Tenancy laws are in the process of changing right around Australia, and Queensland is likely to see reforms introduced later in 2020.
We explore what’s currently under consultation and what it will mean for both landlords and renters.
After Victoria, New South Wales and the ACT finalised key changes to tenancy laws in 2019, Queensland is currently in the process of reviewing how and when our own reforms will be implemented. With the changes intended to ensure the rental needs of Queenslanders are improved over the long term, here’s how they will impact both landlords and tenants.
What are the proposed Queensland tenancy law changes?
Last year, residents were asked to have their say on how renting in Queensland could be improved. That submission period has now closed and the government is currently reviewing what – if any – changes should be implemented in order to create a healthier, more streamlined system for landlords and their tenants.
A number of policy reforms were outlined in the Stage 1 Better Renting Future statement, focusing on five priority areas:
- Minimum housing standards: Safety and security is top of the list for areas to reform, according to Minister for House and Public Works Mick de Brenni. That means all rental properties will need to meet minimum standards on weatherproofing and structural soundness, plumbing and damage, security, control of pests, ventilation, lighting, privacy and more.
- Renting with pets: A landlord’s right to refuse pets on their investment property may be stripped. However, that doesn’t mean landlords won’t have any say on the matter. They will simply need to have reasonable grounds for refusing a tenant’s request to keep a pet.
- Minor modifications: It’s uncertain yet whether renters will be allowed to make changes to a property without the landlord’s approval, however the initial proposal asked that renters be able to make health and safety, accessibility, telecommunications and security modifications without having to notify the landlord.
- Domestic and family violence: The government wants to give victims of domestic and family violence more freedom to end a tenancy immediately and without the usual notice requirement – which would typically incur monetary losses.
- Ending a tenancy fairly: Finally, under the proposed reforms, no-grounds evictions would be banned, with some interpreting this to mean that landlords will be unable to evict tenants without a cause, once a fixed-term lease agreement has ended.
While not set in stone, chances are that the five proposed changes to state tenancy laws will go ahead later this year.
I’m a landlord in Queensland – how will these changes affect me?
Despite the REIQ opposing the tenancy law reforms, the general consensus is that most of the proposed changes will be accepted. That means changes are on the horizon for landlords, and it’s important you are aware of them so you can adhere to the new rules.
You will need to ensure your property is able to meet the minimum housing standards as soon as the reforms are in place. The good news is that the changes aren’t likely to be confirmed until later this year, which gives you ample time to make any necessary improvements to your property.
It’s also crucial that you familiarise yourself with the proposed changes to your landlord rights, particularly around evictions, minor modifications and pets, and a renter’s right to end the tenancy if they are a victim of domestic or family violence.
A property management specialist can take care of your property and ensure you always align with the latest tenancy laws. This reduces your risk of litigation and also means you don’t have to worry about new changes unnecessarily harming your investment.
I’m a tenant in Queensland – how will these changes affect me?
The changes are intended to make renting in Queensland much more streamlined and comfortable for tenants. However, as it may take some time for the reforms to be enacted, it’s important that you understand how they may affect you.
At this stage, you are not entitled to keep a pet on the property without the permission of your landlord. Also, minor modifications without approval from the landlord are still not acceptable. It’s recommended that you keep the lines of communication between your landlord or the property manager open so both parties are aware of any changes to your situation.
Similarly, while no-grounds evictions are expected to be banished once the tenancy laws are updated, at this stage there have been no changes and you are still bound by the current Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008.
Following the lead of other states
The announcement that these tenancy changes will likely be implemented near the end of 2020 follows recent changes to rental laws in other states.
The hope is that these revised laws will not only give tenants greater control over how they live in the property, but that it will also reduce unnecessary interactions and disagreements between renters and landlords. Whether or not that will be the case remains to be seen. Landlords who want to reduce potential headaches from these changes should seek out an experienced property management team, who understand the legal and practical, day-to-day implications and can take care of any issues that may arise, or changes that need to be made.
Your property management specialist
With changing tenancy laws in Queensland, you need a property manager who is knowledgeable, experienced and understands how the state legal system operates. Find out more about our expert approach by contacting Aurora Realty today.