The campaign by the Queensland real estate industry, including landlords, to create more fairness and balance in the rental sector during the coronavirus crisis has been more successful than we dared hope!
Within only a few short days of the campaign being launched, the combined efforts of our entire sector saw an almighty backflip by the Queensland Government.
As I mentioned last week, the campaign was never about protecting one party over the other.
Rather, what we had hoped to achieve – and did – was more balance in the government’s proposed rental reforms so that the rights and responsibilities of both renters and landlords were fair. The temporary rental measures have resulted in a system that will help renters who have been severely financially impacted by coronavirus. They will also ensure that landlords will not wear most of the financial burden during the pandemic.
According to the Real Estate Institute of Queensland, which successfully spearheaded the campaign, the following amendments have been made to the proposed legislation:
- Rent payments and unpaid rent: Property owners and tenants can now agree on the terms of reduced rent and deferred repayment requirements.
- Financial hardship requirements: The combined income of tenant/s must have reduced by more than 25 per cent as a direct result of COVID-19 or where the rent amount exceeds 30 per cent of income/s and tenant/s cannot afford to pay the rent.
- Substantiation of financial hardship: Tenants must provide the same level of proof of income as is required at the start of the tenancy to seek a rent reduction.
- Entry requirements: The State Government will provide clear guidance to ensure access for essential repairs and maintenance, the sale of a property and virtual inspections.
- Break lease: To qualify for the Government’s break lease provisions, tenant/s must be in severe financial hardship which is defined as a 75 per cent reduction in combined tenant/s income and have less than $5,000 in savings.
- Extension of a tenancy: A fixed term tenancy will be automatically extended to 30 September 2020 unless agreed otherwise.
I would like to thank every landlord who took part in the campaign – without your efforts, the result may never have been achieved.
The Queensland rental sector, as well as our property investment fundamentals, remain robust following these much-needed amendments, with better times also now not far away.