New rental laws passed among string of measures
A STRING of emergency response measures to the COVID-19 pandemic have been passed in a late night sitting of State Parliament tonight with support from both sides of politics.
The new laws will protect renters struggling to pay their rents due to the impacts of the coronavirus restrictions from being evicted by their landlords.
The moratorium on evictions for those behind in their rent payments will protect renters struggling to pay their rent and who can show their income has either been cut by 25 per cent or more due to COVID-19 or where rent payments make up 30 per cent or more of the reduced household income.
Fixed term tenancy agreements where tenants are hit by the COVID-19 shut downs must also be extended until at least the end of September if the renter wants to stay on.
Protections also apply to shopkeepers and other commercial tenants.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk told Parliament last night that while not a "panacea for everything," the new laws were "timely and flexible measures."
She said the laws came after the National Cabinet agreed to a set of fair leasing principles.
"These are extraordinary times and the bill contains the tools to take extraordinary but necessary measures if required," Ms Palaszczuk said last night.
"The COVID-19 emergency is evolving. There is nothing stopping us from coming back to Parliament at some later date and changing the sunset requirements as the situation demands.
The emergency laws included changes to enable wills and other legal documents to be signed under the social distancing rules, easing of statutory timeframes for court proceedings and for virtual sittings of Parliament.
The State Opposition did not oppose the new laws, but spoke out about changes to rental rules that it argued would hurt "mum and dad investors" who owned rental properties.
"These are unprecedented powers but they have been used before and we have recognized that these are unprecedented times," Ms Frecklington said.
But she labelled the changes to rental rules "draconian."
"Asking one group of Queenslanders to do the heavy lifting it is unfair," she said.
LNP Sunshine Coast MP Fiona Simpson argued the laws were hurting "mum and dad investors" and "went way beyond what National Cabinet were proposing."
Originally published as New rental laws passed among string of measures