People who rent their home should be able to rely on the information from their lessor or agent as clear, honest and understandable and not be subjected to conduct which misleads or deceives them. The Australian Consumer Law already prohibits this behaviour but avenues for resolving tenancy disputes are not readily accessible to people who rent their homes.
To Make Renting Fair in Queensland, renters should have access a tenancy dispute process which ensure that lessors must act in a fair and reasonable way.
Tenants should be able to rely upon full disclosure of issues that might affect a tenancy by the lessor or agent. Tenants will benefit by changes to the tenancy law that place a positive duty upon the lessor/agent to disclose information and by including additional provisions which allow tenants to terminate in cases of material misrepresentation.
This should start with disclosure of certain material facts to a tenant before entering into a residential tenancy agreement. Things like:
- If there is a mortgage over the property, whether the mortgagee has given consent;
- Any proposal to sell the premises;
- Whether the lessor resides in close proximity;
- Whether there are any major 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.