The Queensland state government has announced that it will stick with the original deadline of the eviction moratorium for residential tenants. Under the announcement, the moratorium, which is applied to residential tenants suffering an income loss of at least 25% amid the COVID-19 pandemic, will be lifted by the end of the month.
Housing Minister Mick de Brenni said Queensland’s economy is faring better than other states, making it ideal to lift the moratorium.
“The freeze on evictions was important in the residential sector when movement in Queensland was much more restricted. Because of our strong health response, we’ve been able to keep the economy more open and we’ve already started delivering Queensland’s plan for economic recovery,” he said.
Despite the lift on the moratorium, other protective measures for renters will continue until the end of the year. These measures include:
- Protections for tenants from being listed in a tenancy database for unpaid rent caused by COVID-19 impacts
- Tenants experiencing domestic violence being able to end their interest in a tenancy agreement quickly
- Limited reletting costs for eligible tenants who end their fixed lease early
- Entry restrictions and requirements that support social distancing requirements
- Relaxed repair and maintenance obligations that recognise impacts on lessors while maintained tenant safety in the rental property.
Despite concerns expressed by the CEO of Tenants Queensland, Ms Penny Carr, fearing that many tenants will be worried about eviction; the move has been widely commended by the real estate industry and the Real Estate Institute of Queensland.
Chief executive of the REIQ, Antonia Mercorella said the moratorium had given renters stability, but had also caused pain to some owners.
“A six-month moratorium has been reasonable in the circumstances. I think extending it further would frankly be quite unfair and difficult for many private owners,” she said.
“The majority of properties that exist as rental properties in Queensland are owned by everyday Queenslanders, by mum-and-dad investors.”
Ms Mercorella said there would still be protections for tenants for the rest of the calendar year.
She said protections included a database that was designed to protect tenants from being listed on a tenancy blacklist if they were to fall into rental arrears due to the pandemic.