Domestic violence victims facing homelessness for fleeing abusers

first_imgQueensland’s tenancy advisory service has reported an increase in domestic violence cases.HUNDREDS of domestic violence victims across Queensland are facing homelessness after being black-listed for abandoning rental properties in the rush to flee their abusers. The state’s leading provider of tenancy advice services has been flooded with applications from women forced to break tenancy agreements due to domestic violence.Trapped in a vicious cycle, vulnerable and abused women are being placed on tenancy databases by real estate agents or landlords because of unpaid debts or property damage caused by their abusers — preventing them from finding further accommodation. In the Caboolture region alone, 1 in 7 tenancy matters handled by the Queensland Statewide Tenant Advice and Referral Service (QSTARS) so far this year involved victims of domestic violence who needed to move for their own safety.QSTARS tenant advice worker Lloyd Black said more than 100 women had been referred to his organisation from domestic violence services or womens’ shelters in the Moreton Bay shire in the past six months — a significant increase on last year.Tenants Queensland chief executive Penny Carr said more than 1000 cases across the state in the past six months involved women needing help to have their names removed from a tenancy blacklist.In a large number of cases, QSTARS reported that victims had also been made liable for the debts of their violent ex-partners.“Many women are being punished for the actions of those who perpetrate that violence and being placed on the database,” Ms Carr said.“This is crucial support at a very difficult time and finding a place to live, in some cases, can mean the difference between being housed and being homeless.” DV Connect chief executive Di Mangan said the service had seen an increase in the number of women taking the difficult step of leaving their abusers and being forced to break tenancy agreements.Ms Mangain said women’s shelters across Queensland were always full and welcomed the commitment from the state government to establish two more in the last budget.Homelessness Australia chair Jenny Smith said it was common for women to find themselves black-listed for property damage caused by a violent partner.“This means they’ll personally be black-listed in the private rental market, and then at very high risk of homelessness,” she said.“This is an opportunity for reform in Queensland to reduce the devastating impact of family violence on women.”Tenancy databases hold information about the tenancy history of tenants and are often used by real estate agents and lessors to assess tenancy applications. The main one in Queensland is the Tenancy Information Centre of Australia (TICA).Karen Herbert, founder and chief executive of property management company, Arrive, said many renters could be on tenant blacklists without even knowing it, simply because an agent or landlord had reported them.More from newsMould, age, not enough to stop 17 bidders fighting for this home2 hours agoBuyers ‘crazy’ not to take govt freebies, says 28-yr-old investor2 hours ago“Most property managers will say no because you’ve got a bad history, but rather than tell the applicant, they’ll just decline them,” she said.Ms Carr said QSTARS helps victims understand their rights under existing tenancy laws.“If a listing is unlawful, incorrect, ambiguous, out of date or unjust, you are within your rightsto write to the listing agent, lessor or database operator and ask them to amend or removethe listing,” she said.“You can also apply to the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) to dispute aproposed listing or existing listing.” Community Plus+ president Pauline Peel said her organisation had helped give many women experiencing domestic violence the courage to pursue unfair listings cases through QCAT.“This has been an invaluable service in our local community by providing much neededsupport for families and victims while they work to try and overcome the impact and traumaof domestic violence,” she said. @liztilley84last_img

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