Palaszczuk Government moves to make renting fairer
Published Friday, 18 June, 2021 at 12:09 PM
Minister for Communities and Housing, Minister for Digital Economy and Minister for the Arts
The Honourable Leeanne Enoch
The Palaszczuk Government is delivering on its commitment to make renting fairer, with the introduction of new legislation into Queensland Parliament today.
The proposed laws will make it easier for Queensland renters to have a pet, and end ‘without grounds’ evictions, providing more certainty about ending a lease.
Minister for Communities and Housing Leeanne Enoch said the proposed reforms provide a balanced approach and help deliver certainty for the 34 per cent of Queensland households who rent.
“Queenslanders rely on safe, secure and affordable housing and we’re delivering on our election commitments to improve confidence in the rental market,” Ms Enoch said.
“The new laws provide a strong, balanced approach that protects the rights of renters and lessors, while improving stability in the rental market.
“At a time when more Queenslanders are renting, and renting for longer, we need to encourage market growth to help increase the number of rental properties in Queensland, while also protecting the rights of tenants.
“Our legislation strikes the right balance between the needs of the community, while also supporting continued investment in the housing market.”
The new laws will ensure all Queensland rental properties meet minimum quality standards, will provide clarity about the end of a tenancy, and will make it easier for renters to have a pet.
“We are also ensuring people fleeing domestic and family violence are able to end a lease with seven days’ notice, to ensure there is no barrier to being able to end a lease quickly and safely.”
These reforms progress Stage 1 of the Palaszczuk Government’s rental law reforms.
Ms Enoch said that some of the proposed renting reforms, such as the domestic and family violence measure, were tested during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“These reforms have been proposed following public consultation, to ensure all Queenslanders could have their say.
“We also received over 135,000 responses through the Open Doors to Renting Reform consultation, and over 15,000 responses when we consulted on Stage 1 reforms through the Regulatory Impact Statement,” Ms Enoch said.
Minister Enoch said the Greens’ renting Bill which was introduced in May would make it less likely that an owner would rent out their property.
“What we need right now are more rental properties available for Queenslanders and their Bill will do the exact opposite.
“Once again, the Greens have demonstrated they are incapable of balanced and responsible policy-making,” Ms Enoch said.
Ms Enoch said that seniors living in resident-operated retirement villages would also benefit from the amendment legislation introduced today.
“The proposed changes will deliver on another of our election commitments, to enable resident-operated retirement villages to be exempted from mandatory buyback requirements under the Retirement Villages Act 1999,” she said.
“This will provide certainty and peace of mind to a small number of retirement villages where residents control and operate the retirement village themselves.”
Real Estate Institute of Queensland CEO Antonia Mercorella said the government consulted extensively with various stakeholders to seek a fair and balanced outcome in the renting reforms.
“We recognise that tenancy laws in Queensland must be modernised to keep pace with our changing rental landscape. In circumstances where 36% of our community rent their homes, the right regulatory framework is critically important to provide security and certainty to both tenants and owners,” Ms Mercorella said.
Micah Projects CEO Karyn Walsh said the domestic violence provisions in the Bill were vital during the COVID-19 health emergency.
“I applaud the Government for ensuring that these provisions will remain in legislation. Being able to leave a tenancy without a financial burden is an important consideration for women and families fleeing domestic violence,” Ms Walsh said.
Media contact: 0437 859 987
What the new renting laws will do:
- Establish minimum standards to ensure all Queensland rental properties meet standards for safety, security and functionality. This includes making sure accessible windows and doors have functioning latches, kitchen and laundry facilities are in good repair and do not present a safety risk with normal use, and properties are weatherproof and structurally sound.
- Provide clear approved grounds for how a tenancy can be terminated. For a lessor, this can include: end of the agreed term under a fixed term lease, significant repair or renovation needing to occur, sale of property, and owner occupation. Lessors will also be able to seek an order from the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal to terminate the tenancy for significant or serious breach of the lease by a tenant. For a tenant, this can include: property not being in good repair and not complying with minimum standards, lessor provided false or misleading information about the lease or property, co-tenant is deceased.
- A property owner will not be able to issue a notice to leave ‘without grounds’, providing tenants with more certainty.
- A tenant can end their interest in a lease with seven days’ notice if they are unable to safely continue it because they are experiencing domestic and family violence.
- If a tenant requests to keep a pet, a lessor must have reasonable grounds to refuse and respond in writing to this request within 14 days. Reasonable grounds include if the property is unsuitable, and if keeping the pet would breach laws or by-laws. Lessors can also place reasonable conditions on pet ownership, including that the pet is to be kept outside or that carpets are cleaned and the property is fumigated at the end of a lease. Rent increase is not a reasonable condition. The laws also clarify that fair wear and tear does not include pet damage.