Q&A – New COVID Tenancy Laws

Property Management,  Property Managers

Queensland’s residential tenancy eviction freeze ended yesterday and undoubtedly, property managers have questions over what protections will remain until the end of this year, and what will change as of 30 September 2020. We’ve provided clarity over some of the most commonly asked questions.

1. What COVID-19 protections will continue to apply until the 31st of December, 2020?

  • provisions allowing tenants experiencing domestic and family violence to end their tenancy quickly,
  • protections for tenants against being listed in a tenancy database for rent arrears caused by COVID-19 impacts
  • limits on reletting costs for eligible tenants who end their fixed term lease early
  • short term tenancy statement extensions
  • entry restrictions and requirements to support COVI D-19 social distancing measures relaxed repair and maintenance obligations.

2. What is changing?

  • fixed term lease extensions for COVID-19 impacted tenants,
  • ending agreement provisions that prevent property owners ending leases with COVID-19 impacted tenants without grounds and provide additional grounds for parties to end leases,
  • adjusted rent and bond processes that support parties to negotiate arrangements to manage COVID-19 impacts on their leases, and
  • mandatory conciliation of COVID-19 related tenancy disputes through the Residential Tenancies Authority.

3. What is an example of a specific amendment to the Regulation that will impact on selling tenanted property?

Section 35 of the RTRA (COVID-19 Response Measures Regulation) allowed the owner to issue two months’ notice for a fixed term tenancy to either prepare the property for sale or in the event the property was sold and the buyer required vacant possession.  This has now been repealed and the normal provisions of the RTRA Act apply.  Additionally, section 35 required the owner to provide two months’ notice for a periodic tenancy if a property was sold and the buyer required vacant possession.  This will now revert to the requirement for 4 week’s notice.

4. Where can I find more information?

Property Managers can find these changes outlined in the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation (COVID-19 Emergency Response) Amendment Regulation 2020. There’s also more information in the regulation’s explanatory notes.

The Queensland Government has advised that an updated version of the Residential Tenancies Practice Guide will be published on their Residential Rental Hub website. This guide will provide simple and practical information on the changes, including case studies.

You can read about what support measures will continue to apply until 31 December 2020 on the Queensland Government’s Residential Rental Hub website.

For a comprehensive update on the moratorium, REIQ Members can watch a webinar hosted by REIQ CEO Antonia Mercorella and PMSS Team Member Connie McKee by clicking here. The REIQ will also be developing an array of resources for its members – stay tuned via the Property Management Update for more information.

For any questions not answered on this topic or any other area of property management, REIQ Members can call the PMSS Team on 1300MYREIQ (1300 697 347) or email pmsupport@reiq.com.au.  Not a member? Join us today!

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