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The New Rental Laws: The Fine Details
Following on from our post yesterday, new rental laws were passed on Wednesday evening in Parliament.
The new laws include a range of protection measures for tenants, including a ban on evictions if tenants are unable to pay their rent due to being impacted by COVID-19.
But did you know, affected tenants are required to provide evidence?
What Are The Requirements?
- A tenant is eligible if they have COVID-19, care for someone who has COVID-19 or are subject to a quarantine direction and suffer a loss of income of 25 per cent or more, or rent payable is 30% or more of their income.
- Tenants are required to provide upon request documents to show they are impacted by COVID-19, which include proof of job termination/stand down, government income support, a medical certificate and prior income.
- Tenants and landlords are encouraged to agree on solutions together and if they can’t, they must use the Residential Tenancy Authority’s conciliation service.
- It will be mandatory to go to conciliation for rent variation, ending agreements or gaining entry to properties for repairs and maintenance.
- If conciliation is unsuccessful, they can go to the Queensland Civil Administrative Tribunal (“QCAT“). In the interim, the tenant must keep paying the required rent or “as much as they can afford”.
- The tenant must notify the property owner is there is a change in circumstance, regardless of whether there is an increase or a decrease in the total household income.
- If a property owner is reliant on rental income to meet essential costs of living, they should raise the concerns during conciliation with their tenants and the owner may have to provide evidence to support their position.
- Landlords and tenants should discuss the duration the new rent amount applies for and when it will be reviewed.
- The tenant can ask the lessor for the rent amount to be reviewed at any time during the agreed variation to rent if the household’s circumstances change.
- The owner must give two months’ notice to sell the home, or if they or immediate family need to move in.
- Tenants experiencing domestic and family violence can end their tenancy agreement with seven days’ notice.
- Fixed term agreements due to expire during the pandemic will be extended until September 30, or unless the tenant requests a shorter term.
- Tenants may also refuse physical entry for non-essential reasons, including routine repairs and inspections. But, tenants must agree to virtual inspections if physical inspections cannot take place.
How We Can Help
Quinn & Scattini have a wealth of experience in preparing, reviewing and negotiating leases, and also in handling unusual circumstances and disputes. Even though leasing can be complex, we communicate with you in plain English and we are upfront with you about cost.
Our team of lawyers are experts in their field and go above-and-beyond to deliver the best result, each and every time. We are proud to provide 5 star customer service to our clients.
As one of our clients said “Invest in the best – Q&S“.
We are available to meet with you at any of our local offices (Brisbane, Gold Coast, Beenleigh, Cleveland and Jimboomba) or by telephone or video-conference.
Cameron, D,”Queensland’s new rental laws to deal with COVID-19 impacts explained”, 24 April 2020
This article is for your information and interest only. It is not intended to be comprehensive, and it does not constitute and must not be relied on as legal advice. You must seek specific advice tailored to your circumstances.