most banks won’t even give us a home loan, because one of us stays at home to look after our two young children, and therefore we are a one income family. So, buying is out of the question, and that means that we may well be facing a lifetime of renting. Of itself that isn’t a huge problem, but it certainly does cause a few problems.
Several weeks ago, while I was accompanying my oldest daughter’s preschool class on an excursion, I received a phone call from the property manager of the house we currently rent. The owner of the house is moving back to Canberra, and in to this house, so we have eight weeks to move out. This is the third time in four years that we’ve had to move simply because the owner’s plans have changed. Continue reading
A supporter has asked for her conversation with the Housing Minister’s office about tenant advice funding to be posted here. The emails have been cut and pasted to make them show in conversational rather than emailed order. Continue reading
While we were out and about at the Brisbane Boggo Road we found some happy tenant advice clients who are opposed to the funding cuts.