The govt’s tenancy law reforms & how we rate them

November 24, 2019

Make Renting Fair in Qld has given the government proposals a quick rating  against our list of asks.

Our most important ask of removing without ground evictions is included, it is extremely welcomed and rates highly. There are two additional areas for changes proposed by government, both of which are positive. Some of our asks however are not included and left for stage two reforms, these do not get any rating. 

Overall, we welcome the proposals and consider they will go a long way to support renters to make a place their home.

Click on the headings below for an overview of the government’s proposal. We’ll soon provide you more information about what we like and what we think can be improved.  Get on board the campaign, government needs to hear our feedback to convert these proposals into law. 

Ending Tenancies Fairly

  • Includes the removal of without ground terminations

The following new grounds are added for lessor and agents to end agreements

  • Lessor or immediate family moving in
  • Significant repair or renovations are being undertaken
  • Sale of rental property requiring vacant possession (notice can be issued during the fixed term by a new owner but cannot take effect during the fixed term)
  • Serious or significant breach due to actions of a tenant, occupant or guest
  • Person is occupying the rental property without consent

New grounds for Tenants to end agreements

  • Rental property is not in good repair, is unfit for human habitation or does not comply with minimum housing standards
  • Lessor has not complied with a QCAT Repair Order to undertake repair or maintenance of the rental property within the specified time
  • Lessor provided false or misleading information about the tenancy agreement or rental property
  • Death of a co-tenant
  • Tenant is escaping domestic and family violence (DFV)

New grounds for the state to end agreements

  • Qld Gov’t owned rental accommodation is required for a public or statutory purpose
  • The Department of Housing requires the property to manage public housing as a scarce resource
  • Lessor/agent must provide reasonable grounds if refusing a tenant’s request to keep a pet
  • An explanation of reasonable grounds to be developed
  • Lessor/agent can seek a QCAT order to exclude pets/class of pet on reasonable grounds, order may be for a period of time or on-going
  • Allows for the taking of a pet bond OR inclusion of special term requiring carpet cleaning and pest control at the end of the tenancy.
  • ‘Encourages’ disclosure of any pet exclusions to be provided when advertising properties
  • Pet ‘resume’ form to be developed for voluntary use by prospective tenants

Rental housing quality and minimum housing standards

  • Sets out minimum standards  for weatherproofing & structural soundness; plumbing & drainage; security; standard of repair of fixtures and fittings; control of pests & vermin; ventilation; lighting & privacy; cooking & food prep facilities
  • Extended time for Ts to complete entry report
  • Increased monetary value for the emergency repairs a T can organise and claim back
  • Allows As to authorise emergency repairs to specified value if a lessor is uncontactable
  • Contact details for the lessor& nominated repairer to be provided.

New QCAT repair orders which:    

– attach to a property rather than a tenancy

– can prevent a property from being rented until ordered repairs undertaken

– will consider exceptional circumstances of Ls.

– are enforceable by the RTA

– provide for representatives to raise issues on behalf of Ts

Not included in stage one reforms

The topic is not included in these reforms but flagged for stage 2.

However, renters experiencing DFV who are co-Ts will be able to apply for their bond when they end their interest in the tenancy (see below). If agreed by the A/L bond is paid out (w/t requiring agreement  from other co/ts). Otherwise usual bond dispute processes apply.

Agent/Lessor may request top up bond from continuing co-tenants (see below).

The topic is not included in these reforms but flagged for stage 2

The topic is not included in these reforms but flagged for stage 2

Other Topics included in the government’s stage one reforms

DFV – Ending tenancies

  • Tenant can provide 7 days notice of intention to leave
  • Tenant is then not responsible for rent or other liabilities beyond notice time if they have evidence of DFV = Protection order or document from authorised professional (e.g. doctor; social worker; refuge/crisis worker; DFV worker/case manager; Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander medical service worker.
  • Tenant does not have to provide forwarding address
  • Lessor/Agent must maintain privacy about the DFV situation
  • Lessor/Agent may make an urgent QCAT app to ensure veracity of situation.

IF there are co-tenants:

  • Lessor/Agent must inform co-tenants that of the vacating tenant
  • At end of the tenant’s notice period provide the co-tenants w 7 days to decide if they continue the tenancy.

IF the co-Ts do not wish to stay

  • Lessor/Agent provides 21 days notice
  • Co-tenants are not liable for end of tenancy costs e.g. rent after the 21 days notice, advertising etc.

