New tenancy laws – DFV provisions
The new Queensland tenancy laws coming into effect on 1 October 2022 largely replicate domestic and family violence provisions introduced in 2021.
Property managers should always exercise caution when dealing with tenants who are experiencing domestic and family violence.
Some key points of the legislation include:
- The affected tenant may choose to either leave or stay at the property and, if they stay, they are entitled to change locks.
- If the tenant believes they can no longer safely stay at the property, they can choose to leave and end their interest in the tenancy.
- They must give you the prescribed form – Form 20 Notice Ending Tenancy Interest (domestic and family violence).
- The notice must be supported by relevant prescribed evidence of domestic violence, for example, doctor’s report, psychologist report, a protection order. The requirements are set out in Part B of the Form 20. The tenant may let you view the evidence or provide a copy to you.
- It is important to understand that property managers cannot assess the truth or accuracy of the domestic and family violence that the tenant claims they are experiencing.
- The RTA also has a prescribed Domestic and Family Violence Report which may be given by an authorised professional as part of the tenant’s evidence.
When you receive the Form 20
- Within seven days of receiving a Form 20 notice, you must tell the tenant if you intend to dispute the notice.
- The only reason you (or the lessor) can dispute the Form 20 notice is because the notice is not compliant, or the correct evidence has not been given.
- You cannot make your own determination about the truth of the domestic and family violence situation the tenant may be experiencing.
- If you dispute the Form 20, you must make the application to QCAT within seven days after receiving the notice.
What are the next steps if the Form 20 Notice is compliant?
- If the Form 20 notice is compliant, then you must notify the tenant within seven days that you do not intend to apply to QCAT to set aside the notice.
- Where a co-tenancy applies, you must also confirm the date that you will tell any remaining co-tenant/s on the same tenancy agreement that the vacating tenant has ended their interest.
- Notably, this may include the person who perpetrated the domestic and family violence.
- There are strict limits on when you can notify the remaining tenant/s that the vacating tenant has left. You must not notify them earlier than seven days after the Form 20 notice is given and no later than 14 days after the Form 20 notice is given.
When can the tenant leave?
- The tenant can leave immediately if the notice is compliant. Despite when the tenant leaves, they are required to pay rent for the full seven-day notice period.
- The tenant is not required to give a forwarding address.
For more information on domestic and family violence provisions regarding tenancies – including what happens with costs and bonds – please download our New Tenancy Laws Toolkit.
REIQ members can also contact the Property Management Support Service for advice on 1300 697 347 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
While you may not be able to officially assess a domestic and family violence situation, you may still be able to offer your support. Find out more here.