The irony of leases forced to be broken

Community Law Australia is a campaign by a coalition of community legal centre bodies led by the National Association of Community Legal Centres.   

Today they issued a press release outlining their concerns with the lose of access to justice for tenants through the decision by the Queensland government to cut funding to the tenant advice services.

Click here to read the media release.


Getting rid of anti-social or introducing discrimination?

The Minister for Housing today discussed introducing a ‘three strikes and your out’ policy for public housing tenants.  Read the media article here.  Is this a good idea?

The  Minister’s comments, suggesting greater support for public housing tenants, are welcomed.  However, it’s hard not to be cynical about what the change might really mean in the face of cutting funds to every tenant advocate in the state, including those engaged in housing policy and law reform.  Who will be at the table to ensure the changes really are targeted at the ‘worst of the worst’ as the Minister says? And who will help tenants to defend claims they think are unreasonable? Continue reading

Unbalanced debates lead to an unbalanced market

So the REIQ are discussing new property management laws with the government (read here).
At the end of the year, the Tenants’ Union of Queensland has been told it will lose its funding to engage in housing policy and law reform work with which it represents the interests of tenants in these processes. Cutting their funds will seriously impede the Tenants’ Union ability to do so.

With both a tenancy law and now property management legislative review upcoming, the government should rethink the withdrawal of the policy funding and ensure these law reform debates are even sided. Uneven debates lead to an unbalanced industry which benefits no one – definitely not tenants, but neither will it benefit fair minded landlords or agents.

Renters lose as advice services whitewashed from state budget

500,000 Queensland renting households are the losers in today’s state budget The government failed to reinstated the virtually self funded tenant advice services recently cut, and no replacement program was announced.

At the same time, the government reintroduced stamp duty concessions for repeat home purchasers, acknowledging they will lose $1B over four years in lost revenue.  These concessions are additional to those already in place for first home purchasers.

The first home owner’s grant has been revised and increased, and will provide a $15,000 grant to those who buy off the plan or construct a house or apartment, costing the government $75M by 2013/4 and up to $95M in 2015/16.

The Queensland Treasurer said that Queensland is the best state to buy your own home in.  But it will probably be the worst place to rent in for tenants who will no longer have access to free tenancy advice, which cost a mere $5M per year and are funded mainly from interest generated on tenant’s own bond interest.

The budget papers also announced a review of tenancy laws – no details provided – and social housing entitlements.

Social housing reforms up for review are under occupancy; the introduction of fixed term tenancies for all social housing tenants; stock transfers (and possibly staff) to the community housing sector and a review of rent policy.

Queensland residential renters are clearly the losers in the state budget and it is hard not to be cynical about the motivations of removing tenant advocates across the state at the same time as reviewing these issues.