Natural disasters and the impact on tenancy agreements
As I look out the window on a Friday afternoon at clear skies but the wind noticeably increasing, and news of Cyclone Owen on its way, now is a good time to ensure your property manager understands legislation surrounding natural disasters and potential situations of non-liveability in rental properties in Queensland.
While we all hope this is legislation we never need to draw on, we do also need to be prepared.
Following is information you may find useful.
Preparing for natural disasters – helpful information here
The RTA’s natural disaster factsheet – here
Natural disasters are not actually separately legislated under the RTRA Act, however usually refers to situations like cyclones, floods, storms etc and fall under “Non-liveability”, that also encompasses situations such as fires in rental properties, and other situations that cause damage to an extent where a property cannot reasonably be lived in either completely or partly.
Non-liveability is described under the RTRA Act as ‘agreement frustrated’. It is important to note that the notice period is same day.
284 Notice to leave if agreement frustrated
(1) The lessor may give a notice to leave the premises to the tenant because the premises—
(a) have been destroyed, or made completely or partly unfit to live in, other than because of a breach of the agreement; or
(b) no longer may be used lawfully as a residence; or
(c) have been appropriated or acquired compulsorily by an authority.
(2) A notice to leave under this section must be given within 1 month after the happening of the event mentioned in subsection (1).
(3) A notice to leave under subsection (1)(a) or (b) is called a notice to leave for non-livability.
See sections 329(2)(d) (Handover day for notice to leave for premises that are not moveable dwelling premises) and 330(2)(d) (Handover day for notice to leave for moveable dwelling premises) for requirements about the handover day for a notice to leave given because of non-livability.
(4) A notice to leave under subsection (1)(c) is called a notice to leave for compulsory acquisition.
See sections 329(2)(e) (Handover day for notice to leave for premises that are not moveable dwelling premises) and 330(2)(e) (Handover day for notice to leave for moveable dwelling premises) for requirements about the handover day.
If there is not agreement over whether the property is fit to be lived in, the usual dispute resolution process is applied.
It is also important to note that this only applies to situations where there is no breach of agreement (ie this cannot be applied to situations relating to required maintenance), and that no compensation is generally payable by either party to the other as neither party was in breach of the agreement. If liveability is found to have been declared unreasonably by either party, then compensation may be sought and the proper chanels should be followed for this process.
(Acknowledgement for sourced information from www.realestateexcellence.com.au)