Rental law reform

From 1 September 2023, rental properties must comply with Minimum Housing Standards when a new lease is entered into.

Working together for a better renting future

The Queensland Government is committed to working towards a better renting future for Queenslanders. The priority is to provide a strong, balanced approach that protects renters and rental property owners while improving stability in the rental market.

From 1 July 2023 Queensland’s rental laws limit the frequency of rent increases to every 12 months for all new and existing tenancies. The Queensland Government took this action to help stabilise rents in the residential rental market in response to rental affordability and cost of living pressures. This limit applies for the duration of a tenancy and if at least 1 renter remains in the same rental property when a new agreement is made.

The Queensland Government released a discussion paper to seek feedback on a potential reform to attach the rent increase frequency limit to the rental property rather than individual tenancies.

Queenslanders were asked to have their say on the potential reform from 12 July to 11 August 2023.

The objective of the potential reform was to ensure the annual rent increase limit achieves the policy intent of effectively stabilising rents in the private rental market.

Submissions have now closed and we are analysing the responses.

Submissions were received from property owners, renters, property managers and the Queensland community.

What happens next?

Feedback on the Discussion Paper will inform future policy decisions made by the Queensland Government to ensure we get rental law reforms right.

  • Stage 1 reforms implemented

  • Options Paper

  • Develop proposed reforms

  • Legislation in Parliament

  • Legislation passed

  • Stage 2 reforms implemented

Stage 2 rental law reforms

The Stage 2 Rental Law Reform Options Paper was released for consultation from 18 April to 29 May 2023. We asked Queensland renters, rental property owners and managers, and all Queenslanders what was important to them to improve rental experiences across five key legislative reform priorities to inform the development of Stage 2 Rental Law Reform.

The Options Paper sought feedback on policy options to change Queensland's rental laws and identify their impacts on 5 key legislative reform priorities included in the Options Paper (PDF, 843.23 KB):

  • installing modifications
  • making personalisation changes
  • balancing privacy and access
  • improving the rental bond process
  • fairer fees and charges.

Submissions on the Stage 2 Rental Law Reform Options Paper have now closed and we are analysing the responses.

Submissions were received from property owners, renters, property managers and the Queensland community.

What happens next?

Feedback on the Options Paper will inform future policy decisions made by the Queensland Government to ensure we get rental law reforms right.

We will consider all feedback, alongside independent economic and regulatory analysis, before proposing legislative amendments.

Help and advice

If you need help with your tenancy, contact the Residential Tenancies Authority (RTA):

You can also:

Stage 1—What's happened so far

The Housing Legislation Amendment Act 2021 (HLA Act) amended the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008 to progress Stage 1 of Queensland’s rental law reform.

The amendments delivered rental law reforms to improve safety, security and certainty for the Queensland rental market and:

  • ended without grounds evictions, providing more certainty about how and when a tenancy can end
  • strengthened protections for renters against retaliatory actions, such as eviction and rent increases, if they try to enforce their rights
  • set minimum housing standards to ensure rental properties in Queensland are safe, secure and functional
  • made it easier for renters to have a pet
  • gave renters experiencing domestic and family violence the right to end their interest in a tenancy with limited liability for end of lease costs.

Most of these reforms have commenced, including minimum housing standards for new leases entered into from 1 September 2023. Minimum housing standards will apply for all tenancies from 1 September 2024. This longer transition period for minimum housing standards supports rental property owners to plan and budget for any work required for their rental property to comply with the new legislation.

What changed

Minimum Housing Standards

Minimum Housing Standards apply to new leases entered into from 1 September 2023.

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).

Minimum Housing Standards will apply to all tenancies from 1 September 2024.

Visit the RTA website for more information about about Minimum Housing Standards.

From 1 October 2022

Strengthened repair and maintenance obligations commenced from 1 October 2022 to support the staggered introduction of Minimum Housing Standards from 1 September 2023.

Tenants (residential tenancies) have 7 days to complete and return the entry condition report and tenants and property managers can authorise emergency repairs up to the equivalent of 4 weeks rent.

Domestic and Family Violence (DFV) protections

From 20 October 2021

The temporary regulatory measures that were introduced under the COVID-19 residential tenancies response for domestic and family violence became permanent.

Renters experiencing DFV:

  • can leave immediately (after giving 7 days notice) and access any bond contribution they made
  • are not liable for property damage caused by DFV
  • are not liable for costs relating to reletting the premises
  • 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

From 1 October 2022

Changes under the ending tenancies fairly reforms 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 can 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

From 1 October 2022

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.

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, 1701.35 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.

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