Double whammy for tenants as RTA withdraws forms

On November 1, the very same day the tenant advice services will officialy shut their doors due to the funding cut, the Residential Tenancies Authority (RTA) is withdrawing access to tenancy forms from Post Offices across Queensland.

Tenancy forms are used for a number of reasons including – to inform the other party of a breach of the agreement, to dispute the other party’s alleged breach or to claim a bond back – and are currently available from all Post Offices.   

This decision by the RTA will have little impact on many landlords or real estate agents who can access forms through the RTA’s website, download and print them.  Similarly, some tenants will continue unaffected to use web based access.

However, it is the poor and marginalised tenants who do not have access to technology, or simply a printer, who will suffer from this decision.  Tenants are coping a double whammy because they will no longer be able to pick up forms from their local Tenant Advice and Advocacy Service due to de-funding and they will no longer be able to pick them up through the Post Office either.

The RTA has said they will provide a 48 hour turnaround if tenants call and ask for forms to be sent but it’s hard to see how that might help if, for example, your dispute is about an entry which requires only 24 hours notice.  Residents in rooming accommodation have shorter timeframes for entries, rent arrears notices and the change will impact harder on those in these marginal tenures.

And if you’re a tenant or resident trying to claim your bond, you’ll be disadvantaged by the wait for forms in trying to claim your bond.

The RTA’s cost saving seems extraordinarily unreasonable given their funding comes from the interst generated from tenants’ bonds and it could be argued that tenant/residents’ interests should be paramount.

Perhaps the $1-2M being saved by the RTA in withdrawing forms from Post Offices could be redirected to funding the tenant advice services.

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