IF the co-tenants want to stay

  • The tenancy continues
  • Remaining tenant/s may have to increase bond if leaving tenant was a bond contributor

Two catergies of Minor Modifications have been developed: 

1) health, safety, accessibility and security;

2) amenity or personalisation

The following applies to both categories of minor modifications

  • A definition of minor mods will be included distinct from current sections which apply to fixtures.
  • Tenants must have work undertaken by qualified tradesperson when appropriate.
  • Tenants must comply with by-laws etc.
  • Current requirements for agreement between parties about end of tenancy ‘make good’ or leaving the changes apply
  • Any damage caused by Tenants is Tenant’s responsibility to fix
  • Future consideration will be given to ‘restoration’ bonds.

The following applies to the health, safety, accessibility and security minor modifications

  • Tenants can make minor modifications for health, safety, accessibility, and security reasons, including access to basic telecommunications, must inform the Lessor/Agent but do not need consent.
  • However, the Lessor/Agent may apply for order preventing changes if they have reasonable grounds

The following applies to the  amenity or personalisation minor modficatons

  • Tenants must provide 7 days notice to the Lessor/Agent
  • The Lessor/Agent must respond w/in 7 days (if park manager or owner corps involved Lessor/Agent may seek and extension)
  • The Lessor/Agent cannot unreasonably withhold consent
  • Tenants must pursue DR and QCAT if there is a dispute

“When moving to the city we really struggled to find pet-friendly accommodation…I nearly had to cancel everything.””

November 13, 2019

“When moving to the city from regional Queensland, we really struggled to find pet-friendly accommodation. I had accepted a job offer and needed to find a home, but it was so hard I very nearly had to cancel everything.

“Despite having references from our vet and doing everything possible to prove we were responsible pet owners, most properties wouldn’t accept us because we had two large dogs. Or, when we did find a property that accepted pets, it wasn’t really suitable at all. The photographs used online were deceptive, and the backyard was actually much too small.

“Our life went on hold. It was an incredibly stressful time. We’re very lucky to have found a home just in time.” Tarleigh

Take action!

To support our initiative to change Queensland laws and make renting fair for pet owners, sign up for our campaign updates and share this post with your friends.

If you have experienced unfair rental practices related to pet ownership, share your story with us. Email [email protected] or send us a video on our Facebook or Twitter page.

Lets enforce basic standards of rental properties!

November 6, 2019

Lets give tenants basic standards to help make a house a home and contribute to people’s well-being and housing affordability.

We can help make this happen by changing the law to introduce periodic inspections by an independent party and by letting tenants know what, if any, repairs and maintenance have been done on a rental property.

Share our video and get on board the campaign to Make Renting Fair in Queensland!

HAVE YOUR SAY.  ‘THE THING I MOST WANT TO CHANGE ABOUT RENTING IN QUEENSLAND IS….’
Send us a 30 second talking head video (for use on our social and other public media sites) to our Facebook page or email to    [email protected]

“My dog is my best mate….” Lauren and Alex’s story

September 3, 2019

Renting with Pets

“I got my dog, Rylie, about two-and-a-half years ago,” explains Alex, a Queensland tenant and pet owner. “I was very lucky to live in a house where pet ownership was permitted. After I moved out of that house, I encountered difficulties. Almost every rental  advertisement said, ‘no pets’. It took two months to find a new pet-friendly house, and it was right down to the wire. I was accepted into a new home just days before my lease ended.”

After months of searching, Alex was fortunate to move into a share-house with his friend, Lauren, and her poodle, Lottie. The two dogs get along well, and their lessor is willing to have tenants with pets.

Unfortunately, many pet owners don’t find pet-friendly rentals. Despite having one of the highest rates of pet ownership in the world, only around 10% of rental properties in Queensland allow pets. This disparity contributes to the rate of animals being surrendered. The Animal Welfare League claims 25% of pets were surrendered last financial year due to an inability by renters to find pet-friendly homes.

“I had another dog a few years ago, his name was Chief,” says Lauren. “I had him for six years, but because he was so big, I struggled to find a house for him. Eventually, I made the difficult decision to re-home him to a family who owned a large property. I know he is happier there and the family continue to send me photos and messages.”

Lauren’s previous experience with Chief made her very selective when it came to choosing Lottie, years later. As a student, she knew homeownership wasn’t an achievable goal in the near future. She deliberately selected a poodle because of their small size and inability to shed fur. Lauren hopes these traits will improve her likelihood of securing future rental homes with Lottie.

“My dog is my best mate. It doesn’t matter the time of day, she’s always there for me, and I never feel alone,” says Lauren. “It just doesn’t seem fair that people should be discriminated against in their rental housing for owning a pet.”

“My dog promotes a healthy lifestyle for me,” continues Lauren. “Lottie encourages me to take daily walks, and pet ownership also gives me a higher sense of responsibility that carries into other areas of my life.”

Numerous studies have shown the positive effects of pet ownership on people’s health, happiness and resilience. For the elderly, chronically ill, children or those with mental health difficulties, a pet can indeed be a lifeline, providing a reason to get out of bed each day.

