Landlords forced to cut rent in landmark ruling

Landlords forced to cut rent in landmark ruling. Source: Getty

A Queensland landlord will be forced to offer a rent reduction for his tenants, a Sunshine Coast couple, after a landmark decision by the Queensland Civil Administration Tribunal.

The QCAT ruled the landlord could not prove reducing the rent would put him at a financial disadvantage, and awarded the tenants a genuine rent reduction backdated to the application date, setting their rent at 30 per cent of the couple’s income. 

The couple, who had never been in arrears, asked for a rent reduction when the coronavirus pandemic saw the husband of the couple stood down from work, and warned of a possible redundancy.

The couple attempted to resolve the dispute through a Residential Tenancies conciliation, but pursued the matter in the QCAT after negotiations failed.

Tenants Queensland said this was the first QCAT positive outcome that they had heard.

“Throughout negotiation – before, during and after conciliation with the RTA, the landlord only ever offered a rent deferral,” Tenants Queensland stated.

“That is, any amount the rent was reduced now was to be paid back after the emergency is over. The landlord’s offers only varied the length of time to pay the monies off. 

“At one point they were offered an early termination of their agreement, something [the tenant’s] family felt was unreasonable given their long tenure.”

Tenants Queensland said the tenant’s story should give other renters in the midst of negotiations hope for a good outcome.

“No two circumstances are the same, so QCAT orders will always rely on the circumstances and evidence put to it,” they stated.

“Good evidence of the family’s changed employment and income circumstances will have helped QCAT come to its decision as well and [the tenant’s] evidence of attempts to negotiate a reasonable outcome.”

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