Rental Reforms – What Do They Mean for You?

The Queensland Government are reviewing Queensland’s tenancy laws.

In 2018, the statewide Open Doors to Renting Reform community consultation invited Queenslanders to give their opinions on how to improve renting in Queensland from their past and current experiences.

The public were able to share their opinions about the reforms until 28 December 2019. This consultation is now closed, and the Queensland government are now reviewing the feedback submitted.

Five reforms have been released including ending tenancies fairly, renting with pets, minor modifications, minimum housing standards and domestic and family violence.

Reform One – Ending Tenancies Fairly

Knowing when a tenancy will end benefits both the tenant and the owner.

Tenants can plan their future housing needs and owners are able to plan for new tenants as well as knowing they have income security.

Proposed Changes

The Queensland Government have released reforms for ending tenancies fairly.

  • Owners would no longer be able to end a tenancy without a valid reason
  • The list of reasons that an owner can provide would be extended and enhanced
  • Tenants would also have additional grounds to end a tenancy.

Reform Two – Renting with Pets

In Queensland, almost 60% of households currently have pets. When looking for a rental property, pet approval is often high up on the list of many tenants.

Proposed Changes

  • Require an owner to have reasonable grounds for refusing a tenant’s request to keep a pet
  • Define reasonable grounds for an owner to refuse
  • Allow property owners to seek a Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) order to exclude pets from a property for valid reasons
  • Allow ‘pet bonds’ to be paid to cover the cost of pest control at the end of a tenancy.

Reform Three – Minor Modifications

The Queensland Government are recommending a list of proposed modifications that tenants would not need to seek approval for.

Proposed Changes

Modifications requiring no approval include:  

  • Health and safety modifications
  • Accessibility modifications
  • Security modifications
  • Modifications to provide access to basic telecommunications

Modifications with a fast-tracked (7 day) approval process would include:

  • Minor modifications to personalise or improve the amenity of the premises
  • Minor energy and water efficiency modifications
  • Connection of non-essential communication services

Reform Four – Minimum Housing Standards

The Queensland Government is recommending a set of minimum housing standards are introduced.

Proposed Changes

Some of the standards all rental properties in Queensland would need to address are:

  • Weatherproofing and structural soundness
  • Plumbing and drainage
  • Security
  • The standard of repair of fixtures and fittings
  • Control of pests and vermin
  • Ventilation, lighting and privacy
  • Cooking and food preparation facilities

Reform Five – Domestic and Family Violence

The Queensland Government want to strengthen tenancy laws to protect tenants who are experiencing domestic and family violence.

Proposed Changes

  • End tenancies in cases of DFV without penalties
  • Allow the victim of DFV to remain in the rental property and named as the tenant and remove the perpetrator from the lease without the need of a QCAT order.
  • A DFV victim would not be liable for property damage or rent arrears during the tenancy caused by acts of DFV against them.
  • A tenant experiencing DFV could change the locks to the rental property without seeking approval from the owner or manager.

To view a more in-depth explanation of the reforms, click here.

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