When we know just how important pets are to Australians, it seems unfair that tenants are expected to surrender their pets or forego the opportunity of pet ownership.

While Lauren, Alex and their dogs enjoy their current home, knowing how few rental properties accept pets, does play on their minds.

“I’m heading overseas soon, and my Mum will mind Riley while I am away,” says Alex. “But when I get back, I’m in for some trouble trying to find a new home.”

“I try to live day-to-day and not worry,” says Lauren. “Because I already had problems renting with a large dog, I’ve chosen a breed that can fit with my lifestyle and should make finding a rental home possible. But you just never know.”

Both Alex and Lauren would like to see improved pet-ownership rights for tenants. “It would be nice to be given a chance from lessors and agents, instead of just being condemned from the start,” says Lauren.

“We give up thousands of dollars in bond money to live in a rental home, so it seems unreasonable that pet owners are denied an opportunity flat out,” agrees Alex. “It also encourages tenants to sneak pets onto a property and breaks down communication between tenants and lessors.”

Take action!

To support our initiative to change Queensland laws and make renting fair for pet owners, sign up for our campaign updates and share this post with your friends.

If you have experienced unfair rental practices related to pet ownership, share your story with us. Email [email protected] or send us a video on our Facebook or Twitter page.

Keep people together with their pets

September 3, 2019

Australians have one of the highest rates of pet ownership in the world, with an estimated 62% of households owning a pet. Despite our love of animals, the Residential Tenancies Authority have said that only about 10% of rental properties in Queensland allow pets. This alarming disparity contributes to the rate of pet surrenders, with the Animal Welfare League estimating that 25% of surrenders last financial year were because of an inability by people who rent to find pet-friendly homes.

Share our video and get on board the campaign to Make Renting Fair in Queensland!

As any pet owner will testify, animals play a significant role in the mental and physical health of their owners. Whether the owner is young or old, single, married or a bustling family, pets are a welcome presence at the end of a long day. Whats more, they fill the role of someone to talk to, someone to walk with and can be someone’s motivation to get up each day for those suffering mental health problems. Numerous studies have confirmed the importance of pets in people’s health, happiness and resilience, with many hospitals and aged care homes now incorporating pets into their rehabilitation.

Tenants deserve the right to own pets and keep them when they move house. They also deserve to live without fear for the future of their pet and know they will always find a safe place to call home together.

To make changes to Queensland tenancy laws, we need your support. Please share our message on social media with your friends, and sign up to our newsletter.

We also want to hear your personal experiences of renting with pets. You can email [email protected], or send us a 30-second video answering the question: “THE THINGS I MOST WANT TO CHANGE ABOUT RENTING IN QUEENSLAND IS…”

Your video will be shared on our social and other public media sites. Send it to our Facebook page or via email ([email protected])

Make bond returns easier for tenants

July 31, 2019

A rental bond is the tenant’s money held in trust during the tenancy, in case there is any unpaid rent or damages when the tenancy ends. When tenants pay a bond on their rental property it’s usually a significant sum of money.

Tenants deserve to get that money back with relative ease when it comes time to move house however the bond return process creates significant financial hardship and stress for many renters. Currently, it’s a race between the lessor and tenant to make a claim first with tenants often left to argue their innocence against unclear, unknown and changing demands.  Additionally the tenant will often have moved to another rental property before the dispute is resolved, paying another bond and now missing thousands of dollars from their bank account. 

It should always be assumed that the bond will be returned to the tenants unless there are evidenced claims by the lessor or agent. When a bond dispute has to be resolved in the Tribunal, it ‘s only fair that the agent or lessor should be the one required to make the application. This means tenants will be made aware the specific claims and given time to prepare their response.

To Make Renting Fair in Queensland, we want to change outdated legislation and ensure the bond is returned to tenants unless the lessor makes a substantiated claim.

To support this change, please share this message on social media, sign up to our campaign updates and also share your own renting stories.

If you have unfairly lost your bond money, we want to hear your story — email [email protected].

You can also have your say. Send us a 30-second video answering this question: “THE THING I MOST WANT TO CHANGE ABOUT RENTING IN QUEENSLAND IS….”

Your video will be shared on our social and other public media sites. Send it to our Facebook page or via email ([email protected])

Tenants deserve greater respect of their privacy

July 17, 2019

Have you ever missed checking your mailbox for a single day? As a tenant, this benign act could result in your lessor catching you in a compromising position the next day, or having your home accessed without your knowledge. Neither of those scenarios seems fair.

In some circumstances under current Queensland law, a lessor or agent needs to provide a mere 24 hours notice to access your property. Meaning an agent or lessor can put a form in your mailbox or send to your email early on one morning, and then access your property the very next day, exactly 24 hours after serving notice. With or without your knowledge.

