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New tenancy laws were passed on 14 October in the Queensland Parliament. 

Changes include:

  • the reasons tenancies can be ended,
  • the introduction of minimum housing standards 
  • renting with pets; and
  • increased protections for people experiencing domestic and family violence

To find out more detail go to the overview on the Make Renting Fair website.


Thank you to those Tenants who took the time to share their artwork or photos with us for our International Tenants Day 2021 Competition

We are happy to announce this year’s winner, Ali Scott, who has depicted the sentiment of many renters in a fun and colourful way!

Congratulations Ali!

 


Happy International Tenants Day – that’s today – the first Monday in October! 

The International Union of Tenants (IUT) based in Sweden announced this year’s ITD theme as ‘Covid recovery, climate, and construction’. The IUT is calling for Security of Tenure, Rent Stabilisation and Rent Controls. “The focus should be on the needs of citizens for more affordable housing rather than letting short term speculative practices dominate the property market”.  See their YouTube video here.  

You might also want to check out how you can support improvements to Queensland tenancy laws by heading to the Make Renting Fair website or joining the Make Renting Fair in Qld online Rally on Thursday on Facebook. [click to continue…]


Renting Matters Competition

Monday October 4th 2021 is International Tenants’ Day (ITD). International Tenants’ Day has been celebrated annually on the first Monday in October since 1986 as a day to promote and raise awareness of tenants’ rights across the world. Tenants Queensland invites all renters across Queensland to participate in our photo, video or drawing competition, capturing why renting matters. Share with us and tell us in a brief caption “Renting matters because…” 

You have until October 1st to send your entry.

Click this link for the full details

 


Tenants Queensland is utterly disappointed with the report from the parliamentary committee on tenancy law changes, released on 16 August. The parliamentary committee has made the following recommendations about the government’s bill:

Recommendation 1 – The committee recommends the Housing Legislation Amendment Bill 2021 be passed.

Recommendation 2 – The committee recommends that the Department of Communities, Housing and Digital Economy develop a framework for data collection about how residential tenancies are managed and ended.

The committee supports the removal of ‘without grounds’ as an approved termination reason for lessors and the introduction of additional approved grounds. The committee believes that this will be an important step towards providing more certainty, transparency and accountability for all parties in the rental sector.

The committee acknowledges calls for the removal of ‘end of tenancy’ as an approved ground for agreement termination by organisations such as Tenants Queensland and the Queensland Human Rights Commission. The committee also acknowledges views that the removal of ‘without grounds’ for periodic agreements will result in a number of unintended consequences, including the creation of in perpetuity leases. On balance, the committee believes that amendments around managing and ending of tenancies achieve an appropriate balance between the rights of renters and lessors. That said, the committee believes that it will be important for the department to maintain a close watching brief on the impacts, intended and otherwise.

The committee also noted the evidence from the Queensland Law Society which called for the government to consider ways to incentivise the agreement of longer term leases at the outset of any contract through education and awareness.

Recommendation 3 – The committee recommends that the Department of Communities, Housing and Digital Economy work with community housing providers to ensure head leasing contractual practices align with the amendments in the Bill.

The committee acknowledges the important and specialist services provided by community housing organisations to support vulnerable people access and sustain housing. The committee recommends that the department work with community housing providers to ensure head leasing contractual practices align with the amendments in the Bill.

Recommendation 4 – The committee recommends that the Department of Communities, Housing and Digital Economy closely monitor and evaluate, in consultation with relevant stakeholders, implementation of the minimum housing standards reforms, to inform consideration of whether stronger compliance mechanisms are required.

The committee supports the proposed amendments which will provide for the introduction of prescribed minimum housing standards which will require all Queensland rental accommodation to meet minimum safety, security and functionality standards. As with amendments relating to ending and managing tenancy agreements, the committee is of the view that the department will need to closely monitor and evaluate the implementation of these reforms. This will be important to inform consideration as to whether stronger compliance mechanisms are needed going forward.

