Renters kicked out despite ban on evictions
DESPERATE households left jobless from coronavirus shutdown are being kicked out of their homes by landlords despite the six-month moratorium on evictions.
Courts have been inundated with urgent inquiries from people trying to avoid being left homeless after Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced a retrospective moratorium on the weekend.
However, the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal has told victims it doesn't have the authority to stop evictions because the Palaszczuk Government has not yet changed the law.
State Parliament was due to sit this week before being called off so Labor ministers could concentrate on responding to the COVID-19 crisis.
There are no plans to resume sittings until April 28.
It comes as the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland has called on the Government and councils to provide rent assistance and a rates reprieve to prevent business from also being ejected from their premises while forced into hibernation.
In an email to desperate renters facing eviction, QCAT said it had received many inquiries and was aware of the moratorium announcement but could not act until tenancy laws were amended.
"No Queensland laws relating to the rights and liabilities of residential landlords and tenants have been repealed or amended at this point in time," QCAT said.
"Accordingly, QCAT continues to apply the law as it stands, and QCAT's process for tenancy matters has not changed."
Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington said people were being forced onto the street because Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk had failed to act.
"Laws to prevent tenants from being evicted could have been in place already if it wasn't for Labor's dereliction of duty in cancelling Parliament for this entire week," she said.
CCIQ's Amanda Rohan said rent and rates relief for small and medium sized businesses would help local shopping strips, corner stores and major city centres bounce back.
"It is in the best interests of landlords and tenants that there be a positive outcome now," she said.
Confirmed COVID-19 Cases in QLD
The Government is offering $500-a-week rent assistance for up to four weeks for struggling households.
Ms Palaszczuk promised Parliament would be recalled to protect renters but could not say when.
Attorney-General and Leader of the House Yvette D'Ath insisted the moratorium would still be retrospective even though tenants continue to be evicted.
"We're working with our Commonwealth and interstate colleagues to implement this measure to give tenants the certainty and security they need," she said.
Originally published as Qld renters kicked out despite ban on evictions