FAQ - Rental Reforms
The REIQ has gathered answers to frequently asked questions from property managers about the rental reform laws - formally known as the Housing Legislation Amendment Bill 2021 ('Bill'), which passed through Queensland Parliament last year.
1. What are the changes to the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act (and Regulations) and when do they come into effect?
The Bill introduces the following changes to the law:
- Domestic and family violence protections - which commenced on 20 October 2021;
- A framework for all parties to negotiate renting with pets - which will commence 1 October 2022;
- Approved reasons for ending a tenancy - which will commence on 1 October 2022; and
- Minimum housing standards - which will commence from 1 September 2023 for new tenancies and from 1 September 2024 for all tenancies.
2. Should we be educating and preparing our owners for these changes now?
As a professional property manager, we recommend that you familiarise yourself with the changes and provide an overview to owners. Be mindful however not to confuse your owners as to what is current law and what will become law at a later date.
The REIQ will release education materials such as webinars, articles and FAQs to assist property managers with practical advice to implement the changes. The REIQ also provides a Property Management Support Service (PMSS) which is available for property managers to get best practice advice about these matters.
Some further interim information about these provisions is here.
Domestic and Family Violence Protections
3. If a tenant is experiencing domestic and family violence, what options are available to them to end their tenancy?
If a tenant believes they can no longer safely occupy a property because of a domestic and family violence they are experiencing, they may end their interest in a residential tenancy agreement by giving seven days' notice to the landlord. Such notice must be in an approved Form 20 (located here) and be supported by the evidence. The tenant can choose to provide a copy of the evidence or allow the landlord/agent to inspect it.
4. What kind of evidence does the tenant need to provide?
- An order under the Domestic and Family Violence Protection Act 2012: a protection order, temporary protection order, police protection notice and an interstate order;
- An injunction; and
- A report about domestic violence from a health practitioner, social worker, refuge or crisis worker, support worker, case manager, an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander medical service or a solicitor.
Section 308I of the RTRA Act contains provisions relating to confidentiality. It is essential to maintain safety and confidentiality in a domestic and family violence situation. Information provided by the tenant to meet the evidence requirements may be disclosed by the landlord to the agent or the agent to the landlord. It may also be disclosed to a lawyer while obtaining legal advice or otherwise as required by the law.
Generally, the information must not be disclosed to any other person. In particular, you must not disclose it to other tenant/s of the property even if they claim to have permission of the tenant. For further information visit the RTA Website www.rta.qld.gov.au or contact the REIQ Property Management Support Service.
6. What if the tenant does not provide evidence or the landlord is not satisfied with the evidence provided?
The landlord may within seven days inform the vacating tenant whether they propose to apply to the Tribunal to have the notice set aside. The landlord may within seven days after receiving the notice ending the tenancy interest apply to QCAT for an order setting aside the notice.
7. If a tenancy is ended due to domestic and family violence, what happens with the security bond?
If there is more than one tenant listed on the tenancy agreement, the tenant can request their bond contribution be refunded and remaining co-tenants must pay the bond balance if asked to do so. The landlord/agent cannot claim re-letting costs from a person experiencing violence where their interest in the tenancy has ended, nor are they liable for property damage caused by the domestic and family violence they have experienced.
8. If a tenancy is ended due to domestic and family violence and there is more than one tenant listed on a tenancy agreement, what is the requirement to inform the remaining tenant/s of their tenancy obligations and requirement to top up the bond?
The landlord must give each remaining tenant a continuing interest notice no later than fourteen days but not earlier than seven days after the vacating tenant's interest ends. If remaining tenants are required to top up the rent bond the due date must not be earlier than one month after the notice is given to all the remaining tenants. The continuing interest notice can be located here.
9. What are the amendments relating to the death of a sole tenant?
New section 324A, which is very similar to section 277 of the current RTRA Act, has had the "two week" timeframe amended to "14 days". The landlord/agent and tenant representative can withdraw a notice so an end date for the tenancy can be agreed, or a day decided by the tribunal on application by the landlord.
If no notice is given the tenancy will end one month after the tenant's death which is the existing timeframe.
See the amendments here.
REIQ members can access flow charts for ending tenancies in domestic and family violence situations in the membership portal under 'Industry Links'.
REIQ members seeking more information can also call 1300 697 347 or email email@example.com to access the Property Management Support Service, citing their membership number. Not a member? Join today.
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