Recommendation 5 – The committee recommends that the Department of Communities, Housing and Digital Economy ensure that accessible advice is provided to eligible retirement villages to ensure that they can navigate the exemption process efficiently and effectively.

The committee supports the proposed amendments to the Retirement Villages Act and notes the broad support from inquiry participants for them. The committee notes that should the Bill be passed, the department will contact individual villages which may be eligible for the exemption. The committee recommends that the department ensure that the necessary accessible advice is provided to eligible villages to ensure that they can navigate the exemption process efficiently and effectively.

Minor Modifications

The committee acknowledges the numerous calls for legislation that would enable renters to make minor modifications to their homes and the impact that such modifications can have on the wellbeing and safety of tenants. The committee also acknowledges that the national regulatory environment is complex and evolving and that this matter will be addressed in future reform stages. The committee encourages the department to ensure that the views of this inquiry’s stakeholders are taken into consideration in the development of minor modification proposals.

The committee has also recommended that the Queensland Green’s Private Members Bill not be passed. There is a dissenting report from the member for Maiwar, Michael Berkman, available on that link, commencing after page 51.

Whilst TQ considers the government included positive aspects, it is disappointing to see the committee recommend the continuation of notices to leave without fair grounds, albeit newly named ‘end of a fixed term’.  We do not consider that is adequate protection for the growing number of Queenslanders, many with dependent children, who are long term renters.  We will continue to campaign for changes until the passage of the legislation.  We will also provide more information as we have time to read these reports in detail.
Tell your state MP it’s not good enough – it’s take only 60 seconds using this link.


COVID-19 Lockdowns may impact tenants in several ways, as outlined below. Tenancy law still applies during lockdown, however all parties must follow the public health orders (link below).
 
Emergency Repairs: contact the nominated tradesperson on your tenancy agreement and send an email to your real estate agent/lessor.
 
Inspections: can take place only by private appointment. Contact details must be collected; physical distancing must be practiced, and masks must be worn (unless there is a medical exemption or it is unsafe to do so).
 
Moving In: if the real estate agent office is closed, send an email and request a call back.
 
Moving Out: It is the tenant’s responsibility to do an exit condition report and send this to the agent/lessor. If the real estate agent office is closed, send an email asking for instructions about returning the keys.
 

If you’re interested in our brief thoughts on the government’s Housing Legislation Amendment Bill 2021. Read them here.


The Parliamentary Committee on the governments proposed new tenancy laws is still considering all submissions to it, but your voice can still be heard!

If the laws are passed as proposed, renters will still face evictions for no good reason.

You can help make change in three simple steps:

  1. Send a letter to your MP here
  2. Sign up to the Make Renting Fair in Queensland campaign to get updates here
  3. Get your friends, family and any concerned clients to sign up for the Make Renting Fair in Queensland campaign.

Removing the ability to end a tenancy without a fair and just reason is core to improving the situation for renters and evening up the bargaining power. Without this, other positive changes – and the ability to stand up for your rights – are undermined by the continuing fear of eviction without fair reason.

Together we can improve renting for all Queenslanders by making renting fair, safe and certain.


Submission due by midday July 13!!! The Community Support and Service Committee of the Queensland Parliament have just called for  submissions on the government’s proposals to change tenancy laws. The proposed laws are a watered-down version of what the government released in the Regulatory Impact Statement of late 2019, before  COVID hit us all. TQ is disappointed with this version and will make a submission to that effect.

We encourage all renters to make a submission as well. You only have until midday on Tuesday July 13. In the coming days we will share our thoughts. You may already be in the position to start your submission. Here is the link to the Committee’s request    When we have a draft we will circulate this. 


MEDIA RELEASE

15 June 2021

Queensland’s tenancy experts describe State Budget a ‘mixed bag’ for Queensland renters.

While the increased investment in social housing in today’s Queensland State Budget is a step in the right direction, Queensland renters continue to be forgotten as the state battles through a housing crisis.

Since the beginning of the COVID19 pandemic, Tenants Queensland, the state’s specialist tenancy service, has seen a significant increase in demand for advice and assistance from Queensland renters experiencing housing stresses.

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