Residential Tenancy Agreement Qld by vtc12324


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									            Tenancy in
               Deborah Pippen
              Executive Officer
             Tenants’ Union ACT

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5 States and 2
• Population
• Aboriginal &
Torres Strait
Islander: 2.1%
• Half the area of
the continent
contains only
0.3% of the
population, and
the most densely
populated 1% of
the continent
contains 84% of
the population

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               Australian housing system
               Tenant services and groups
               National issues
               Contacts

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  Australian Housing System
       Role of Government
        The impact of government varies
        according to the level
               Federal system
                 Federal government
                 State and Territory government
                 Local government

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       National Government
           No Housing Minister or Department since 1996
           No direct housing provision.
           Housing limited to funding through:
               Department of Family and Community Services –
                 Funds to States and territories through the
                  Commonwealth-State Housing Agreement for the
                  provision of public housing (funds decreased 27.6% in 7
               Centrelink –
                 Rent assistance payments to welfare recipients in private
                  and community housing
               Supported Accommodation Assistance Program –
                 Funding to States and territories for crisis accommodation
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            State Governments
               Significant impact on housing and tenancy
               Regulation
                 Tenancy laws
                 Planning laws

                 Health and safety

               Provision of housing
                 Public housing administration, and matching
                  of Federal funds
                 Administration of funding for community and
                  crisis accommodation
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  Local Governments
    The first local government established in Adelaide
     in 1840. Today, 722 local government bodies in
     Australia accountable to a diverse range of
     metropolitan, regional, rural, and Indigenous
     communities. Of these, 579 are regional/rural.
    Functions include: infrastructure, building and
     property services eg roads, power; community
     services and facilities; planning
    Developing role in providing housing through
     community housing models

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 Tenure in Australia
                                     5%                                                          Own

                                                                                                 Private rent

                                                                                                 Community rent

                  32%                                                                            other renter/rent free

Approx 2 million households renting,                 Public Rent
 77% were renting from a private landlord
 18% were renting from a state or territory housing authority
 5% from other landlords eg caravan park owner, employer or community
  or church group.
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  Tenant Organisations
Tenants’ Unions
      Funded Tenants’ Unions in most states and
       territories (except South Australia and
       Northern Territory).
      Funding through different sources including
       federal funding as community legal centres
       and from the interest off bonds lodged with
       government authorities

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  Other tenant organisations
    Public tenant groups
       Range of groups, no national network or federation
       One state group funded through State
        governments - Queensland Public Tenant
       Range of more localised groups funded differently
        in different states. Victoria and New South Wales
        have a significant number of small groups
    No community housing tenant groups

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National Association of
      Tenancy Organisations
    Membership – representative from each state TU, a
     national convenor/spokesperson is elected each year
    Funding – no direct funding. Use resources of the
     National Community Legal Centre Network for
     communication via internet network, phone hook-ups and
    Role
           to identify national tenancy issues and advocate for change
            in relation to those issues
            to provide support and share resources between members

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  Other National Housing
    National Shelter
     Peak housing organisation for people who are on low-
     incomes, or who face disadvantage in the housing
     system. (unfunded – lost Federal funding in 1996)
    Community Housing Federation of Australia
     Represents community housing providers in Australia.
    Australian Federation of Homelessness Organisations
     Homelessness peak federating 3 founding members– the
     Council for Homeless Persons Australia (CHPA), the
     National Youth Coalition for Housing (NYCH), and the
     Women’s Services Network (WESNET).

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  Tenancy Law
    No national tenancy legislation
    No national standards or guidelines that relate to
     tenancy aside from Privacy Legislation
    State regulation:
       Residential Tenancy legislation
       Boarders and lodgers legislation (not across
       Caravan park legislation (not across jurisdictions)

       Regulation of the provision of public housing

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            Types of housing

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  Tenancy Issues
    In a publication (“Leaking Roofs”) due for release soon
     NATO details deficiencies in tenancy law, highlights
     national issues and calls for national tenancy standards
     that should be the basis of our tenancy system.
    21 specific recommendations highlight the areas that
     require improvement.
    Of particular importance are
           Coverage
           Security of Tenure
           Privacy and information/tenancy databases
           Habitation Standards
           Affordability

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   Many tenants are not covered by tenancy legislation.
    These tenants are subsequently more prone to unjust
    treatment during their tenancy, notably in terms of security
    of tenure.
    There is a need for tenants in, for example, educational,
    institutional, boarding and lodging, nursing home and
    SAAP accommodation to receive greater legislative
    In practical terms, many tenants do not currently have
    any recourse to legal dispute resolution mechanisms,
    whilst a significant number of others are subject to the
    formal court system and associated costs.

