As you might be aware, over the past couple of years the QLD State Government has been undertaking a review of tenancy laws in Queensland. What started with what looked like would be onerous residential tenancies legislation has now evolved into something that is far more balanced and fair on all parties.
There are actually two bills related to Rental Reforms introduced to parliament, however, it is the ALP’s bill that is currently being progressed. Please be aware that at this stage, nothing has been passed – there is no current change in place. The bill is expected to be passed later this year. This update is just that – an update on the current review process – nothing is yet final or in effect as yet.
Another side-comment to make is that review of rental laws has been taking place in most states of Australia, and I am relieved to report that I do believe we are moving toward a very balanced outcome that means Queensland remains a very attractive place to invest – combined with the current capital growth in Brisbane that our clients are enjoying. We are seeing many of our clients leveraging the opportunity to buy more property in Brisbane to increase their benefit in the growth market we are seeing.
Here is the latest update for you, sourced from the REIQ:
Provision 1 – New grounds for termination
In addition to the originally proposed list of reasons to end a tenancy, there have been new grounds included, preserving the rights as a landlord to end a tenancy after the fixed term agreement has been completed.
Other new grounds include if:
- the owner would like to sell the property
- the owner wants to move back into the property
- a family member wants to move into the property
- the property will be developed
The fixed term is still required to come to an end before these new grounds for termination can be used.
This was – in my opinion – the biggest risk area for Landlords in the proposed reforms. Originally, it looked as though we may lose the ability to choose to end a tenancy at the end of a lease, which would strip the Lessor of their right to choose whether a tenant is suitable for their valuable investment. It also meant it would have been very hard to control keeping leases on fixed term agreements rather than a periodic status – which would have impacted landlord insurance policies. So this is a key change that is – for us as an Agent who works hard to represent your best interest – a very relieving change to the proposed laws.
Provision 2 – Pets
Pets have always been a hot topic between landlords and tenants. With the increase in family pets, the government hopes these new reforms will satisfy both parties.
The Tenant is still required to ask the Landlord for permission to have a pet at the premises, and the Landlord will still have the right to say no – however (and the devil will be in the detail on this as it rolls out) – saying no to a pet would have to be based on certain prescribed grounds.
Two key reforms to balance the needs of both parties are that:
- Pet damage has been excluded from the definition of fair wear and tear.
- The Landlord can now impose conditions on the approval of a pet. If the Tenant breaches these conditions, it could potentially be seen as a breach of the general tenancy agreement.
We will of course advise further as the details unfold – for now, like these other updates – please note nothing is yet in its final form.
Provision 3 – Minimum housing standards
This is an extension of Section 185 of the Residential Tenancies Act, which states a property needs to be in good working order before it can be inhabited.
This provision sets out some basic standards that need to be met to allow a residential property to be rented in Queensland. They are:
- The property needs to be waterproof
- All locks on doors and windows need to be in working order
- Windows need to have some form of coverage on them
- Any kitchen and laundry facilities need to work
This provision is aimed at ensuring properties are leased in a good, safe condition that is fit for human habitation.
Provision 4 – Domestic and family violence
Changes to tenancy law regarding domestic violence are actually already in place under the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation (COVID-19 Emergency Response) Regulation 2020. Not much, if anything, seeks to change from these recent changes – essentially the bill seeks to make these provisions remain.
The new protections enable a Tenant who is experiencing domestic and family violence to bypass the usual requirements and financial obligations associated with terminating a lease.
A Tenant experiencing domestic violence will be able to terminate a tenancy agreement with only 7 days’ notice. They will only be liable for those 7 days of rent.
More information can be found in the latest REIQ article here.
Contact Heather Jopson if you would like to discuss your investment property – 07 3188 7651 or firstname.lastname@example.org