New Tenancy Laws for QLD

Legislation to “make renting fairer” was passed in Queensland’s Parliament and became law on Wednesday 20 October 2021.

Queensland’s new legislation, which is administered by the RTA, amends the existing legislation:

  • Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008
  • Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Regulation 2009
  • Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation (COVID-19 Emergency Response) Regulation 2020.

However, it’s important to remember that not all changes commence immediately.

On 18 June 2021, the Queensland Government introduced the Housing Legislation Amendment Bill 2021 to the Queensland Parliament.

The Bill was passed by Queensland Parliament on 14 October 2021.

What the new renting laws will do:

  1. Establish minimum standards to ensure all Queensland rental properties meet standards for safety, security and functionality. This includes making sure accessible windows and doors have functioning latches, fixtures and fittings provided in the property are in good repair and do not present a safety risk with normal use, and properties are weatherproof and structurally sound.
  2. End without grounds evictions and providing appropriate grounds to end a tenancy, including the end of a fixed term agreement. A rental property owner will not be able to issue a notice to leave ‘without grounds’, which will provide renters with more certainty.
  3. A renter can end their interest in a lease with seven days’ notice if they are unable to safely continue it because they are experiencing domestic and family violence.
  4. If a renter requests to keep a pet, a rental property owner must have reasonable grounds to refuse and respond in writing to this request within 14 days. Reasonable grounds include if the property is unsuitable, and if keeping the pet would breach laws or by-laws. Rental property owners can also place reasonable conditions on pet ownership, including that the pet is to be kept outside or that carpets are cleaned and the property is fumigated at the end of a lease. Rent increase is not a reasonable condition. The laws also clarify that fair wear and tear does not include pet damage.

During debate Minister Enoch also confirmed that the government is committed to progressing Stage 2 of the rental law reforms, and that minor modifications to rental properties would be progressed as a priority of the next stage.

“In progressing Stage 2 reforms in the first half of 2022, the Queensland Government will engage with key stakeholders to define the next tranche of issues to be addressed, explore reform options, and design workable solutions and consult on them,” Ms Enoch said.

What is changing and when?

The first change to be introduced is to provide options for people experiencing domestic and family violence to end a tenancy, which commenced on 20 October 2021.

The remaining reforms will be implemented in phases over a three-year period to ensure the sector has sufficient time to prepare for, understand and adopt the changes.

Summary of implementation times

  • Domestic and family violence protections
    Commenced 20 October 2021
  • Framework for all parties to negotiate renting with pets
    Will commence on proclamation on a date yet to be set
  • Changes to approved reasons to end a tenancy
    Will commence on proclamation on a date yet to be set
  • Minimum housing standards
    Due to commence 2023–24

The only time that any considerations will be made regarding this, is if you have rented a property at a higher rent amount while maintaining the same lower income, without falling into arrears at any point. This can be verified by your previous agent/landlord and supported with a tenant ledger.

Domestic and family violence protections

Commenced 20 October 2021

Options for people experiencing domestic and family violence to end a tenancy have commenced.

These arrangements are similar to those that were in place as temporary measures during the COVID-19 pandemic period with some changes made based on learnings from the COVID-19 implementation.

These changes confirm that tenants/residents vacating a rental premises on grounds of experiencing domestic and family violence:

  • can vacate immediately but must provide 7 days notice and pay rent until the end of the 7 day notice period
  • must complete a Notice ending tenancy/residency interest (domestic and family violence) (Form 20R20) and provide relevant evidence (such as a Domestic and family violence report)
  • are not responsible for costs relating to ending of a tenancy/rooming accommodation agreement or interest, goods left behind in the rental premises or reletting costs
  • are not required to repair or compensate the property manager or owner for damage to the premises or inclusions caused by an act of domestic and family violence experienced by a tenant/resident
  • are still responsible for costs associated with breaching terms of an agreement which are not related to the domestic and family violence (for example, rent arrears or damage to the property by a pet)
  • can request their bond contribution be refunded by completing a Bond refund for persons experiencing domestic and family violence (Form 4a). Property owners/managers can also request a rental bond refund for a tenant/resident’s bond contribution where a tenant/resident has vacated due to domestic and family violence by completing this form
  • any remaining tenants/residents can be asked by the property owner/manager to top up the rental bond within one month by issuing remaining tenants/residents with a Continuing interest notice strictly between 7-14 days only after a vacating tenant/resident’s interest in the agreement ends
  • can change the locks to the property without requiring the property owner/manager’s consent to ensure their safety but must provide copies of keys or access codes to the rental property owner/manager as soon as practicable.

It is critical that property owners/managers maintain the privacy of a tenant/resident who is experiencing domestic and family violence to ensure their safety. Penalties apply if the legislative requirements are not followed. 

Every person has the right to feel safe and live free from violence, which is why ending domestic and family violence is a community responsibility. Help and support is available for Queenslanders affected by domestic and family violence.

Framework for all parties to negotiate renting with pets

Will commence on proclamation on a date yet to be set

Once implemented, these changes will support parties to reach agreement on renting with pets. Prescribed reasonable grounds for refusing a request for approval to keep pets will be introduced (such as keeping the pet would breach laws or by-laws). Strict timeframes will also apply for property owners/managers to respond to any requests for a pet or the request will be considered approved.

Supporting information and resources on this future change will be made available closer to implementation. .

Changes to approved reasons to end a tenancy

Will commence on proclamation on a date yet to be set

Once implemented, these changes will remove the option to end a tenancy without grounds and instead provide tenants and property owners/managers with a wider range of specific grounds on which to end a tenancy with appropriate notice with prescribed notice periods. New grounds (reasons) for owners/managers to end tenancies will include the end of a fixed-term agreement, to undertake significant repair or renovations, change of use or sale or preparation for sale of the rental property requires vacant possession.

New grounds for tenants to end tenancies will include the property is not in good repair or does not comply with minimum housing standards.

Supporting information and resources on this future change will be made available closer to implementation.

Minimum housing standards

Due to commence 2023-24

Minimum housing standards will apply for new tenancy agreements from 1 September 2023, and apply for all tenancies from 1 September 2024.

By prescribing minimum housing standards, clarifying repair and maintenance obligations and introducing compliance mechanisms to strengthen the ability to enforce these standards, the Queensland Government aims to ensure all Queensland rental properties are safe, secure and functional.

Supporting information and resources on this future change will be made available closer to implementation.

Links & Information:

Key information provided in this blog post has been provided by the Residential Tenancies Authority (RTA) website, and is provided as an educational resource only.

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