Tenants, landlords urged to know rights
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.