By Corinne Bohan, Managing Director
The Queensland Government has amended the legislation for residential tenancies.
Under the review of The Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008 (Qld), some amendments have already come into effect, however, there are significant changes that will become law on 1 October 2022.
At Image Property, we pride ourselves on delivering the most professional services to our landlord clients, including ensuring that we are across any legislation changes that impact your rights and responsibilities. This includes implementing changes at agency-level to ensure that we are always compliant with the required legislation.
Our property managers have already undertaken training about the new legislation and will continue to receive ongoing training to ensure they continue to be across the new legal requirements.
The vast majority of amendments will have little or no direct impact on most investment property owners in Queensland, however, there are some changes that we believe it is vital for every landlord to understand as is outlined below.
1. Notice to terminate
When there is no fixed-term lease agreement in place – that is, the lease is classified as periodic – it was previously possible to issue a Notice to Leave form to the tenants without grounds and with two months’ notice. However, from 1 October 2022, this will no longer be the case.
From that date onwards, it will only be possible to issue a Notice to Leave for tenants on a periodic lease for a very small number of prescribed grounds, such as the sale of the property.
This is not the case for fixed-term tenancies, which makes it vital for you as the property owner to not allow your tenancy to fall into a periodic agreement as it will severely limit your ability to end the tenancy.
2. Pets policy
The updated legislation also makes it more difficult for landlords to refuse a tenant’s application for a pet.
Fundamentally, a landlord will have limited reasons to refuse the application and must respond within 14 days or the request will be automatically deemed “approved”.
To mitigate the tension between pet owners and landlords on this issue, though, the amendments provide some protections for property owners from damage.
That is, pet damage has been excluded from the definition of fair wear and tear. This means property owners will be able to seek compensation for damage that’s caused by pets. Owners can also impose conditions on the approval of a pet.
3. Emergency repairs
The maximum spend for emergency repairs have also been amended as part of the updated legislation.
The maximum spend for emergency repairs has been increased from two to four weeks’ rent. This means that a tenant or property manager will be authorised to action an emergency repair up to this value, if necessary, without a landlord’s approval.
The nominated and approved repairers (if any) outlined in the lease would always be contacted first in this situation.
In an emergency repair situation, professional property managers will also attempt to contact their landlord clients in first instance for approval, but if they are not able to do so, they would be entitled to spend up to this maximum level to remedy any emergency repairs necessary at that time.