On 1 October 2022, numerous changes to Queensland residential tenancy laws commenced under the Housing Legislation Amendment Act 2021 (amending the law under the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008). These changes were introduced to better regulate leased residential properties across the State and increase obligations of landlords in certain respects. They have been described by Minister for Communities and Housing as “the final step that enlivens to the important Stage 1 Rental Law Reforms passed by the Parliament in 2021”.
For tenants, the changes mean increased protections in ending tenancies, and it is now easier for tenants to keep pets. For landlords, increased repair and maintenance obligations have been introduced which align with the staggered introduction of Minimum Housing Standards from 1 September 2023 discussed further below.
Minimum Housing Standards
The Minimum Housing Standards (‘Standards’) will apply to new leases entered into from 1 September 2023 and all tenancies from 1 September 2024. According to Minister Enoch, the Standards will “help to ensure all Queensland rental properties meet basic safety, security, and functionality standards”. The Standards will require tenanted premises to be, amongst other things:
Fixtures and fittings of the premises must also be in good repair.
Under the commenced changes, tenants must return the entry condition report for the premises within 7 days of occupying the premises, and can authorise emergency repairs up to the equivalent of four weeks’ rent.
If you own a residential investment property that is tenanted, it is important you are aware of these changes and those associated with the upcoming implementation next year. Now is the time to plan ahead for any work that may be needed to comply with the Standards and the legislation by 1 September 2023.
If you own a property in a community titles scheme, you should aim to clarify your personal obligations as owner with the body corporate prior to the Standards being enforced in September 2023. The new regulations may cultivate disputes in body corporate schemes as to who is responsible for what – the owner or the body corporate, and therefore it is important owners think ahead.
From 1 October 2022, landlords are no longer able to end tenancies ‘without grounds’. However, tenants are able to end tenancies in this manner. Tenants can also end tenancies in situations where the property is not in good repair or fails to meet the Standards.
There will be new grounds for property owners to end tenancies, including ending a fixed term agreement:
However, where there has been a serious breach of a lease by a tenant, landlords will have to seek an order from QCAT to terminate the tenancy.
The changes will make it easier for tenants to keep pets. The tenant can seek the owner’s consent, and owners can only refuse a request to keep a pet on identified reasonable grounds. For example, if keeping the pet would be in breach of the law or applicable by-laws. Consent may be subject to conditions such as only keeping the pet outside. If property owners do not respond to requests within 14 days, consent will be implied.
If you would like further guidance around the reforms and their effect on your personal circumstances, please contact us by email or phone 07 3220 1144. Likewise, if you require assistance with another property-related matter, we can certainly assist.
The information in this blog is intended only to provide a general overview and has not been prepared with a view to any particular situation or set of circumstances. It is not intended to be comprehensive nor does it constitute legal advice. While we attempt to ensure the information is current and accurate we do not guarantee its currency and accuracy. You should seek legal or other professional advice before acting or relying on any of the information in this blog as it may not be appropriate for your individual circumstances.