RENTING LAWS NEED TO BE MADE FAIR, SAFE AND CERTAIN!
OVER 1.8 MILLION QUEENSLANDERS ARE RENTERS.
IT’S TIME TO MAKE RENTING FAIR.
Make Renting Fair in Queensland is an alliance made up of over 50 supporter organisations.
The campaign supports progressive reform of our renting laws so that all Queenslanders can make the place they live in their home, whether they rent or own.
NEW QUEENSLAND RENTAL LAWS
The Housing Legislation Amendment Bill passed in Queensland Parliament on Thursday 14 October 2021.
The passing of this Bill is part of stage 1 of the Queensland Government’s commitment to rental reform. Stage 2 of the rental reforms will begin in the first half of 2022, with minor modifications being the priority.
New legislation changes includes –
- the reasons tenancies can be ended,
- the introduction of minimum housing standards
- renting with pets; and
- increased protections for people experiencing domestic and family violence.
We have outlined the details below.
REASONS TENANCIES CAN BE ENDED
The new laws include the following reasons that tenants can end a tenancy –
- Rental property is not in good repair, is unfit for human habitation or does not comply with Minimum Housing Standards
- The owner has not complied with a QCAT repair order to undertake repair or maintenance of the rental property
- The owner provided false or misleading information about the tenancy agreement or rental property
The new laws allow property owners to only end tenancy agreements for approved reasons. Examples such as –
- Owner or their relative need to occupy the rental property (periodic agreement only)
- Significant repair or renovation to be completed at the rental property (periodic agreement only)
- Sale or preparation for sale of the rental property requires vacant possession (periodic agreement only)
- Serious or significant breach caused by the actions of a tenant, occupant or guest
- Person is occupying without consent
- End of a fixed term agreement
- Planned property redevelopment or demolition (periodic agreement only)
- Repeated tenant breach of by-laws or park rules
- Change of use (e.g. move to short-stay accommodation) (periodic agreement only)
MINIMUM HOUSING STANDARDS
The Minimum Housing Standards for rental accommodation focuses on safety, security and reasonable functionality and enhance repairs and maintenance provisions.
New changes in the legislation are –
- accessible external windows and doors must have functioning latches to prevent ingress.
- window coverings, treatments or modesty feature are provided in rooms where there is a reasonable expectation of privacy. Example, bathroom, toilet, bedroom.
- the premises to be weatherproof and structurally sound
- fixtures and fittings to be in good repair and not likely to cause injury to a person
- locks on windows and doors
- the premises to be free of vermin, damp and mould
- adequate plumbing and drainage
- functioning kitchen and laundry facilities (where supplied).
In addition, the tenant (residential tenancies) will have 7 days to complete and return the entry condition report and tenants and property managers can authorise emergency repairs for the equivalent of 4 weeks rent.
RENTING WITH PETS
Renters can seek the property owner’s permission to keep a pet, and property owners can only refuse a request on identified reasonable grounds, such as –
- the rental property is unsuitable for the proposed pet
- the pet poses an unacceptable risk to health and safety
- keeping the pet would breach laws, by-laws or park rules
The property owner must respond to a request for a pet in writing within 14 days, or consent is implied.
Keeping a pet maybe subject to conditions. They must be reasonable in regard to the type of pet and nature of premises. Conditions must be included in the lessor’s written approval.
Examples of what are reasonable conditions –
- if the pet is not a type of pet ordinarily kept inside—a condition requiring the pet to be kept outside at the premises
- if the pet is capable of carrying parasites that could infest the premises—a condition requiring the premises to be professionally fumigated at the end of the tenancy
- if the pet is allowed inside the premises—a condition requiring carpets in the premises to be professionally cleaned at the end of the tenancy
The conditions are void if they increase the rent or bond, require a form of security. Tenants will be liable for any damage caused by the pet – as they are now.
DOMESTIC AND FAMILY VIOLENCE (DFV) PROTECTIONS
The new laws will see that the protections included in the COVID-19 Emergency Response 2020 are made permanent. These include –
- can leave immediately (after giving 7 days notice) and access any bond contribution they made
- will have break lease fees capped at 1 week’s rent
- are not liable for property damage caused by DFV
- any remaining co-renters can be asked to top-up the bond by the property owner or manager
- can change the locks to the property without requiring the owner’s consent to ensure their safety
- require owners and their agents to comply with confidentiality obligations for any information disclosed to them by a renter who leaves a tenancy due to experiencing DFV
- must provide documentation to support their claim and property owners, managers and their employees must not disclose this information (except where permitted) and may be subject to penalties if they do so.