Queensland tenants miss out on services

Reprinted from the Gold Coast Sun. Read directly on the Gold Coast Bulletin website http://bit.ly/1vsVet0

Gold Coast renters desperate for legal advice have been left high and dry after government funding for free tenancy legal rights services was removedDenis Doherty, Gold Coast Sun, October 01, 2014

Gold Coast SunTHOUSANDS of disadvantaged Gold Coast renters have been left without access to legal advice after government funding for free tenancy legal rights services ran dry.

Despite a protracted battle with the state LNP government, grants for a range of tenants legal advice services were finally pulled at the end of last year.

Those closures included the Gold Coast Tenant Advice Service, which operated from Southport with an outlet at Palm Beach.

Until recently funding for the services came from the interest generated from bonds held by the Residential Tenancies Authority.

However, in 2012 the State Government cut that funding and committed it to building public housing.

While the federal government stepped in to cover the $6.4 million needed to fund the 24 services across Queensland, that funding ran out at the end of last year.

Tenants Queensland statewide co-ordinator Penny Carr said the cuts had left Gold Coast tenants in a dire position. According to the group’s records, it received about 7000 calls from the Gold Coast in the first six months of this year. Continue reading

Commonwealth announces new NPAH for 12 months

Reprinted from ABC news online.  Read directly from the website here.

Homelessness agreement between states and Commonwealth extended with $115m funding promise  (By political reporter Latika Bourke, 30-3-14)

A national agreement aimed at dealing with homelessness will be extended by the Federal Government for another year.

The Coalition is putting forward $115 million to extend the deal with the states, which is due to expire at the end of June.

That amount is $44 million less than what was provided by Labor, but the Government says it is not cutting funding to frontline services, only capital works.

“I reject any suggestion of cuts,” Prime Minister Tony Abbott told reporters in Sydney.

However, Labor spokeswoman Jenny Macklin says the capital works money is an important element.

“There’s less money to be spent on building houses, homes for people who don’t have them, for women and children escaping violence, for people who are living on the street,” she said.

“There’s $44 million less because of Tony Abbott cutting this funding.” Continue reading

Boarding houses come at high price for Brisbane battlers

Reprinted from the Brisbane Times.  Read the whole article here.

Battlers in Brisbane’s inner-city boarding houses are now paying more rent than those living in government-subsidised crisis housing.

Major Bryce Davies, who works in the Salvation Army’s Streetlevel service in Fortitude Valley, said Brisbane’s accommodation disparity was appalling.

“The irony is that the guys who are staying in fantastic accommodation that is government subsidised are paying about $170 a week,” Major Davies said.

“Then the guy who is living in absolute squalor in a boarding houses with a door that’s falling off, is paying around $175 a week. It’s ridiculous.”

Accomodation is $140 a week at the Salvation Army’s Pindari Men’s Hostel in Spring Hill.

Major Davies said up to 20 people were crammed into some boarding houses, with some boarding house owners failing to keep their accommodation in good condition.

“My own experience of boarding houses is that the prices are absurd,” he said.

Read the entire article at: http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/queensland/boarding-houses-come-at-high-price-for-brisbane-battlers-20140325-35gmc.html#ixzz2x26tBOar

NSW Fair Trading cracks down on real estate trust account theft; millions stolen to pay gambling, drug debts

Reprinted from ABCnews online

A Sydney real estate agent has been jailed for stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from her client’s trust accounts, as fair trading authorities crack down on what they say is a growing problem.

Louise Catherine Sultana admitted to siphoning $330,000 from the accounts of a Century 21 agency between 2010 and 2012.  Read the full article here.

Documentary special: housing evictions

Tenants'voiceListen to this ABC Radio National documentary on the WA hardline ‘three strikes and you’re out policy’ by clicking this link.  Or read the introduction below.

No-one likes bad neighbours, and West Australia’s hardline three strikes policy to evict troublesome public housing tenants is popular with residents keen to preserve the tranquillity in their streets.Queensland has now embraced its own version of the policy, and there are calls in South Australia for that state to do the same.But in WA there are growing concerns among housing advocates and welfare groups that the hardline approach is having a devastating impact on Indigenous families, forcing many children into homelessness”.  From Perth, Andrew O’Connor reports on three women living with the consequences of eviction.   Listen to the piece here.

Companies spy a way to exploit tenants – Business Spectator

Kim4We think this is a good article. Queensland lead the way introducing protections against the unreasonable practices of tenancy database companies. Now most, if not all states and territories have some form of protection, despite that some companies continually try to find new ways to work around them.

It was Queensland tenant advocates that pushed for these initial protections, not industry. What will happen when the advocates are gone? The market will become skewed and unfair. It’s going to be a rocky road ahead for Qld tenants.

Regional battlers lose another local tenant advice service

Reprinted from the Sunshine Coast Daily online Dec 9

Tenants Union of Queensland Fraser Coast office to close

TROUBLED tenants on the Fraser Coast will have nowhere to get face-to-face help with closure of the Fraser Coast office of the Tenants Union of Queensland (TUQ).

For 19 years the not-for-profit organisation provided an outreach service from the Maryborough Neighbourhood Centre every Monday, offering advice and assistance to renters. (Read the entire article directly from the website here).