Queensland Rental Law Reform

25 July 2022
Queensland Rental Law Reform

What is changing and when? 

While the new tenancy legislation has been made law, it’s important to remember that not all Queensland Rental Law Reform changes commence immediately.

The first change to be introduced is to provide options for people experiencing domestic and family violence to end a tenancy, which commenced on 20 October 2021.

The remaining reforms will be implemented in phases over a three-year period to ensure the sector has sufficient time to prepare for, understand and adopt the changes.

Summary of implementation times

  • Domestic and family violence protections – Commenced 20 October 2021
  • Framework for all parties to negotiate renting with pets – Commenced on 1 October 2022
  • Changes to approved reasons to end a tenancy – Commenced on 1 October 2022
  • Introducing repair orders as an additional pathway for tenants to have repairs addressed in a timely manner – Commenced on 1 October 2022
  • Minimum housing standards – Due to commence for new tenancy arrangements from 1 September 2023 and all tenancies from 1 September 2024

Domestic and family violence protections  – Commenced 20 October 2021

Options for people experiencing domestic and family violence to end a tenancy have commenced.

These arrangements are similar to those that were in place as temporary measures during the COVID-19 pandemic period with some changes made based on learnings from the COVID-19 implementation.

These changes confirm that tenants/residents vacating a rental premises on grounds of experiencing domestic and family violence:

  • can vacate immediately but must provide 7 days notice and pay rent until the end of the 7 day notice period
  • must complete a Notice ending tenancy/residency interest (domestic and family violence) (Form 20R20) and provide relevant evidence (such as a Domestic and family violence report)
  • are not responsible for costs relating to ending of a tenancy/rooming accommodation agreement or interest, goods left behind in the rental premises or reletting costs
  • are not required to repair or compensate the property manager or owner for damage to the premises or inclusions caused by an act of domestic and family violence experienced by a tenant/resident
  • are still responsible for costs associated with breaching terms of an agreement which are not related to the domestic and family violence (for example, rent arrears or damage to the property by a pet)
  • can request their bond contribution be refunded by completing a Bond refund for persons experiencing domestic and family violence (Form 4a). Property owners/managers can also request a rental bond refund for a tenant/resident’s bond contribution where a tenant/resident has vacated due to domestic and family violence by completing this form
  • any remaining tenants/residents can be asked by the property owner/manager to top up the rental bond within one month by issuing remaining tenants/residents with a Continuing interest notice strictly between 7-14 days only after a vacating tenant/resident’s interest in the agreement ends
  • can change the locks to the property without requiring the property owner/manager’s consent to ensure their safety but must provide copies of keys or access codes to the rental property owner/manager as soon as practicable.

It is critical that property owners/managers maintain the privacy of a tenant/resident who is experiencing domestic and family violence to ensure their safety. Penalties apply if the legislative requirements are not followed. 

Framework for all parties to negotiate renting with pets – Commenced on 1 October 2022

These changes support parties to reach agreement on renting with pets. Previously lessors have been able to decline pets at their properties for no reasons and could list a property as ‘No Pets Allowed’. Prescribed reasonable grounds for refusing a request for approval to keep pets have been introduced (such as keeping the pet would breach laws or by-laws). Strict timeframes (14 days) also apply for property owners/managers to respond to any requests for a pet or the request will be considered approved.

Find out more about the new framework to negotiate renting with a pet on the RTA website. Download the Renting with pets fact sheet or Request for approval to keep a pet at premises (Form21).

Changes to approved reasons to end a tenancy – Will commence on 1 October 2022

These changes will remove the option to end a tenancy without grounds and instead provide tenants and property owners/managers with a wider range of specific grounds on which to end a tenancy with appropriate notice with prescribed notice periods.

New grounds (reasons) for owners/managers to end tenancies include the end of a fixed-term agreement, to undertake significant repair or renovations, change of use or sale or preparation for sale of the rental property requires vacant possession.

New grounds for tenants to end tenancies include the property is not in good repair or does not comply with minimum housing standards.

Find out more about approved reasons to end a tenancy on the RTA website.

Minimum housing standards – Due to commence for new tenancy arrangements from 1 September 2023 and all tenancies from 1 September 2024 

By prescribing minimum housing standards, clarifying repair and maintenance obligations and introducing compliance mechanisms to strengthen the ability to enforce these standards, the Queensland Government aims to ensure all Queensland rental properties are safe, secure and functional.

Find out more about minimum housing standard on the RTA website or read the fact sheet on changes to repair orders.

You can also find out more about the Queensland Rental Law Reform by completing our free Tenancy Skills course. Enrol and find out more.

Information courtesy of Residential Tenancies Authority