Important info for renters of flooded properties in Queensland

LEM Image 036Over the last few days I have donned my wellies, put on my thick gloves and worn my mask to help flood affected victims in their homes and offices. As soon as the waters that had me isolated subsided, I was there to help with the rest of the volunteers who I will always affectionately refer to as the MMA or the Magic Mud Army. I was a lucky one, I was unaffected.

I am also a rental tenant, and I wondered to myself as I helped remove carpet, fill bags with rubbish, sweep up crumbling gyprock from walls and a myriad of other unsavoury yet necessary tasks where I would have stood if I had been in this position.

Obviously, as a rental tenant it is more about our contents rather than the dwelling itself and we are therefore limited to what we actually can do with the property other than let the property owner or manager know. If you can no longer live in your rental, you need to re-accommodate yourself elsewhere, however, did you know, that regardless of whether or not your rental property has been affected by a natural disaster and in turn becomes inhabitable, you are still bound by a contract and so expected to pay rent until the end of that lease?

To know your rights fully and for information on how to deal with this situation, I suggest you check out this link for an article by Ellen Lutton of titled “Flooded tenants obliged to pay rent.” As I write this I believe that another friend’s daughter has managed to receive some form of compensation from Centrelink for rental tenants beyond that for loss of income.

Contact Details for both the RTA and Centrelink are below.

Rental Tenancies Authority Qld or Ph: 1300 366 311
Department of Human Services or Ph: 180 22 66

As the friend who alerted me to this article put it, “it’s timely advice for people to know early. Nobody needs any more heartache as they try to start again.

In my opinion, I do hope common-sense and compassion prevail on both sides.

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