new rental law reforms ( QLD stage 1)
Queensland has had some rental law reforms and the Housing Legislation Amendment Bill stage 1, was passed last week. It has now been sent to the Governor for Royal Assent, and when given, the Bill becomes law. It’s expected for that process to take about six months.
The Bill was aimed at greater fairness and balancing of renter and landlord rights, but the Real Estate Institute of Queensland said; “the bill could be the final straw for some investors and might prompt them to sell”.
The following changes under the new bill include:
- Landlords not allowed to refuse pets without reasonable grounds.
- Tenants can ask for permission to have pets, and landlords can only refuse on identified reasonable grounds such as lack of fencing or open space, unacceptable risks to health and safety, or that keeping the pet was likely to result in damage exceeding the value of the rental bond.
- The property owner must respond to a request for a pet in writing within 14 days, or consent is implied
- The property owner’s consent may be subject to reasonable conditions such as the pet has to be kept outside. A rent increase or a pet bond are not reasonable
- Domestic violence protections for tenants.
- Tenants experiencing domestic violence can end a lease with just seven days’ notice and access any bond contribution they made
- Break lease fees to be capped at 1 weeks rent
- Not liable for property damaged caused by Domestic Family Violence
- Remaining renters must top up the bond
- May change the locks without requiring the owner’s consent to ensure their safety
- Must provide documentation to support their claim.
- Ending tenancies fairly
- No evictions “without grounds” for periodic agreements. (valid reasons “ with grounds” only significant repairs or renovations, sale of property). If you re-rent it within 6 months you could face a fine of $6,700!
- Added reasons for landlords and tenants to end tenancies, including end of fixed term agreement, significant repairs or renovations, sale of property
- New grounds for renters to end tenancies – when the property is not in good repair or does not comply with minimum housing standards (fines of up to $6850 will apply if repairs are not completed within a reasonable timeframe).
- Minimum housing standards
(Applying to new leases from 1 September 2023)
- The property must be weatherproof and structurally sound
- All fixtures and fittings must be in good repair and not likely to cause injury to a person
- Locks on all windows and doors
- The property must be free of vermin, damp, and mould
- Privacy coverings on all windows
- Adequate plumbing and drainage
- Functioning kitchen and laundry appliances (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.
Some of these changes relating to minimum housing standards and domestic violence will improve safety and quality of life. However, as the real life impacts eventuate for landlords unable to refuse pets without the opportunity to offset that risk financially with either a mutually agreed rent increase or an additional ‘Pet Bond’ its likely that second or third tier consequences will emerge. Will investors just sell up and move to a different asset class? Will rents increase for everyone irrespective of pet applications, just to cover the possibility?
This is only stage 1 of the rental reforms to be implemented over the next 6-24 months, who knows what will be next?
We invite you to let us know your thoughts on this reform, good or bad, we will then raise any concerns with the governing body ( REIQ ) in the hope of future reforms being balanced even more equally.