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AU Thousands of dodgy tenants on rental blacklist

Property Here - Tuesday, May 21, 2013

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MORE than 3000 dodgy tenants have been black-listed by real estate agents in Townsville, with about 360 listed this year alone.

Figures from TICA, a national tenancy database, showed thousands of people in the region had been black-listed for rent arrears, property damage or as a result of tribunal orders with some "repeat offenders''.

TICA managing director Philip Naunis said regions with transient populations such as Townsville often had higher rates of delinquent tenants.

"The problem you have in Queensland is there are loopholes that allow these people to move on to another rental before they are even listed on a database,'' he said.

"They pay off substantial debts at, say, $20 a fortnight, and they get removed from the database and go on to create more havoc elsewhere.

"Evasion of rent has to be labelled what it is, theft. Damage to property should be labelled what it is, wilful damage.''

John Gribbin of John Gribbin Realty said the number of renters listed on TICA, which has been around since 1992, was "phenomenal''.

"Whilst we certainly do list people when it is warranted, that number (over 360) is alarming,'' he said.

Ferry Property department manager Tarnya Murtha said they had listed "quite a few tenants'' so far this year.

"The main reasons are rent arrears, sometimes into the thousands of dollars,'' she said.

Elders Real Estate property manager Carol Hurle said agents had to get court orders and police involved.

"I had a guy . . . who . . . had lost his job and kept promising he would pay up when he got his payout,'' she said.

"But we had to get a court order to get him out and he only handed over the keys when the police were called.''

The Residential Tenancies Authority received 42,900 dispute resolution requests between July 1, 2011 and April 30, 2013.

Of those, Townsville accounted for 5.5 per cent of all dispute resolution requests with 50.3 per cent of disputes relating to the distribution of bond money, above the state average of 47.3 per cent.

Mr Nuanis said "loopholes'' allowing dodgy tenants to "screw'' private landlords needed to be changed.

The State Government will roll out its new "three strikes and you're out'' policy for rogue social housing tenants from July, but it is not clear if those dodgy tenants will be listed on tenancy databases to protect private investors.

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