Queensland rental law changes from October 1

Residential tenancy laws in Queensland are being amended on October 1. These changes follow those that came into effect in October 2021, and there will be yet another amendment within the next two years. This article explains all the Mt Isa rental law changes.

What are the October 1 2022 changes?

There are three main rental law changes Mount Isa landlords and tenants need to understand:

1) landlords will no longer be able to advertise a ‘no pets’ policy.

However, tenants must still seek landlord approval to keep a pet at their property, and landlords still have the right to say no provided there are ‘reasonable grounds’ for doing so. Reasonable grounds could include a lack of appropriate fencing or space, or if the pet is likely to cause damage or cause unacceptable health or safety risks.

Landlords who do approve pets can also impose ‘reasonable conditions’ for allowing pets to reside at their properties. For example, that the pet must be kept outside or that the tenant must pay a reasonable bond for any damage the pet causes, and/or a reasonable amount of higher rent.

The October 1 change also excludes pet damage from the ‘fair wear and tear’ clause in rental agreements. This means that tenants are legally liable for any damage that their pet causes. The damage can’t be attributed to fair wear and tear.

2) landlords will no longer be able to end a periodic tenancy agreement simply by providing the legally required two months’ notice.

Instead, the landlord must have reasonable grounds for ending the tenancy, such as wanting to sell or develop the property or wanting to move back into it.

This change is likely to make fixed term tenancy agreements more attractive, because they can be ended simply by the agreement ending, provided the tenant is given the required two months’ notice.

3) tenants can spend up to 4 weeks rent on an emergency repair if a landlord cannot be contacted for approval, and be reimbursed by the landlord within 7 days.

Previously, a tenant could only spend a maximum of two weeks rent and be reimbursed. However, tenants must attempt to contact their landlord or property manager for emergency (and any other) repairs.

If contacted, the landlord or property manager must arrange for valid repairs to be done in a reasonable time frame. Any disputes that cannot be resolved should be referred to the Residential Tenancies Authority for a resolution.

Having an experienced property manager in place helps landlords to avoid these issues.

What was the October 2021 change?

The October 2021 change has made it easier for tenants experiencing domestic violence to end their tenancy agreements and get their bonds back. If you are in this unfortunate situation, you should contact the Queensland Residential Tenancies Authority for further advice on the steps you need to take.

How will rental tenancy law change in the next two years?

Within the next two years, the third phase of residential tenancy law changes will come into effect. These changes relate to minimum housing standards that landlords can legally offer. The minimum housing standards will come into effect from September 1 2023 for all new tenancies, and from 1 September 2024 for all existing tenancies.

The minimum housing standards include:

  • the property must be waterproof.
  • any locks on doors or windows need to work.
  • windows must have some form of covering.
  • kitchen and laundry facilities need to work.

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