Ten­ants, land­lords urged to know rights

Whitsunday Times - - NEWS -

OVER­WHELMED ten­ants with tears in their eyes have been a com­mon sight at the Can­non­vale Neigh­bour­hood Cen­tre in the wake of Cy­clone Debbie.

Ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer at the cen­tre Re­becca Woods said she had heard sto­ries of ten­ants strug­gling to make good in rental prop­er­ties af­ter a me­tre of water had run through the house.

“And there is mud and silt. The flood­ing has sub­sided and they have had to go in and clean the prop­erty them­selves,” she said.

Ms Woods said in some in­stances it took more than a month to get in con­tact with ten­ants fol­low­ing the cy­clone and, in one case, a tenant was given 24 hours to va­cate the prop­erty seven weeks af­ter, due to “cy­clone dam­age and un­live­ablity”.

“That is ac­tu­ally il­le­gal but it is hap­pen­ing and it’s not just one in­stance,” Ms Woods said.

Fol­low­ing pop­u­lar threads on lo­cal so­cial me­dia pages, Ms Woods iden­ti­fied two main is­sues fac­ing ten­ants af­ter Cy­clone Debbie.

The first re­lates to tem­po­rary in­creased de­mand for rental prop­er­ties and the en­su­ing in­crease of weekly rent and the sec­ond re­lates to the live­abil­ity of dam­aged prop­erty.

Ms Woods said she didn’t lay blame squarely at the feet of real es­tate agents and prop­erty own­ers.

“They may be mis­in­formed them­selves,” she said.

“Ten­ants are mis­in­formed and we would ex­pect there would be just as many own­ers de­mand­ing agents ... who ul­ti­mately work for the owner - sug­gest­ing that we need to find a ways to va­cate (ten­ants)”.

“Debbie has high­lighted where there is a cer­tain lack of knowl­edge and skill to deal with nat­u­ral dis­as­ters on ev­ery level.”

How­ever Ms Woods also said she had seen in­stances where real es­tate agents were not act­ing in the best in­ter­est of ten­ants.

Next week the Can­non­vale Neigh­bour­hood Cen­tre will hold a free tenant, prop­erty owner and real es­tate agent in­for­ma­tion ses­sion hosted by QS­tars.

Ses­sion one will be held on Mon­day, June 26, from 6–8pm, with a sec­ond ses­sion run­ning on Tues­day, June 27, from 9.30–11.30am.

COM­MU­NITY AD­VO­CATE: Ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer at the Whit­sun­day Neigh­bour­hood Cen­tre Re­becca Woods.

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