‘I lost my job too’: Why you should keep paying rent
A property owner on Brisbane's southside has shared her experience of what happens when tenants refuse to pay rent, and pleaded with the State Government to provide clarity on its new laws aimed at supporting tenants and landlords amid mass job losses.
The woman, who did not wish to be named, lives in Eight Mile Plains with her husband, both aged in their mid-30s, and childcare-aged son.
Since the coronavirus crisis, she has lost her job as a community care case manager, while her engineer partner has had his hours reduced to part-time.
However, in the past fortnight, the young family has lost another source of income, with their three tenants at their Carindale investment property stopping rent payments a fortnight ago.
At $550 per week, the family is now out of pocket $1100 and counting.
"We don't know what to do... our agency doesn't even know," the woman said.
The family has even reached out to their three tenants to offer them a 50 per cent rent reduction, only to be met with radio silence - and no money.
"If they have lost their job and can't pay, then I understand 100 per cent, because I've lost my job as well," she said.
The woman is pleading for the State Government to provide some clarity over their proposed Renter Relief Package, which the Real Estate Institute of Queensland has slammed for swinging the pendulum too far away from landlords, even uploading to its website a template letter for landlords to appeal directly to Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk.
She says that tenants need to provide evidence that they have lost income in order to be able to access rental relief, a requirement which has been implemented in New South Wales.
One person who has signed and sent the REIQs letter is 4wd accessory salesman Mick Stevens, 49, from Virginia, who owns an investment property with his wife Ann at Geebung.
Mr Stevens and his wife, a hospital manager, reached out to their tenants proactively to offer rent deferrals should they need it, but agrees that State Government proposals to waive rent and allow tenants to break leases with only one week's notice have gone too far.
"It's totally unfair, we're not charity cases," he said.
"Just because we own an investment property doesn't mean we're rich."
Mr Stevens said that luckily his tenants can still pay rent, but that if they didn't, his and his wife would have to absorb the home loan repayments of $2100 per months.
"We could defer loan repayments if we needed to, but not interest, that is still compounding," he said.
On Thursday, the State Government stepped back from its plans, with Housing Minister Mick de Brenni promising more consultation before new laws are brought in.
The State Government currently offers a one-off payment of up to four weeks rent (maximum of $2000) available to those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic who do not have access to other financial assistance.
Originally published as 'I lost my job too': Why you should keep paying rent