Rental law reform
Housing Legislation Amendment Act 2021
The Housing Legislation Amendment Act 2021 (HLA Act) amends the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008 to progress Stage 1 of Queensland’s rental law reform.
The amendments deliver rental law reforms to improve safety, security and certainty for the Queensland rental market and aim to strike the right balance between renters and rental property owner interests for all parties to have:
- more certainty about their tenancy arrangements by encouraging greater transparency and accountability about intentions and decision making
- confidence their rental property is safe, secure and functional by prescribing Minimum Housing Standards
- certainty about how renters experiencing domestic and family violence can manage their tenancy arrangements to improve their safety without bearing the costs of the violence used against them
- frameworks to support negotiations about renting with pets and encourage more pet-friendly rental accommodation in Queensland.
What happens next?
There will be a staggered approach to commencement of the new measures.
This will provide time for renters, property owners and property managers to understand the new rights and obligations, and to prepare for them to come into effect.
A longer transition period for the prescribed minimum housing standards will support rental property owners to plan and budget for any work required for their rental property to comply with the new legislation.
Domestic and Family Violence (DFV) protections
From 20 October 2021
The temporary regulatory measures that were introduced under the COVID-19 residential tenancies response have become permanent.
Renters experiencing DFV:
- can leave immediately (after giving 7 days notice) and access any bond contribution they made
- will have break lease fees capped at 1 week’s rent
- are not liable for property damage caused by DFV
- any remaining co-renters can be asked to top-up the bond by the property owner or manager
- can change the locks to the property without requiring the owner’s consent to ensure their safety
- must provide documentation to support their claim and property owners, managers and their employees must not disclose this information (except where permitted) and may be subject to penalties if they do so.
Ending tenancies fairly
Not yet commenced
Changes under the ending tenancies fairly reforms will include:
- removal of ‘without grounds’ as a reason to end a tenancy
- new grounds for property owners to end tenancies, including the end of a fixed-term agreement, need to undertake significant repair or renovation, change of use or sale or preparation for sale of the rental property requires vacant possession
- new grounds for renters to end tenancies, including the property is not in good repair, or does not comply with the minimum housing standards.
Renters can continue to end an agreement ‘without grounds’ and both renters and property owners must provide appropriate notice for the ground (reason) they are using to end the agreement.
Property owners will be able to seek an order from the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) to terminate the tenancy for significant or serious breach of the lease by a tenant.
Renters can apply to QCAT for an order to set a notice to leave aside if they believe it has been issued in retaliation for them enforcing their rights.
Renting with pets
Not yet commenced
Changes making it easier for renters to have a pet include:
- a renter can seek the property owner’s permission to keep a pet, and property owners can only refuse a request on identified reasonable grounds, such as keeping the pet would breach laws or by-laws
- the property owner must respond to a request for a pet in writing within 14 days, or consent is implied
- the property owner’s consent may be subject to reasonable conditions such as the pet has to be kept outside. A rent increase or a pet bond are not reasonable conditions.
Minimum Housing Standards
Applying to new leases entered from 1 September 2023 and all tenancies from 1 September 2024.
Renters can have confidence their rental property is safe, secure and functional through prescribed minimum housing standards which require:
- the premises to be weatherproof and structurally sound
- fixtures and fittings to be in good repair and not likely to cause injury to a person
- locks on windows and doors
- the premises to be free of vermin, damp and mould
- privacy coverings
- adequate plumbing and drainage
- functioning kitchen and laundry facilities (where supplied).
In addition, the tenant (residential tenancies) will have 7 days to complete and return the entry condition report and tenants and property managers can authorise emergency repairs for the equivalent of 4 weeks rent.
Help and advice
If you need help with your tenancy, contact the Residential Tenancies Authority (RTA):
- Call 1300 366 311, 8.30am to 5pm, Monday to Friday
- Visit www.rta.qld.gov.au
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Open Doors to Renting Reform Consultation
A Better Renting Future Roadmap
Release of Consultation Regulatory Impact Statement
COVID-19 Emergency Response
Bill Introduction and Release of Decision Regulatory Impact Statement
Bill considered by Community Support and Services Committee
Bill debated and passed
Bill receives assent and is now law
Stage 2 Rental Law Reform
How did we get here?
In September 2018, we launched the Open Doors to Renting Reform Consultation (PDF, 3670.53 KB). Over 137,000 responses were received which saw renters, property owners and property managers provide feedback about their experiences of living in, owning or managing a rental property, and how it could be improved.
This was followed up in 2019, by the release of the Better Renting Future Reform Roadmap (PDF, 2049.76 KB), which outlines a two-stage reform approach to address feedback received during the Open Doors consultation. Over 15,000 responses were received providing community feedback on detailed Stage 1 reform options, outlined in the Consultation Regulatory Impact Statement (C-RIS) (PDF, 2950.22 KB), across 5 priority renting issues:
- ending leases fairly
- minimum housing standards
- domestic and family violence protections
- renting with pets
- minor modifications.
What we heard through consultation is that all parties want greater fairness and better balancing of renter and property owner rights. Most renters, property owners and managers want greater transparency around ending a lease and support changes that assist renters experiencing Domestic and Family Violence (DFV). Renters and property owners agreed they want a better relationship and support to resolve tenancy issues that may arise without needing to access dispute resolution or decision-making services.
In 2020, we prioritised responding to the health and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic to implement, adjust and extend temporary regulatory measures to support the residential rental sector manage COVID-19 impacts on residential leases.
We have undertaken comprehensive analysis of the regulatory and economic impacts of proposed first stage reforms. The Decision Regulatory Impact Statement (PDF, 4822.12 KB) describes consultation feedback received on Stage 1 reform options tested through the C-RIS in 2019 and provides a comprehensive cost-benefit analysis of the recommended reforms. Deloitte Access Economics has analysed the economic impacts of recommended Stage 1 reforms (PDF, 1647.13 KB) and found they are negligible.
An updated analysis of economic impacts (PDF, 1421.54 KB) was prepared with the costs related to minor modification reforms removed as these are no longer progressing as part of Stage 1 rental law reforms. Removing these costs resulted in a minor reduction in the economic impact of Stage 1 rental law reforms. The analysis was also updated for current market conditions following COVID-19 impacts on the housing market.
If you have trouble accessing any of these documents, you can request an alternative version by contacting rentinginQld@hpw.qld.gov.au.
- Last updated:
- 21 October 2021