How thousands of Australians could end leases early and even have PETS in their rental properties thanks to a new law – but it’s bad news for landlords
- New laws have been passed in Queensland to give tenants more rights
- Means they can end leases with fewer fines and no more evictions
- Renters may also be able to keep their beloved pets in their rental properties
Legislation has been passed in the Queensland Parliament to grant greater rights to tenants who terminate leases, halt evictions without land and keep pets in rental properties.
The 2021 housing amendment bill was passed on Thursday after a parliamentary debate and the amendments proposed by the Greens throughout the week.
The new laws establish minimum quality standards and extend protections for tenants who have experienced domestic and family violence.
All Queensland rental properties must meet safety, security and functionality standards, including accessible windows and doors with working latches, fixtures and fittings.
‘Property owners have lost the right to terminate a periodic lease through notice. However, tenants retain this right,” said REIQ CEO Antonia Mercorella (stock image)
They also prohibit property owners from leaving ‘unfounded’, giving tenants more security.
Tenants can terminate their interest in a lease with seven days’ notice if they are unable to move on safely due to domestic and family violence, and housing minister Leanne Enoch says the laws are changing to protect tenants’ rights.
“Queenslanders rely on safe, secure and affordable housing and we are delivering on our election commitments to modernize Queensland’s rental laws and increase confidence in the rental market,” she said.
“About 34 percent of Queensland households rent and these new laws provide a strong, balanced approach that protects the rights of tenants and owners of rental properties, while improving stability in the rental market.”
Extensive consultation was conducted with 135,000 responses received to the Open Doors to Renting Reform consultation, while 15,000 responses were received to the regulatory impact statement.
If a tenant requests to keep a pet, the landlord must have reasonable grounds to refuse the request and respond to the request in writing within 14 days.
The new laws establish minimum quality standards and extend protections for tenants who have experienced domestic and family violence (stock image)
Pets cannot be kept if the property is unsuitable and if keeping the pet violates any laws or ordinances, and the law clarifies that normal wear and tear on the property does not include damage to pets.
But the laws have been criticized by the Greens and the Real Estate Institute of Queensland (REIQ), who warn that the legislation places heavy demands on property owners and their contractual rights.
The REIQ says the laws offer a balanced stance on rent reforms, but the pendulum has clearly swung in favor of tenants.
‘Property owners have lost the right to terminate a periodic lease through notice. However, tenants retain this right,” REIQ CEO Antonia Mercorella said.
‘Unless owners can put forward limited prescribed grounds (such as the sale of the house), they will never be able to cancel a periodic lease.
“Rental laws must be fair and balanced and support the entire rental market. We cannot have cumbersome legislation that deprives owners of their rights and undermines their right to manage an asset that they have worked hard to acquire.”
Greens MP Amy MacMahon also tabled an amendment for all real estate investor MPs to apologize for conflict of interest debate, but it was voted down.
She said that instead of the housing crisis in Queensland, there is a growing gap between those who own property and those who don’t.
“If you think this bill strikes the right balance, you have no idea what Queensland tenants are going through,” she said.
“It is unacceptable that MPs who directly benefit from sky-high rents and lax eviction laws should be allowed to participate in this debate or vote on this bill.”