Rental Reforms FAQ – Supplied by REIQ

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The Real Estate Institute of Queensland (REIQ) assembled the following frequently asked questions and answers regarding the rental reform laws.

Formally known as the Housing Legislation Amendment Bill 2021, which went through Queensland Parliament last year.

1. What are the changes to the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act (and Regulations) and when will they commence?

The Housing Legislation Amendment Bill 2021 introduced the following changes to the law:

  1. Domestic and family violence protections – which commenced on 20th October 2021;
  2. A framework for all parties to negotiate renting with pets – that will commence on 1st October 2022;
  3. Approved reasons for ending a tenancy – which will commence on 1st October 2022; and
  4. Minimum housing standards – which will commence from 1st September 2023 for new tenancies and from 1 September 2024 for all tenancies.

You should be aware of what these changes are and when they will come into effect – read the Housing Legislation Amendment Act 2021’s amendments here.

2. What is the amendments relating to the death of a sole tenant?

New section 324A, which is very similar to section 277 of the current Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act, it amended the “two-week” timeframe to “14 days”.

The landlord/property manager and tenant representative can withdraw a notice so an end date for the tenancy can be agreed, or a day chosen by the tribunal on application by the landlord.

Assuming no notice is given the tenancy will end one month after the tenant’s death which is the current timeframe.

Domestic and Family Violence Protections

3. If a tenant has been undergoing domestic and family violence, what choices are accessible to them to end their tenancy?

If a tenant believes they can no longer safely occupy a property because of domestic and family violence they are encountering, they might end their interest in a residential tenancy agreement by giving seven days’ notice to the landlord/property manager.

Additionally, the tenant can decide to provide a copy of the evidence or permit the landlord/property manager to inspect it.

4. What sort of evidence does the tenant have to provide?

  • An order under the Domestic and Family Violence Protection Act 2012: a protection order, temporary protection order, police protection notice, and / or an interstate order.
  • An injunction.
  • A report about domestic violence from a health practitioner, social worker, refuge or crisis worker, case manager, support worker, solicitor, or an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander medical service.

5. What are the obligations of a property manager / landlord in relation to the information and evidence provided by the tenant about their domestic and family violence situation?

Section 308I of the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act, contains provisions relating to confidentiality. Maintaining safety and confidentiality in a domestic and family violence situation is fundamental.

Information provided by the tenant to meet the evidence requirements can be disclosed by the property manager to the landlord or the landlord to the property manager.

Additionally, the information and evidence can be disclosed to a lawyer while obtaining legal guidance or otherwise as required by the law. Overall, the information must not be revealed to any other person.

Specifically, both the landlord and property manager must not disclose it to other tenant/s of the property regardless of whether they claim to have the permission of the tenant to do so.

6. What if the tenant doesn’t provide evidence or the landlord isn’t satisfied with the evidence provided to them?

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 Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) for an order setting aside the notice.

7. What happens with the security bond when a tenancy ends due to domestic and family violence?

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 need to top up the bond balance whenever requested to do so.

The landlord/property manager 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 brought about by the domestic and family violence they have experienced.

8. In the event that a tenancy ends because of domestic and family violence and there is more than one tenant listed on a tenancy agreement, what is the prerequisite of the landlord / property manager to apprise the remaining tenant/s of their tenancy obligations and requirement to top up the bond?

The landlord / property manager must give each remaining tenant/s a continuing interest notice no later than fourteen days but no sooner 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 each of the remaining tenants.

Check out the Housing Legislation Amendment Act 2021’s amendments here.

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