22 May 2020
The Residential Tenancies Authority (RTA) has taken more than 25,000 calls from Queenslanders enquiring about the COVID-19 emergency tenancy laws passed by the Queensland Government.
RTA Chief Executive Officer Jennifer Smith said since the passing of the new laws, the RTA had established a dedicated COVID-19 hotline and increased its call centre capacity and dispute resolution staff to ensure support was available when needed.
“Since setting up our COVID-19 hotline, our fantastic call centre teams have taken more than 25,000 calls from Queenslanders who are seeking information on their tenancy rights and obligations during the pandemic while negotiating new rental agreements, ending leases and entering a property safely,” Ms Smith said.
“By increasing our capacity to help Queenslanders we’ve been able to resolve 88% of conciliated disputes within five days, making sure people can get timely information and support when they most need it.”
Since the introduction of the new emergency tenancy laws, the RTA has helped Queenslanders to successfully negotiate and resolve 770 conciliated rental disputes.
“What these figures are showing is that Queenslanders are working together to ensure people can protect their health and their homes,” Ms Smith said.
“We have been pleased to see that the vast majority of people are being respectful of each other’s unique circumstances, keeping open lines of communication and coming together to make renting work for everyone.”
As an independent and impartial statutory authority, the RTA provides a free dispute resolution service to help tenants, property owners and managers negotiate temporary new rental agreements during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The RTA is here to help Queenslanders during this difficult time,” Ms Smith said.
“We know that for some it is difficult to have conversations about negotiating new rental agreements.
“If anyone is having difficulty negotiating a new rental agreement, the RTA is here to help you. As part of our free dispute resolution service, we talk to tenants, property owners or property managers, look at everyone’s circumstances and help people reach temporary agreements that are both reasonable and affordable.”
To find out more about how the RTA can help you during the COVID19 pandemic, please visit rta.qld.gov.au/covid, read the Residential Tenancies Practice Guide, or call our 24/7 COVID hotline on 134 COVID (13 42 68).
**Notes for editors
- The data referenced in this media release is correct as at 5pm on Friday 15 May 2020.
- The RTA intends to publish COVID-19 tenancy statistics weekly until further notice.
- As of 5pm on 15 May, the total number of COVID-19 conciliated disputes were 880, with 770 (88%) resolved and 110 (12%) unresolved.
- The RTA is the Queensland Government statutory authority that administers the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008 and works with all sector groups including tenants, property managers and owners, community and industry stakeholder groups and the Queensland Government.
- On 29 March 2020, National Cabinet agreed that states and territories would implement a moratorium on evictions for residential tenancies in financial distress due to the impacts of COVID-19.
- The temporary Queensland changes are effective during the COVID-19 emergency, which at this stage lasts until 31 December 2020.
- Under the new temporary laws, tenants and property owners who are unable to reach an agreement together are required to undertake RTA conciliation for disputes relating to rent arrears.