A pregnant couple in Queensland was threatened with eviction if they brought their baby home because the landlords claimed that their newborn would be an “unauthorised occupant”.
There’s been a plethora of landlord horror stories that have come out of the woodwork of this shitty housing market, but this one is truly fucked.
The couple, who is of Kenyan origin, took their landlords to the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT).
The tenants accused the husband-and-wife landlords of building a campaign against them that involved “surveillance, being constantly picked on, declining to assist utilities, being spoken to in humiliating and offensive ways, and obstructing access,” whilst they lived in the rental.
Thankfully, the QCAT ruling was in the tenants’ favour, with QCAT member Jeremy Gordon agreeing that the couple had been discriminated against due to their pregnancy and race.
According to a published QCAT judgement, which was uploaded on May 22, the couple agreed to a fixed-term residency with the landlord and company from June 11 2019.
On December 20 2019, the woman emailed the landlords explaining that she would like to break the lease due to her bébé.
“Kindly let me know how I can break my lease as I need a bigger place to accommodate the baby,” she wrote in an email to the landlords.
It was then agreed between the landlords and the pregnant couple that they could break the lease once a new tenant was found, but unfortunately, they were unable to find another renter.
The baby was due to arrive over six weeks before the end of the fixed term, but still, no new tenant was found. On March 27 2020, the landlord sent an email to the couple reminding them that they were the only two tenants on the lease.
“To avoid doubt please note that your lease authorises the two of you as tenants. Your child, once born, is not authorised to be at the premises,” the landlord wrote.
The next day, March 28, the pregnant couple were given a notice to leave without grounds.
The father responded to the landlord, writing that they were “open to fair negotiations” and that they could not afford to pay for two rentals, citing COVID-19 and their new baby.
The landlord wrote back, claiming that the couple were attempting to “benefit from the current national emergency” and it was not just “unacceptable bad faith behaviour, but dishonest.”
“Please inform me as to your intentions as bringing a child to reside at the premises is a serious breach of your lease that will result in my instigating eviction proceedings,” the landlord wrote.
In the ruling, Gordon cited that these emails sent by the landlord prove that they were discriminating against the couple due to their pregnancy.
Within the hearing, the couple also claimed that they were filmed, locked out of the unit and that the landlords refused to help with other issues with the property. The couple also mentioned that the landlords used extremely racist language towards them, which, OFC, I refuse to quote it here because it is just fucking disgusting.
According to the published QCAT judgement, there was evidence that the woman landlord “mistrusted the tenants from the outset because they were from Kenya.”
Gordon dismissed a counter-complaint of sexual harassment made by the woman landlord towards the male tenant, citing that the evidence provided was “not sufficiently cogent or reliable to prove the basic facts of the complaint.”
Although the ruling was made on May 22 2023, Gordon said he would be giving direct actions of a remedy for the couple in a later hearing.
Honestly, the details of this couple’s ordeal with their landlord are truly upsetting, and I’m so glad that the tribunal ruled in their favour.
I hope the family are in a better place and that the next hearing will give them more peace.