Government cracks down on agents pressuring jobless tenants over super

Queensland Unions have applauded state government moves to prohibit real estate agents from pressuring jobless tenants to access super to pay rental arrears.

The Palaszczuk government announcement made today supports earlier calls from Queensland Unions for real estate agents to be stopped from insisting that jobless tenants apply to access their super as a “precursor to any discussion … about rental reductions”.

Queensland Council of Unions General Secretary Michael Clifford said tenants made jobless through COVID-19 who accessed their super could actually worsen their financial position if they lost insurance coverage.

“Accessing your superannuation would create immense risks for those people who then fall below that super fund’s threshold limit for life insurance and income protection insurance,” he said.

“These agents are forcing tenants into a dangerous choice between a temporary rent payback arrangement or a family tragedy in the event of an accident,” he said.

He applauded the state government’s action to protect tenants from financial bullying.

“The State government has given the Residential Tenancies Authority power to prohibit any requirement that a tenant draw on superannuation, or sell basic personal assets,” he said.

Modelling quoted by Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees indicates that people aged under 30 taking $20,000 out of their super over the coming months could be $100,000 worse off by the time they retire.

“If you take your cash out now you may be locking in a six-figure loss at the other end of your working life,” he said.

Mr Clifford also applauded the state government’s action to support the rental housing needs of victims of domestic and family violence.

“We support these moves to assist housing for vulnerable Queenslanders in a time of great uncertainty,” he said. 

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