Floods. storms and your tenancy

Renting in Queensland and affected by floods and storms? If you want to leave or want to negotiate rent, here’s what to do.

When you rent a home in Queensland, your tenancy agreement is covered by the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008. Depending on your situation, here’s how to handle your tenancy:

I want to leave my rental property

Has your rental been destroyed, or is it now unfit to live in because of the floods or storms?

You can give a Notice of Intention to Leave using the Residential Tenancies Authority (RTA) Form 13. You can provide this notice anytime within one month of the event and leave on the same day.

Ensure you take photos and have some evidence of non-liveability if there’s a dispute about it.

The property owner wants me to leave

When your rental is destroyed or made entirely or partly unfit to live in after storm or flood damage, the lessor can give you a Notice to Leave (Form 12).

They can give you this notice within one month of the event and ask you to leave the same day.

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I’d like to stay in my rental property

If your lessor has given you a Notice to Leave, but you want to stay, you can dispute the process by using the RTA’s dispute resolution process. To do this, set out the reasons you want to stay in a letter to the lessor/agent, and send a copy of this letter with the Form 16 Dispute Resolution Request to the RTA.

Tip: Ensure you mark this Form 16 with a cover note to indicate that your tenancy is in a flood-affected area.

I’d like to negotiate a rent decrease

Has your rental been destroyed or become completely or partly unfit to live in? If you’d like to stay and haven’t been given a Notice to Leave, you can try to negotiate reduced rent with your lessor/agent.

Tip: Put any agreement in writing and keep a copy.

Can’t reach an agreement? You can apply to the RTA for dispute resolution using a Form 16. If this is unsuccessful, once you receive a Notice of Unresolved Dispute, apply to the Queensland Civil & Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) for an order about your rent decrease.

Even if you’re not living there while the property is being fixed, you’re required to keep paying rent until the dispute is resolved. If this isn’t possible for you, seek advice immediately.

My rental needs cleaning due to flood damage

If your rental property has been made dirty due to the floods, your lessor is responsible for cleaning the property and inclusions. You (as the tenant) are responsible for cleaning your goods and possessions.

Make sure you clean and remove your possessions if you’re moving out. You’re not responsible for cleaning flood damage. If there are parts of your property that aren’t flood-damaged and which you can reasonably access, return these to the condition you received them in, except for fair wear and tear.

What happens to my rental bond?

You should deal with your rental bond refund when your tenancy is terminated.

Have you and your lessor/agent agreed on your bond refund and completed the RTA Form 4 Refund of Rental Bond? The RTA can immediately refund your bond as long as the names and signatures on Form 4 match all those currently registered with the RTA.

Can’t agree with the lessor/agent about your bond? Anyone who is a party to the bond can complete a Form 4 and send it directly to the RTA.

Can I access compensation?

In most cases, compensation isn’t available for losses caused solely by flood or storm damage. That said, you may be able to claim compensation against the lessor/agent if:

  • they were notified of a repair issue prior to the act of nature occurring; and
  • they failed to repair within the permitted time stated in the notice.

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