Minister for Communities and Housing Leeanne Enoch said the new laws would end ‘without grounds’ evictions and make it easier for Queensland renters to keep a pet.
The new laws will also ensure all Queensland rental properties meet minimum quality standards and extend protections for renters who have experienced domestic and family violence.
“Queenslanders rely on safe, secure and affordable housing and we’re delivering on our election commitments to modernise Queensland’s rental laws and improve confidence in the rental market,” Ms Enoch said.
“About 34 per cent of Queensland households rent and these new laws provide a strong, balanced approach that protects the rights of renters and rental property owners, while improving stability in the rental market.
“At a time when Queenslanders are renting, and renting for longer, the Palaszczuk Government is encouraging market growth to help increase the number of rental properties in Queensland, while protecting the rights of renters.
“Our legislation strikes the right balance between the needs of the community, while also supporting continued investment in the private rental market.”
Minister Enoch said some of the proposed renting reforms, such as the domestic and family violence measure, were tested during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This provision ensures people fleeing domestic and family violence are able to end a lease with seven days’ notice or change locks in a rental property without the owner’s consent to ensure their safety,” Ms Enoch said.
“These reforms have been proposed following comprehensive public consultation, during which we received more than 135,000 responses through the Open Doors to Renting Reform consultation, and more than 15,000 responses to the Regulatory Impact Statement.”
Executive Director of Q Shelter Fiona Caniglia welcomed improved safety measures for renters in the new laws.
“Q Shelter commends measures to improve choices and safety for renters experiencing domestic and family violence. Their safety must be paramount.
“The tabled reforms are another step towards safety and security for people renting,” Ms Caniglia said.
What the new renting laws will do:
- Establish minimum standards to ensure all Queensland rental properties meet standards for safety, security and functionality. This includes making sure accessible windows and doors have functioning latches, fixtures and fittings provided in the property are in good repair and do not present a safety risk with normal use, and properties are weatherproof and structurally sound.
- End without grounds evictions and providing appropriate grounds to end a tenancy, including the end of a fixed term agreement. A rental property owner will not be able to issue a notice to leave ‘without grounds’, which will provide renters with more certainty.
- A renter can end their interest in a lease with seven days’ notice if they are unable to safely continue it because they are experiencing domestic and family violence.
- If a renter requests to keep a pet, a rental property owner must have reasonable grounds to refuse and respond in writing to this request within 14 days. Reasonable grounds include if the property is unsuitable, and if keeping the pet would breach laws or by-laws. Rental property owners can also place reasonable conditions on pet ownership, including that the pet is to be kept outside or that carpets are cleaned and the property is fumigated at the end of a lease. Rent increase is not a reasonable condition. The laws also clarify that fair wear and tear does not include pet damage.
During debate Minister Enoch also confirmed that the government is committed to progressing Stage 2 of the rental law reforms, and that minor modifications to rental properties would be progressed as a priority of the next stage.
“In progressing Stage 2 reforms in the first half of 2022, the Queensland Government will engage with key stakeholders to define the next tranche of issues to be addressed, explore reform options, and design workable solutions and consult on them,” Ms Enoch said.
For more information on the rental reform process, visit https://www.chde.qld.gov.au/about/initiatives/rental-law-reform