Queensland tenants live ‘on the edge of the knife’ after landlords issue new eviction notices in a bid to stop ‘lifetime’ tenants

When Lyell Lamborn’s new lease arrived, it came with a $80 weekly increase and a notice to leave the property.

The notice on Form 12 made it clear that the landlord had the right to terminate her lease in Brisbane when the lease contract expired.

The notice came after Queensland’s top property industry body recommended all agents implement a ‘best practice’ strategy in a bid to protect landlords from ‘lifetime’ tenants who may automatically switch from fixed-term agreements to periodic ones, such as monthly contracts.

Mrs. Lamborne’s rental property is a nearly 100-year-old workers’ cottage in Manly with a long list of notable repairs.

Last year, a friend of Mrs. Lambourne’s fell through the worn-out front staircase of rickety rental.

“I felt that [rent] The increase, which was $80 a week, which is actually a 23 percent increase in my rent, was a huge increase for what I consider a very dilapidated home,” Lamborne said.

She said she had calculated her options in the current market, and felt compelled to agree to the increase and, accordingly, the notice to leave.

Brisbane rental costs are among the highest among all capital cities in Australia.(ABC News: Liz Pickering)

“I was told that if I didn’t sign, there would be no negotiation of a rent increase, I would walk out,” Lambourne said.

“In this market, I can’t. I will struggle to find something.

“It leaves you on a knife edge, wondering what you’re going to do every year… it keeps me up at night.”

Laws that will take effect in October will make it difficult for landlords to terminate periodic agreements.

“Will we have a place to go?”

Del Billet and Katie Havelberg sit on the sofa with two dogs.
Del Billet and Katie Havelberg are forced to look for another property because their West End property has been sold.(ABC News: Alice Pavlovic)

This weekend, Del Billett and Katie Havelberg are packing their West End home for four and a half years.

It is also the first week Mr. Billett has been discharged from hospital in four months, after an accident caused the amputation of his right leg.

While rehabilitating him in the hospital, the couple discovered that their house had been sold, and realized that they would need to find a new home that was easily accessible to the disabled.

When they did, an unusual contract arrived.

Katie Havelberg with Dale Billett and his amputated leg visible while sitting on the sofa.
Del Billett was recovering from a leg amputation when he and Katie Havelberg discovered they had to leave their rental home.(ABC News: Alice Pavlovic)

“I was going through the lease and getting ready to sign it and at the end there was a notice to leave attached,” Ms Havelberg said.

The couple signed the lease, but the property search had a negative impact.

“It just added to the burden that was already there,” Havelberg said.

“Sleepless nights, days, where you’re constantly worrying, ‘Shall we have a place to go?'” “

The pair are now navigating the move, with Pelete restricted to what he can lift and carry.

Like a guillotine on the heads of tenants

Queensland tenants chief executive Penny Carr in the office.
Tenants Queensland CEO Benny Carr says the notices are causing undue anxiety for tenants.(ABC News: Tim Swanston)

Tenants Queensland chief executive Benny Carr has criticized the industry body over the new practice, which she said is causing undue concern for renters already facing an overwhelming housing market.

“Every tenant in Queensland will live like a guillotine over their heads the entire time they live in their home,” she said.

“And if they are good or lucky at the end of that, they may be offered a new fixed term.

“It is unusual to call it best practice.”

Woman looking pensive while standing outside a building
Antonia Mercurella, CEO of REIQ, acknowledged that the recommendation came at a very difficult time for tenants.(ABC News: Lexi Hamilton Smith)

But the Queensland property industry’s top authority has stuck to its recommendations.

Antonia Mercurella, chief executive of the Queensland Property Institute, said the institute was considering sending out the optimal forms before new rental laws take effect in October.

“It does not evict the tenant or threaten the tenant in any way, as Tenants in Queensland suggests,” she said.

“What you do is simply confirm that the fixed-term lease will expire on that date.

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