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  Security of Tenure
               ACT     NSW   Vic   Qld   Tas   SA    WA    NT

   No cause
   evictions    Yes    Yes   Yes   Yes   No    Yes   Yes   Yes

   No. of
   days         26
                       60    120   60    N/A   90    60    42
   notice      weeks

       As a result of inadequate legislative provisions and
        inadequate enforcement, no ground terminations,
        immediate notices to quit (for certain classes of
        tenants such as boarders and lodgers), retaliatory
        evictions are commonplace in most states and

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  Tenancy Databases
    Tenants can currently be listed on databases such as
     TICA. They can find out if they are listed but must pay
     inflated fees to do so. Once listed, tenants have little
     recourse, even if the information held on them is
    The consequences of listing can effectively exclude a
     person from the rental market, which can result in them
     being made homeless.
    These databases are unregulated at the State or Territory
     level. Tenants need to be able to make a complaint about
     a listing especially when the information held is

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  Habitation Standards
    Many tenants live in premises that are in a state of
     disrepair, and tenant workers around the country
     commonly deal with premises that are substandard.
    Enforcement of habitation standards is problematic, and is
     of extreme concern in states where no enforcement
     mechanisms exist. Where legislation does allow tenants
     to seek repairs, many tenants do not enforce their rights
     due to the fear of likely rent increases and subsequent
     inability to pay or no grounds termination notice.

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    A National Summit of Affordable Housing highlighted that
     during the last decade:
           average house prices relative to income have almost
           the proportion of low-rent homes has fallen by about 15%
           opportunities to rent public housing have fallen by about
           More than 1.5 million lower-income Australians (8.8% of
            population),especially renters and recent purchasers, are
            incurring housing costs above 30% of their income.
           About 100,000 people are homeless on any particular night.

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 Indigenous Housing
  Housing problems are especially
  severe amongst indigenous people.
  Major problems (1999 ABS Stats):
 • inadequate supply of houses
 • poor quality of much of the housing: three times
  more likely then non-indigenous people to report homes in need of
 • Dwellings tend to have more people than those of other Australians.
 • Lack of permanent dwellings
      •13% of all the dwellings in remote communities were temporary
      dwellings such as caravans, tin sheds or humpies, housing a
      population of over 7,000 people.
 • In discrete Indigenous communities, issues such as:
      • access to safe and reliable drinking water, adequate sewerage
      systems and drainage, electricity and rubbish collection.
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  Indigenous Housing
  • 58% of the 145,532 Indigenous households in Australia were renting their
    home, private landlord 27% or a State or Territory housing authority landlord
  • 39% owned their current home, either with or without a mortgage.
  • By comparison, 71% of non-Indigenous households owned their current
    home, and only 27% were renting, and the majority of these rented from a
    private landlord

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  Tenant Participation
    As indicated by the lack of public and community
     housing tenant groups, no cohesive national
     policy regarding tenant participation
    Ranges across States and Territories, with some
     having a long history of groups eg QLD, NSW, Vic
    The concept is gaining momentum as indicated by
     TPP conference in 2002 and programs such as
     ACT “Raising Our Voice” Project

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    Contacts for Australian Tenancy Issues
                         Tenant unions and organisations
   Tenants’ Union ACT:                      Tenants’ Union of Victoria:     
   Tenants’ Union of New South Wales:
   Tenants Union of Queensland:
   Tenants Advice Service of Western Australia:
   Tenants’ Union of Tasmania
   Queensland Public Tenants Association
   Housing for the Aged Action Group

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 Housing organisations:
  National Shelter:
 National peak housing organisation which aims to improve housing access, affordability,appropriateness
 safety and security for people who are on low-incomes, or who face disadvantage in the housing system.
 The site has links to state and territory shelters
      Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute
      Infoxchange Australia
      Australalasian Housing Institute
  Community Housing Federation of Australia
      Australasian Housing Information Network
      National Community Housing Forum Australia
      Australian Federation of Homelessness Organisations

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 Sites for information on Aboriginal Housing
  Aboriginal Housing Company
 Aboriginal Hostels Limited
  Aboriginal Coordinating Council
  Australian Institute for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies
  Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission, housing and
    infrastructure links

 For further details about any of these links, contact Deborah Pippen:

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