Landry Calls for Residential Landlords To Be Protected During Coronavirus Pandemic

Federal Member for Capricornia Michelle Landry has called on the Queensland Government to urgently reconsider their proposed Renter Protection Package and introduce amendments to protect mum and dad property owners from exploitation.

The calls come after details of the Renter Protection Package were released, where proposed measures include:

• Tenants will not have to pay back any rent. A rent reduction negotiated with tenants is a permanent rent waiver.
• Landlords can’t ask tenants for any proof of financial hardship. Tenants can request reduced rent due to COVID-19 without any proof.
• Landlord Insurance will not cover rent in arrears. The normal terms of landlords’ policy won’t cover the rent reduction as this is a mutual agreement between the landlord, and the tenant.
• Tenancy agreements will immediately extend by 6 months if it expires during the 6 month freeze on evictions. Tenants will be automatically entitled to a 6-month extension of the tenancy agreement meaning any protections may last up to 12-months.
• Tenants can refuse entry for anything other than emergency repairs. They don’t have to participate in virtual property inspections.
• Tenants can break a lease with only 7 days’ notice.

Ms Landry said she shares the concerns local landlords have about the measures being proposed.
“Myself, along with every residential landlord that has contact my office, feel this package unfairly disadvantage sections of the property industry.
“While I agree special considerations should be made for tenants who have been economically and medically disadvantaged due to coronavirus, there needs to be a middle ground where all parties benefit.
“As the package stands at the moment, it leaves opportunities for blatant and systematic exploitation.
“I have written to Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszcuk, the Member for Keppel and the Member for Rockhampton to seek assurances that responsible and measured amendments will be made to the package.

Ms Landry said the State LNP have proposed amendments to the package which will deliver certainty to residential landlords.

“I join the State LNP in their calls for the following amendments”:

• Rent deferrals rather than permanent rent waiver rights for tenants, with no interest accrued for any rent deferred.
• Establish a minimum income reduction threshold for tenants before they qualify for protection measures (as adopted in NSW).
• Any rent reduction request should be substantiated by evidence, as the government requires for applications to their rental assistance grant program.
• Broaden the range of activities allowed to continue for property entry.
• Remove the one week’s notice to break lease right for tenants.
• Remove the proposed automatic right to a 6-month tenancy extension.

Ms Landry said Queensland is the only state that has many of these provisions, which tip the balance of the package firmly to one side.

“The general principle should be that for those tenants whose circumstances have not changed for the worst, their obligation to pay the agreed rent remains.

“I sincerely hope the local state members and the Premier will do the right thing by residential landlords.”

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