Landlords say they are the victims of the “fraudulent” actions of their tenants, and say they have “no choice” but to defend themselves.
In a joint statement, the Landlord and Tenant Board and the Australian Property Council say the actions of landlords have become “a matter of serious concern” and that the board is “not satisfied” with the Government’s response to the problem.
“The board has become aware of the fraudulent actions of some landlords who are using the courts and the High Court to harass tenants and others who have challenged their legal actions,” the statement said.
“These actions are clearly against the law and are designed to deter tenants from bringing legal action in the courts.”
In a statement to news.com.au, the ACCC said it was “disappointed” by the “significant increase in the number of tenants who have been denied lawful possession” of their land, with many of those who have experienced their legal rights being denied.
“While there is no single remedy for the conduct of landlords, it is clear that landlords must learn to live with this situation and to take steps to safeguard tenants’ rights,” it said.
The statement said landlords had been able to “gain access to many of the people they rent to for a number of years” through an “unfair” process, which “has left them with no other option but to seek protection through the courts”.
“The boards statement does not take the position that landlords should be able to abuse the legal system to achieve their unlawful ends,” it added.
Landlords’ rights are under threat in some parts of AustraliaLandlord protections have been under threat from a number different sources, with the NSW Landlord Advocacy Centre saying that the number and severity of cases had increased significantly in recent years.
“It is very difficult to determine the exact number of landlords who have suffered damages or were denied legal possession because of breaches of their legal obligations under the Landlords Act,” it stated.
“We are working with the state and territory Landlords Associations to try and bring the total number of cases to the level of last year.”
The ACCC has also issued guidance on how to report the issue of unlawful conduct to the police, which is not in force in all parts of the country.
“If you or someone you know is a victim of an unlawful act or conduct, the police should be contacted,” it states.
In recent months, there have also been concerns over the issue in the Northern Territory. “
If you believe that someone else may be affected by an unlawful action, you should contact your local Landlord Board.”
In recent months, there have also been concerns over the issue in the Northern Territory.
The Territory Landlord Protection Association said that “recent reports of unlawful behaviour in the Territory have included intimidation, assault and vandalism”.
“We have received numerous reports of landlords intimidating, threatening, or assaulting tenants,” the organisation said in a statement.
“In some cases landlords have physically attacked tenants or otherwise acted in a discriminatory manner towards them.”
In the meantime, there is concern that the Government is not taking the issue seriously enough, with a number people who are being told they can’t get their land back being put in legal limbo.
“This is happening in the NT,” said a spokeswoman for the Land Association.
“When you’re talking about legal action, there’s a lot of things going on, so the Government needs to do more.”