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Gympie landlord prosecuted after land-clearing works at tenants’ acreage home

A Gympie landlord has been fined $3000 for unlawfully entering his tenants’ acreage rental property and interfering with their quiet enjoyment of their rental.

Jack Green, of Forest Glen, pleaded guilty to breaching sections 183 and 202 of the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008 with respect to the rental property at Victory Heights.

Gympie Magistrates Court heard the rental property included a small, private weatherboard house that had been surrounded by thick bush land with extensive wildlife.

The tenants arrived home one day to discover a bulldozer onsite, with part of the acreage cleared of all vegetation. No entry notice was issued prior and the property had been significantly altered without the tenants’ knowledge or consent.

Despite the tenants raising their concerns with the property manager, the works continued for a number of weeks, generating significant dust and noise. The clearing works disrupted the tenants’ peace and quiet enjoyment of the property and remained a constant invasion of privacy.

The tenants have since vacated the property, with the house now removed and the land subdivided.

Mr Green said the tenants were informed about the entry to the property, but he admitted that there was no right of entry.

Magistrate Callaghan said Mr Green should have waited until the tenancy finished to develop the property.

"The works very significantly interfered with the peaceful enjoyment they were paying for,” said Magistrate Callaghan.

The court imposed a $3000 fine and ordered that half the fine go to the tenants.

Residential Tenancies Authority Chief Executive Officer Jennifer Smith said the court’s decision will help deter people who are doing the wrong thing.

“Everyone has the right to enjoy the privacy, security and comfort of their home, and this court ruling sends a strong message that breaking Queensland’s tenancy laws has consequences,” said Ms Smith.

“The RTA takes these matters seriously and can issue fines and take matters to court when warranted.”