By Owen Sinclair

The forced eviction of a fifty-year old woman from a Salisbury rental property was on Tuesday delayed by a week. Stephanie, who has rented the property since 2001, said the news was welcome but afforded her only temporary relief.

Protestors against the eviction rallied early Tuesday morning outside the Salisbury property in a show of support for Stephanie’s cause.

Yet even as supporters continued to arrive, news came that the Queensland Police had decided to delay the forced eviction until next Monday. Later, the same protestors gathered outside the Harcourts Property Centre, who manages the property, in Coorparoo to condemn what they see as an unjust system.

According to Greens candidate for Brisbane Mayor, Jonathan Sriranganathan, Harcourts provided Stephanie with varying reasons for the eviction notice, from notifying her that the owner wished to sell the property, to demolishing the house. Most recently, the real estate agency claimed that the house was unsafe to live in.

In the months leading up to the eviction notice being given by Queensland Police, Stephanie has been unable to find alternative accommodation.

“I’m not resisting them wanting me to move on, if they really do need that. I’m resisting that it requires that I become homeless,” she said.

Stephanie works as a crane rigger on construction sites around Brisbane. Securing another rental, while juggling irregular casual work, has meant that she often misses out on attending property inspections.

“You’ve got to lock yourself into the days and times the real estate make available… and [with] casual labour hire I get a call the night before to work the next day. But if I’ve booked in a time to see a house, then I don’t even necessarily know until the night before if I’m going to be able to make it.”

“It’s worse than speed dating,” Stephanie says, the twinkle of a smile in her eyes.

The properties that Stephanie has managed to inspect have either been too small, too far away from work, or unsuitable for her dog.

“They say [the rentals] are dog friendly, but there’s not even shade in the yard, there’s no trees,” Stephanie said.

Speaking outside Harcourts Property Centre in Coorparoo, Mr Sriranganathan argued that legislative change is required to prevent more cases like Stephanie’s across the state.

“In a prosperous society that has the resources and the money to house everyone, we should not be evicting people into homelessness,” he said.

“I don’t really care whether it’s legal or not to evict someone into homelessness. It is morally wrong, it is socially disruptive. So we need to push back on that and if that means changing the laws, so be it.”

In a statement to the author, Harcourts Property Centre Co-managing Director, Sam Devlin, said that Harcourts will not comment until the matter is resolved by the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

The protest comes amidst soaring demand for rental properties across Brisbane. Analysis by property group Proptrack reveals that more Australians in their fifties and sixties are resorting to platforms like to find affordable accommodation.

For those like Stephanie, the future remains precarious.

The ordeal has “been disruptive to my normal life, to my security and feeling safe in the world,” she said.

In a report published in March last year, the Queensland Council of Social Services estimated a 22 percent increase in homelessness across Queensland since 2017. Nationwide, homelessness has increased since that time by just 8 percent.

Photos supplied by Owen Sinclair