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Important Updates to Queensland Rental Legislation

By Rhianna Forbes

You may have heard, there are new rental laws for Queensland that have been passed under residential tenancy legislation(RTRA Act).  The rental law reforms were passed by Queensland Parliament and will commence in two stages.

There are some laws that commenced upon assent on 6 June 2024 and others will come into effect on a date to be advised upon proclamation. 

The rental law changes are in summary are about:

  • Rent and Increases
  • Privacy and Access
  • Bond Process
  • Other Changes 

Rental Law Changes Effective from 6 June 2024

Rent Bidding:
Rent bidding or accepting rent offers higher than the advertised price are banned.

Maximum Rent in Advance:
A property manager/owner cannot, at the start of a new tenancy, solicit, accept or invite a tenant to pay more rent in advance that exceeds two weeks for a periodic tenancy agreement, a rooming accommodation agreement or movable dwelling tenancy agreement and one month for a fixed tenancy agreement, even if a prospective tenant makes an offer to pay more than the amount prescribed in the legislation.
Note: Throughout the course of a tenancy, a tenant may negotiate how much rent in advance can be paid. 

Rent Increases:
Rent increases are limited to 12 months and are attached to the property instead of the tenancy. Written agreements must state the date of the last rent increase.

Exemptions for Rent Increases:
Exempt property managers/owners and exempt providers/agents will be exempt from the minimum period to increase rent. The Act provides definitions for an exempt property manager/owner and an exempt provider.

Evidence of Last Increase:
A tenant may (by written notice) request from a managing party, evidence of the day of the last rent increase, which must be provided within 14 days. The requirement to provide evidence of a rent increase does not apply if the premises is purchased within 12 months of commencement,  and the property manager/owner does not have information about the date of the last rent increase.

Undue Hardship:
A managing party may apply to Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) for permission to increase rent within 12 months due to undue hardship. The tribunal must have regard to any representation made by the tenant in relation to affordability and ability to continue to pay rent.

Rental Bond:
If a bond dispute is dismissed or withdrawn at Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT), the RTA can release the bond as per the original request.

Smoke Alarm Grounds for Entry:
There are new grounds for entry to rooming accommodation to install, maintain or repair smoke alarms. 

Establish New Regulations:
Three new Heads of Power (regulations) will be established to oversee the development and implementation of (1) a new portable bond scheme (2) a rental sector code of conduct and (3) applications to make modifications for safety, security or accessibility.

Rental Law Upcoming Changes (Commencement Date Yet to be Advised):

Re-letting Costs:
Re-letting costs will be calculated on the remaining time on the tenancy or rooming agreement and whether the fixed term agreement is greater or less than three years.

Rent Payments:
Tenants must be offered two ways to pay rent including a way that does not incur more than usual bank costs and is reasonably available to a tenant.

Disclosing Benefits:
Any financial benefits received by managing parties regarding rent payments must be disclosed

Utility Bills:
A tenant must receive utility bills within a four-week time frame unless the managing party has a reasonable excuse, otherwise the tenant does not need to pay. There are also changes to how water charges are calculated and can be charged when a tenancy begins or ends during a billing period. 

Entry Notice Period and Frequency:
The minimum entry notice period will increase from 24 hours to 48 hours. There will be new limits applied to the frequency of entry after a notice to end the tenancy has been issued.

Rental Application Process:
A new standardised rental application form will be created and must be used when a tenant is applying for a rental property. Managing parties will need to provide prospective tenants with an option to lodge this form in ways other than using third-party platforms. There are also new guidelines on what information managing parties may request from prospective tenants during the rental application process.

Protecting Privacy:
New limits apply to the personal information that can be requested and collected by managing parties

Request for Fixtures and Structural Changes:
Revised process for a tenant to request fixtures and structural changes (in writing) to the managing party who must respond within 28 days.

Maximum Bond:
No more than four weeks rent can be requested by a managing party. There will be provision in certain circumstances for tenants to request a refund of bonds paid over the maximum amount prior to these changes coming into effect, as currently if the rent is higher than $700 per week, there is no maximum amount of bond and this can be negotiated.

Evidence for Bond Claims:
When making a bond claim or disputing a bond, the managing party must provide the tenant with supporting evidence within 14 days of lodging a claim or dispute.

Information Sharing:
The RTA will have the ability to share information with other regulatory bodies including the Office of Fair Trading.

New Regulations Commence:
Three new Heads of Power (regulations) commence for (1) the new portable bond scheme (2) a rental sector code of conduct and (3) applications to make modifications for safety, security or accessibility—more information will be available once regulations have been developed.

Reminder Minimum Housing Standards:
Effective from 1st September 2024, minimum housing standards will be implemented for all tenancies. More information is available on the RTA website.

These new changes that have commenced on assent were passed by parliament on 23 May 2024, however they were only announced to commence upon assent on 6 June 2024. 

Please find below a link to the Amendment Bill as well as the RTA website for more information on the new rental laws for your reference:
Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2024
RTA – Ongoing Law Changes

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