Proposed Queensland rent reforms

The Queensland State government has proposed a series of rent reforms that will have significant implications for both Mount Isa landlords and tenants if they are passed. Read on to find out everything you need to know about the proposed rent reforms.

Proposed reform 1: Ban on accepting rent bids higher than the advertised rental price

Rent bidding is where potential tenants are encouraged by an agent or landlord to offer higher than the listed rent in order to increase the chances of their rental application being accepted. Currently, accepting a higher bid than the advertised rental price is not illegal if the offer is proactively made by a potential tenant, but a property manager or tenant cannot:

  • advertise a rent range for a property (i.e., there must be a fixed rental price advertised).
  • have a rent auction.
  • encourage renters to outbid each other.

However, the proposed change would ban tenants from proactively rent bidding.

Proposed reform 2: Rent increases to be limited to once per property per year

Rent increases are currently limited to one per 12-month tenancy agreement. However, the proposed reform would limit the increase to one per 12 months per rental property. This would mean that if a property changes hands within 12 months and it has already had a rent increase, then that total rent amount would be the maximum that can be charged to the new tenant until it has been 12 months since the last increase.

Proposed reform 3: Introduction of a rental bond rollover scheme

This proposed reform would enable tenants’ rental bonds to be transferred between tenancies when they move.

Proposed reform 4: Landlord entry notice period to increase

Landlords are currently required to give tenants 24 hours’ notice if they want to enter the rental property. The reform proposes to increase this notice period to 48 hours.

Proposed reform 5: Introduction of fee-free rental payment options

Currently, it’s not compulsory for landlords to offer fee-free rental payment options to their tenants. Many rent payment options (such as rent payment cards, third-party platforms, cheques or money orders) incur fees. However, if this reform is passed, at least one fee-free rental payment option (such as direct deposit) must be made available to tenants.

Proposed reform 6: Tenant utility bills to be sent within a month of receipt

This proposed reform would require landlords or their property managers to send any utility bills that are the tenant’s responsibility (such as water consumption charges) within one month of receipt from the utility provider.

Proposed reform 6: Limiting break lease/reletting fees

Currently, these fees can include the loss of rent until either a new tenant is found or the lease ends, as well as advertising costs and other reletting fees. However, this proposed reform would require lease break and reletting fees to be limited based on the lower of the below two calculations:

  • the rent payable until the property is relet.
  • 4 weeks rent if 75% or more of the lease term remains
  • 3 weeks rent if 50 to 75% of the lease term remains
  • 2 weeks rent if 25 to 50% of the lease term remains
  • 1 week rent if less than 25% of the lease term remains.

The bottom line

Note that these rent reforms are only proposals at this stage. They still need to be passed by State parliament. If or when that will happen is uncertain, especially with a State election looming later this year where there may be a change of government.

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