Monday, October 17, 2011

Problams with Renting in Australia

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Good Afternoon Ladies and Gentlemen,

According to estimates from the Australian Bereau of Statistics, approximately 6% of

Queensland citizens are opting to forgo homeownership to rent their dwelling from a

State of Territory housing authority or private landlords, and it is rapidly increasing.

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This revealing statistic is a product of evolving social trends which dictate the living

habits of society. Evidently a new social class has emerged, however in order to

prosper in this alternate area of realty there are various legal factors that society as a

whole needs to be aware of before engaging in it. These are the legal pitfalls and

problems which can exist.

Obviously Renting is not faultless, as it requires the harmonious co-existence of two

parties with certain legal obligations one another, and in such a situation problems can

eventuate. The following case studies will highlight the common complications that

arise when renting, identify where the law is failing and provide viable solutions for

their modification.

Firstly, to ascertain what the frailties of the present QLD renting system may be,

existing laws and statutes must be evaluated. Queensland tenants/lessors are covered

principally by the Residential Tenancies Act of 14. The act is integral to the modern

renting process as it outlines the rights and responsibilities of the agents and lessors,

applicable to all tenancies. Ideally, these rules should ensure

a fair balance between the interests of the tenant and lessor/agent

an accessible, cheap and relatively quick process to resolve tenancy related


a fair, reliable system for the custody of rental bonds during a tenancy.

However under the RTA Act many the obstacles still convolute tenant and lessor

relations, as the following case study wall explore 1. Elizabeth is leasing out a

property to Miranda, for a fixed six-month tenancy agreement through the Ray White

Agency. Within the pre-determined six-month time frame Miranda neglects to pay the

rent for six weeks. The agency informs Elizabeth that Miranda has not paid for three

fortnights, that there are no credits in Elizabeth’s real estate account. Consequently

they are serving an Eviction Notice to Miranda, and if she doesn’t reply within seven

days an application will be put to the Magistrates Court for her eviction. After the

minimum waiting period of two-weeks in which Miranda still does not pay her rent the

matter goes to court. Subsequently the court decides that on the basis of Miranda’s

social and financial standing that she has a further three months residence in which she

can pay the outstanding rent, but there is no guarantee that she will actually do that.

This Case Study addresses the legal issue of Rental Arrears which plague homeowners

intending to lease property, the law affords many rights to the tenant however the harm

that one rogue tenant could inflict makes the entire process seem weak and


The problem with the Case Study above is that during the Agencies long, lethargic

waiting periods Elizabeth (the lessor) has endured excessive financial hardships.

And although everything the Ray White Agency did conforms with the RTA Acts rules

for ending a tenancy it is still drawn-out and does not reimburse the lessor fully. The

Residential Tenancies Act succeeds in upholding the fundamental rights and welfare of

the tenant, it can be at the expense of the lessor, who still have to pay rental

expenditures. Evidently if the act is complied with and still does not yield satisfactory

results it not acceptable. And this is only one of the problems which exist.

The law is our most tangible form of social protection as it is constantly accessed in the

operation of a functional society. Therefore the law must re-adjust throughout time to

maintain relevance to current issues. The area of renting is not exempt; for example he

creation of the Caravan Park and Movable Dwellings Act in 18 when it became

necessary was a prime example of a beneficial and much-needed alteration to the law.

In the circumstances of tenant and lessor negligence, even if they may be rare I would

advocate for an amendment of RTA Act to extend the scope of it’s organizations

statutory authority. Thus in cases like Elizabeth’s and Miranda’s, the RTA’S actions

would not be more punitive so much as more expedient and proficient. With increased

RTA influence I could envisage remedial negotiations streamlined and less

bogged-down which would save much stress for everybody participating in renting.

In Summation, with the increasing amount of private debt in Australia, the prevalence

of renting represents many advantages but also many disadvantages. On one hand

renting can be used as an investment tool as well as to provide cheaper, non-permanent

residence for those who need it. On the other hand, there is also the slim but very real

possibility that considerable financial losses can be accrued. Consequently renting laws

need to be clearer and more balanced in order to enlighten the public and alleviate all

types of tense legal disputes. Me

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