Queensland - Tenancy Law Changes - 24th April 2020

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Queensland - Tenancy Law Changes - 24th April 2020

As many of you will be aware that the QLD Parliament sat on Wednesday to discuss temporary changes to tenancy legislation, and you may be wondering the outcome of that sitting.

I can update that the Queensland Parliament did pass temporary tenancy laws at around Midnight 22nd April 2020.  The laws have not yet commenced but will be backdated until 29th March 2020 and will end 31st December 2020. We shall continue to keep you up to date during this time.

Compared to where the proposed tenancy law changes started before Easter, what we are presented with now is a far more balanced and fair approach.  There is no doubt we are in unique times, and these times will impact both tenants and landlords, however the balance needs to be fair to all.  I would like to reassure you that the temporary tenancy laws we see now (in draft form still) have put our minds at ease greatly – and it should for you too.  

For instance, the announcement made pre-Easter by the government of their proposed law changes at that time, indicated tenants would not have had to provide evidence of how they were financially impacted by Coronavirus – this was completely unworkable for us to be able to represent and guide clients.  Under the current draft laws, tenants must provide evidence of loss of income, and there are now also criteria they must meet in order for the new Covid-19 temporary law changes to apply to their tenancy. These two measures remove the ability for people to make false claims of hardship.  This is not the only example of change to a more balanced approach. 

Thank you to you all that had a voice during this time to ensure that all parties were represented and heard.  

Today, we breathe a sigh of relief yet are methodically working through the 65 pages of draft legislation to ensure we continue to provide a best practice service to Clients.  As members of both REIQ and Real Estate Excellence Academy (Legislative best practice support to industry members), I assure you that you remain in safe hands with us.  Our whole team are passionate about their Clients and our Industry and we remain at the leading edge of always being across legislative change that impacts our industry. 

More information on the new temporary tenancy laws, including the Practice Guide (still in draft form) can be found here and is partly copied below for ease of reference. 

We are also updating regularly on our facebook page. We encourage you to like our page and follow us on social media as we do regularly post industry information.  While you are on our facebook page, please support us!  Like, share, comment, 5-star review us so that our voice is shared!  We always appreciate and respect the support our Clients show us – thank you all again and again, we are honestly grateful to see this mutual appreciation.  For those on linked in, I (Heather Jopson) also post personally on there with industry updates. 

Our message remains the same – if your tenant contacts us to advise they are impacted by Covid-19 we will contact you and discuss the situation.  Each situation we face will have unique circumstances, and therefore a unique approach.  If meanwhile you have any questions about this process you are of course very welcome to contact your Property Manager directly or Heather on 0421 235 664.

We remain as always, here and happy to help.

Here is some of the information from ‘The Hub’ for ease of reference:

https://www.covid19.qld.gov.au/the-hub

The following information has been sourced from the Queensland Government temporary “HUB” website as part of the Government emergency response to the crisis. www.rta.qld.gov.au 

For property owners

It’s never been more important to ensure people do not have to face the prospect of homelessness, than during this global pandemic. It’s critical from a public health perspective that people can self-isolate in their own homes, and this means ensuring that they can remain in their rental properties for the duration of this crisis. Most renters and property owners are already coming to agreements, that are meeting the needs of both parties. If you own a property for rent in Queensland, including a house, unit, share house, room, caravan or houseboat, there are rules that must be followed. Your rights and responsibilities are set out in the Residential Tenancies And Rooming Accommodation Act 2008. Neither property owners or tenants are to blame for the effects of COVID-19, and now is the time to work through this together to get out to the other side of this pandemic. In response to COVID-19, we are introducing a range of measures to support the residential rental sector: • tenants in financial distress due to the impact of the coronavirus who cannot meet their rent commitments cannot be evicted or listed in a tenancy database for rent arrears. • fixed term agreements due to expire during the COVID-19 pandemic will be extended to 30 September 2020 unless the tenant requests a shorter term. • cap break lease fees for eligible tenants – household income reduced by at least 75% and savings of less than $5,000. • owner obligations for routine repairs and inspections have been relaxed but regulatory obligations to ensure tenant safety in the rental property continue to apply. • tenants may refuse physical entry for non-essential reasons, including routine repairs and inspections, particularly if a member of the household is a vulnerable person. However, tenants must agree to virtual inspections if physical inspections are not agreed to. • tenants and property owners should work together to reach agreement. If agreement cannot be reached, parties are required to undertake conciliation to resolve disputes which aims to achieve conciliated agreements which form part of the tenancy agreement. To meet the requirements for the six-month moratorium on evictions, a household is impacted if: 1. A person is suffering excessive hardship due to the COVID-19 emergency if any of the following apply: a. one or more tenants or residents are afflicted by COVID-19 b. they are subject to a public health direction to stay at a place c. a public health direction has closed their employment or restricted their employer’s trade or business d. they are self-isolating because they or a member of their household or a someone they are a primary carer for is a vulnerable person e. they are unable to work because of a travel restriction f. they have been prevented from returning to Australia; AND 2. the person suffers a loss of income of 25% or more, OR 3. the rent payable is 30% or more person’s income. The Residential Tenancies Practice Guide provides more information about the residential tenancy changes soon to take effect. The Residential Tenancies Authority (RTA) can provide information and support tenants and property owners to reach agreement. They also offer a free dispute resolution service if you need further support.

If you need help with your tenancy, talk to the RTA:
• text (SMS) “Hi” to 0480 000 782
• call the RTA’s information hotline on 1800 497 161 from 8am to 8pm, Monday to Friday, or from 9am to 5pm, Saturday and Sunday
• Visit the Residential Tenancies Authority website.

If you have any further questions, please speak to one of our Property Managers  on 07 3188 7651

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