Rental Reforms - What Do They Mean for You? - SSKB

Rental Reforms – What Do They Mean for You?


Rental Reforms

The Queensland Government are reviewing Queensland’s tenancy laws. 
 
In 2018, the statewide Open Doors to Renting Reform community consultation invited Queenslanders to give their opinions on how to improve renting in Queensland from their past and current experiences.  
 
The public were able to share their opinions about the reforms until 28 December 2019. This consultation is now closed, and the Queensland government are now reviewing the feedback submitted.  
 
Five reforms have been released including ending tenancies fairly, renting with pets, minor modifications, minimum housing standards and domestic and family violence.  

Reform One – Ending Tenancies Fairly 

Knowing when a tenancy will end benefits both the tenant and the owner.  
 
Tenants can plan their future housing needs and owners are able to plan for new tenants as well as knowing they have income security.  
 
Proposed Changes 

The Queensland Government have released reforms for ending tenancies fairly.  

  • Owners would no longer be able to end a tenancy without a valid reason 
  • The list of reasons that an owner can provide would be extended and enhanced 
  • Tenants would also have additional grounds to end a tenancy.  

 Reform Two – Renting with Pets 

In Queensland, almost 60% of households currently have pets. When looking for a rental property, pet approval is often high up on the list of many tenants.  

Proposed Changes 

  • Require an owner to have reasonable grounds for refusing a tenant’s request to keep a pet  
  • Define reasonable grounds for an owner to refuse 
  • Allow property owners to seek a Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) order to exclude pets from a property for valid reasons 
  • Allow ‘pet bonds’ to be paid to cover the cost of pest control at the end of a tenancy. 

Reform Three – Minor Modifications 

The Queensland Government are recommending a list of proposed modifications that tenants would not need to seek approval for.  
 
Proposed Changes 
 
Modifications requiring no approval include:  

  • Health and safety modifications 
  • Accessibility modifications 
  • Security modifications 
  • Modifications to provide access to basic telecommunications 

Modifications with a fast-tracked (7 day) approval process would include:  

  • Minor modifications to personalise or improve the amenity of the premises 
  • Minor energy and water efficiency modifications 
  • Connection of non-essential communication services 

Reform Four – Minimum Housing Standards  

The Queensland Government is recommending a set of minimum housing standards are introduced.  
 
Proposed Changes 

Some of the standards all rental properties in Queensland would need to address are:  

  • Weatherproofing and structural soundness 
  • Plumbing and drainage 
  • Security 
  • The standard of repair of fixtures and fittings 
  • Control of pests and vermin 
  • Ventilation, lighting and privacy 
  • Cooking and food preparation facilities 

Reform Five – Domestic and Family Violence 

The Queensland Government want to strengthen tenancy laws to protect tenants who are experiencing domestic and family violence.   

Proposed Changes  

  • End tenancies in cases of DFV without penalties 
  • Allow the victim of DFV to remain in the rental property and named as the tenant and remove the perpetrator from the lease without the need of a QCAT order.  
  • A DFV victim would not be liable for property damage or rent arrears during the tenancy caused by acts of DFV against them.  
  • A tenant experiencing DFV could change the locks to the rental property without seeking approval from the owner or manager. 

To view a more in-depth explanation of the reforms, click here.  
 
SSKB aims to educate all our clients on all aspects of Strata living. Follow us on Facebook and LinkedIn to stay up to date with the latest industry news or click here to contact SSKB today.  



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Recent Comments

4 Comments

Gerrie Swift On February 1, 2020 | Reply

I have a query you may be able to assist with.
I have a dual occupancy investment property with a main meter at the boundary fence for Unity Water to take their billing readings. I only have a single submeter attached to one of the two units.
Is it ok for my property manager to take the reading from submeter (Unit 1) to pass on those water charges and calculate the difference in Main Meter – Submeter reading to pass on water usage charges to Unit 2?

    Emma Smith On February 24, 2020 | Reply

    Water billing legislation isn’t as stringent as electricity in terms of the measurement instrument used and the residential tenancy authority only stipulates that the water is metered for the purpose of charging tenants.

    The only issue I foresee in this example of distributing the water costs is that:
    Tenancy 2 is receiving a metered consumption bill – this is considered to be metered consumption.
    Tenancy 1 is receiving a calculated meter read based on residual consumption – this may not be considered metered consumption if taken to QCAT and there is a risk that any water leaks may incorrectly become the responsibility of Tenancy 1.

    A calculated meter reading does not necessarily mean that the consumption is unmetered for the purpose of billing; the important thing is being able to evidence is that the water has been fairly / appropriately proportioned. It may be worthwhile to expressly explain how the water consumption is calculated for Tenancy 1 at the beginning of the tenancy to ensure there is no question about the calculation at a later date.

    It may also be prudent to understand the water usage averages for residential customers in case of managing dispute queries or identifying leaks.
    https://www.unitywater.com/residential/manage-your-water-usage/why-your-water-usage-may-be-higher/water-usage-table

    Please don’t hesitate to call if you have any further questions.

    Kind regards

Jags Jagesur On February 2, 2020 | Reply

I am so glad that the “divine” powers of landlords are slowly been eroded.
Landlords, as the name implies, have been “lording” over their vassals, subjects and slaves under the Manor System since the Middle Ages.
It’s taking such a long time to recognise the iniquities of such an inhumane system.

Phong On February 9, 2020 | Reply

In the case of DFV, does that mean the victim get free rent? Will the government enforcing the perpetrator to pay for property damages and rent in arrears?
Sure it make sense for the victim to change locks to prevent the perpetrator to re enter the property. Shouldn’t the owner be notified of such changes. And who will pay the locksmiths and the new locks?

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