The Queensland Government has announced changes to Queensland rental legislation. Under the proposed reform, landlord’s lose the right to refuse pets, tenants can modify rental properties without landlord’s consent, rental properties will need to meet prescribed standards, and landlords will lose their right to end a lease. Take a look at how these changes could impact you as the owner of a rental property.
Landlord’s right to end tenancy fairly
Under the new legislation, landlords will have limited options to ask tenants to leave unless they commit a clear breach. This would mean that landlords would not be able to end a tenancy to renovate and prepare the property for sale or ask the tenant to leave because a family member wants to move in.
The government says this reform will put an end to “retaliatory evictions”, like landlords who ask their tenants to leave after an expensive repair request. While a longer tenancy is certainly a win for landlords – less vacancy and changeover means less cost – taking away the right to end a tenancy means landlords lose their right to choose their tenants.
Renting with pets
Unless there are reasonable grounds and they can provide evidence to tenants, landlords will no longer be able to refuse a tenant with pets. Many landlords already know that allowing pets can broaden their tenant market. However, some pet allergen can be especially difficult to eradicate from a property, and as landlords will only be able to ask an extra bond of $250 to cover pest control in future, it’s unlikely this amount will be sufficient to cover any damage made by pets.
Minor modifications made by tenants
The new reforms will allow tenants to make minor modifications on the property with just 7 days’ notice to landlords. If the landlord fails to respond to the notice, it’s deemed that they agree with the modifications. While the reform admits that substantial damage to properties may not be covered by the bond, landlords will not be able to reject requests without reasonable grounds.
Minimum housing standards
The Real Estate Institute of Queensland (REIQ) has for many years advocated the need for specific standards in rental properties. However, under the new reform, tenants will be allowed to spend the equivalent of 4 weeks’ rent on any emergency repairs, a costly bill for any landlord to cover.
Domestic and family violence
In future, anyone who has experienced domestic violence as certified by an authorised professional such as a doctor or social worker, may give 7 days’ notice to move out. Affected tenants may also change the locks without waiting for landlord approval, a reform which certainly could save lives. The reform also protects the tenant experiencing domestic violence by ensuring they are not liable for any damage to the property or rent arrears during the tenancy caused by acts of violence against them.
Strongly opposed by REIQ
The Real Estate Institute of Queensland has strongly opposed the state’s proposed new rental reform laws, as it believes the changes will lead to renters struggling to find suitable housing in an already strained rental market.
REIQ CEO Antonia Mercorella said the reform would likely increase weekly rent from an average of $360 per week to $378, representing a 5 per cent rise.
“Under the reforms, landlords will see their fundamental rights eroded, making property investment far less appealing, and as a result, we’ll almost certainly see investment levels drop,” Ms Mercorella said.
You can read more about the reforms here.
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