New rental laws will come into effect in Queensland in under two months, with most changes working in favour of tenants.

Most of the changes are being phased in over three years, but 1 October 2022 will see reform around pets and terminating tenancies.

Landlords will need to provide a reason for declining a request for pets

Under this change, tenants will still have to seek consent for a pet, but the lessor will no longer just be allowed to refuse – and can no longer advertise properties with a no-pet caveat.

Every request for approval will need to be considered in its individual circumstances. A lessor will only be allowed to say no to a pet request if they can establish one of the prescribed grounds available.

This could include existing body corporate by-laws, if the premises weren’t appropriate for the pet (for reasons like size or security), or if the pet was deemed dangerous, such as a venomous snake.

Under the changes, property owners will also be required to respond to a tenant about their request for a pet within 14 days. No response will indicate approval.

For landlords allowing pets, ‘pet damage’ will be excluded from general wear and tear, offering some greater protection.

This means at the end of your tenancy, you have to give the premises back in the same condition it was at the outset of the tenancy.

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Changes to the grounds on which a tenant/landlord can terminate a lease

From 1 October 2022, the grounds on which a tenant or landlord can terminate a lease will also change.

Property owners can no longer end a tenancy without providing a reason that meets specific criteria. Even still, the tenancy won’t be able to end before the originally agreed date.

If your lessor or their immediate family member wants to move into your rental, they can’t end your fixed-term tenancy before it’s due to end. They will still need to provide two months’ notice.

Changes to periodic tenancies

The reforms will also make some interesting changes to periodic tenancies, which may bring them to an end. The changes mean your landlord cannot end a periodic tenancy without meeting one of the prescribed grounds. Tenants, however, will retain this right.

Effectively, unless the property owner can establish limited prescribed grounds (such as the sale of the property), they will never be able to terminate a periodic tenancy.

This could be a negative if you’re a tenant seeking maximum flexibility through a periodic lease for reasons like a job change, finalising your next property or needing a slight lease extension.

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What’s next for rental reform in Queensland?

The third phase of reforms won’t come into effect until September 2023 and relate to minimum housing standards a property must meet in terms of its structural nature, having working facilities, security and privacy features.

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