We believe tenants deserve greater consideration of their privacy and are asking Queensland politicians to extend this notice period to 48 hours. An extra day has little impact on the property owner or agent, yet it increases the tenants’ likelihood of receiving the notice and has positive roll-on effects for the relationship between the tenant and lessor.

All Australians, no matter their income, employment status, shift patterns or the frequency with which they check their mailbox deserve privacy in the place they call home. 

To make these policy changes, we need the support of Queenslanders. Share our message on social media, sign up to our newsletter and share your own rental stories with us.

If you have personally experienced a breach of privacy related to this 24-hour notice policy, we want to hear about it — email [email protected].

You can also have your say. Send us a 30-second video answering this question: “THE THING I MOST WANT TO CHANGE ABOUT RENTING IN QUEENSLAND IS….”

Your video will be shared on our social and other public media sites. Send it to our Facebook page or via email ([email protected])

Keep Rent Rises Fair

June 26, 2019

Under current laws, Queensland tenants can experience rate rises every six months. When your most significant living expense has the potential to change twice in one year, tenants can experience extreme stress or be forced to move from their home and community. For the disabled, elderly or low-income families, the roll-on effects of this transition can be enormous.

Tenants who want to stand firm and dispute the rises face an arduous task. The onus of proving the rises are unreasonable is placed solely on the tenants, who must collect market data to dispute the changes. This is a challenge for all tenants but for those who speak English as a second language, or have mental or physical health challenges, the idea of contesting the rises can be entirely overwhelming.

We believe Queensland tenants deserve fair rental prices and are asking the Queensland government to limit rent increases to one annually. Whatsmore, if lessors want to increase the rent by an amount higher than 20% above the Consumer Price Index (CPI), we believe lessors should have to demonstrate the increase is reasonable, rather than tenants having to prove the action is unreasonable. An example where this increase could be considered fair is in the event of significant repairs or increased amenity.

Protection from unreasonable rent increases is also needed to ensure they are not used to end tenancies by stealth and to avoid opportunistic behaviour.

To make these changes, we need your support. Share our message on social media, sign up to our newsletter and share your own rental stories with us.

If you have personal experience with unfair rent increases, we want to hear about it — email [email protected]

You can also have your say. Send us a 30-second video answering this question: “THE THING I MOST WANT TO CHANGE ABOUT RENTING IN QUEENSLAND IS….”

Your video will be shared on our social and other public media sites. Send it to our Facebook page or via email ([email protected])

Tenants deserve honesty and fairness

June 5, 2019

Choosing a home is a big decision. The costs of moving are significant and the emotional turmoil of relocating can be enormous. It’s not a task people want to experience regularly.

To ensure tenants can make the best decision for their future, they deserve to know all the facts when deciding which house to call home. Tenants deserve honesty and fairness.

As the Queensland government considers its review of tenancy laws, we’re proposing changes to ensure tenants receive accurate information at the time of choosing their rental home.

We believe renters should receive full disclosure on specific facts that might affect their ability to live in, or enjoy their home, before entering a tenancy agreement. For example we think renters should know:

  • If there is a mortgage over the property, and whether the issuing bank has given consent to the tenancy agreement;
  • Any intentions to sell the premises;
  • Whether the lessor resides nearby;
  • Whether there are any significant urban developments approved in the area;
  • The extent of any repairs and maintenance works undertaken at the property during the previous 24 months, and;
  • Any other factors that may have a significant bearing on a household’s enjoyment of the property were they to take up occupation.

While we are doing our utmost to push through these reforms, it’s important Queenslanders show their support. Beneficial changes to tenancy laws have recently occurred in the ACT and VIC, and they would not have been possible without public support.

To get behind these changes, please share this message on social media, sign up to our campaign updates and also share your own renting stories.

If you have experienced deceitful tactics when choosing a rental property, we want to hear your story. Email [email protected]

You can also have your say. Send us a 30-second video answering this question: “THE THING I MOST WANT TO CHANGE ABOUT RENTING IN QUEENSLAND IS….”   Your video will be shared on our social and other public media sites. Send it to our Facebook page or via email ([email protected])

Enforce basic standards – Let’s Make Renting Fair in Queensland!

May 30, 2019

There are some basic requirements that every house should have to help make a house a home.  Homes that are safe and in good condition have a positive effect on people’s well-being and houses with good water and energy efficiency help keep tenants costs down.

Let’s change the law to introduce periodic inspections by an independent party and introduce measures that let tenants know if any, and what, repairs and maintenance have been done on a rental property.

Share our video and get on board the campaign to Make Renting Fair in Queensland!

HAVE YOUR SAY.  ‘THE THING I MOST WANT TO CHANGE ABOUT RENTING IN QUEENSLAND IS….’
Send us a 30 second talking head video (for use on our social and other public media sites) to our Facebook page or email to    [email protected]