The Queensland Government introduced its Housing Legislation Amendment Bill 2021 into Parliament on Friday 18th June.
Rental reform has been in the news since late 2019, when the Palaszczuk government proposed a set of reforms which we believe were far too onerous for property investors. Lead by the REIQ (Real Estate Institute of Qld), property owners were very vocal about the proposed reforms, believing they would destabilise the rental market and lead to many investors leaving the market.
Since then, the REIQ has worked closely with the government on developing new key principles for the Bill. Although this Bill remains focused on tenant protections and does impose greater obligations on owners, we believe these reforms represent a much fairer and more balanced approach to what was previously proposed. Here is a summary of the key provisions:
1. Domestic & Family Violence Protections
These protections were introduced with the COVID emergency response last year, and the Bill will make them permanent provisions. Protections include the ability for a DFV victim to terminate a tenancy quickly without penalty.
2. Minimum Housing Standards
Properties will need to comply with certain safety and security standards, including fully functioning kitchen & laundry facilities, window coverings, mould-free standards, and lockable doors. Owners will have time to budget, as the provisions will not be enforced until Sept 2023.
Tenants will continue to require owners’ consent to keep a pet, but owners will be only able to refuse the request on prescribed grounds, such as the home is not suitable for pets. Where consent is granted, the owner will be able to impose special conditions such as requiring the pet to remain outside. Importantly, any damage caused by the pet will be excluded from fair wear & tear, meaning the tenant will be responsible for rectifying any damage caused by the pet.
4. Ending a Tenancy
Tenant advocates have been calling for the removal of the current ‘Without Grounds’ provision to end a tenancy at the end of a fixed-term lease, arguing that the owner must state the reason for not renewing the lease. The Bill proposes to remove the ‘Without Grounds’ provision but will add ‘End of Lease’ as a prescribed reason. This means that owners would effectively retain the right to not renew a lease at the end of a fixed-term agreement.
The Bill as been referred to the Community Support and Services Committee for detailed consideration and report by Friday 6 August 2021. The Committee is seeking submissions on the Bill by 12 noon on Tuesday 13 July 2021, and property investors are invited to make written submissions, details of which can be found HERE.
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