Reminder Members - Every best practice form/template has been updated as at 03 January 2022
20th January 2022 (Email sent to our FREE industry mailing list) Subject line Industry update - Renting during COVID-19: what tenants and property managers/owners need to know.
"Renting during COVID-19: what tenants and property managers/owners need to know" information from the RTA Latest News below. A reminder for Members of Real Estate Excellence, we emailed you a best practice guide recently via the Real Estate Excellence Member Updates service. Email us if you would like us to resend to you, or visit www.realestateexcellence.com.au/memberonline and go to Latest Member update folder, then December 2021/January 2022 folder.
Information about upcoming PME half day training events being held throughout Queensland at Training/Events (realestateexcellence.com.au). Cairns is fully booked with a waiting list available with most other areas filling fast. Book soon to avoid disappointment. A reminder only fully vaccinated people can attend the events as the venues are licensed venues.
Inspections and repairs
Queensland Public Health directives and guidelines must be followed during all inspections, including when conducting an open house. Current business restrictions mean tenants, the property manager/owner or any prospective tenants must:
- comply with the density limits of one person per two square metres
- wear face masks
- wash or sanitise hands and surfaces, and
- maintain social distancing indoors.
A reminder that rules of entry continue to apply in all situations, and entry can occur at any time by mutual agreement with the tenant under the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008 (RTRA Act).
What happens if the tenant is quarantining or in isolation?
Under the RTRA Act, property managers/owners must adhere to all laws regarding the health and safety of anyone occupying the premises. This means inspections should be postponed as required under the applicable Queensland Public Health directives at the time. If a tenant is in isolation, they are to remain in their place of accommodation and cannot allow people to enter unless in an emergency. If a tenant is a close contact or has been directed to quarantine, similar restrictions for visitors apply.
In either situation, property managers/owners should discuss next steps with the tenant and reschedule the inspection to align with the end of the quarantine or isolation period.
Can tradespeople enter a rental property for repairs?
The same rules regarding wearing masks, maintaining social distancing and hand washing or sanitising apply. Routine repairs (not emergency repairs) should be postponed if a tenant is in quarantine or isolation.
Tenants who may be vulnerable, elderly or have underlying health issues can discuss their concerns with the property manager/owner and may be able to negotiate the rescheduling of routine inspections or repairs until COVID-19 risks are reduced.
Can a property manager/owner ask the tenant to do a virtual inspection?
If the tenant is well enough, has the ability to do so and the inspection cannot be postponed, then a property manager/owner may ask the tenant for assistance with a virtual inspection. Property managers/owners and sales agents may use this method as an alternative and can negotiate this directly with the tenant if they have the capacity and consent to facilitate a virtual inspection.
It is important to remember that any images taken or footage recorded for the purposes of a virtual inspection which show the tenant’s belongings cannot be used to advertise the property without the written consent of the tenant.
Can a tenant request to know the vaccination status of the property manager/owner, a tradesperson or people attending an inspection?
No, there are currently no mandatory requirements for people entering a residential property to be vaccinated. It is up to each individual to share this information if they wish to do so.
Anyone entering the rental property for business purposes including inspection or repairs should wear a mask, maintain social distancing and wash or sanitise their hands. If someone feels unwell or is showing symptoms of COVID-19, they should not be entering.
Vacating a tenancy and cleaning
Can a property manager/owner request a tenant vacating a rental property who has had COVID-19 or been in quarantine to do additional cleaning?
The RTRA Act requires the tenant to return the premises to the same condition it was in at the start of the tenancy, less fair wear and tear. There is no requirement to deep clean.
The tenant continues to have responsibilities under the RTRA Act to ensure the premises are clean until they vacate. If tenants invite family or friends into their home who are close contacts or unwell, they need to ensure compliance with Queensland Health directives. It may be prudent to conduct a more thorough clean if deemed necessary.
If a property manager/owner is conducting the exit inspection with the vacating tenant, please take precautions and ensure you are wearing masks, sanitising or washing hands and maintaining social distancing.
What happens if the tenant is due to vacate and then forced to isolate?
The tenant and the property owner/manager should talk to each other and negotiate a solution. The tenant should notify the property owner/manager of any changes to previously agreed arrangements as soon as possible. If the vacate date needs to be changed, make sure it is put in writing and agreed by everyone. It is important that all parties comply with the Queensland Health directives.
Both the tenant and the property owner/manager have a duty to mitigate any loss particularly in this situation and work together as best they can. While there may already be a new tenant ready to move in once the existing tenant vacates the property, good communication, negotiation and understanding each other’s situation will help to resolve the issue quickly.
Shared accommodation or facilities
What happens if a resident needs to isolate or quarantine in shared or rooming accommodation?
Accommodation managers/providers cannot request the resident to move out for their quarantine or isolation period. If other residents are sharing common areas with the quarantining or isolating resident, they may want to take precautions to limit their exposure or risk, including:
- limiting time spent in shared or common areas
- cleaning frequently used facilities such as the bathroom or kitchen
- maintaining social distancing where possible
- wearing a mask and sanitising/washing hands regularly.
Whether the current Queensland Public Health directives apply to shared or rooming accommodation needs to be assessed on a case by case basis. Accommodation managers/providers should consider if other residents would need to isolate or quarantine based on current close contact rules.
If an alternative room is available, the manager/provider may negotiate with the other residents to move temporarily to limit exposure and further reduce the risk of exposure, however this may not be an option.
If residing in a body corporate complex of units, apartments or townhouses, tenants may be restricted access to shared facilities and be required to remain in their unit or townhouse for the entire quarantine or isolation period. Consideration needs to be given to the current Queensland Public Health directives and tenants may not be able to use common areas such as gym, pool or barbecue areas when they or members of their household are in quarantine or isolation.
QCAT hearings and RTA services
The Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) are proceeding with all hearings remotely via teleconferencing or videoconferencing where possible. If you are attending the QCAT premises, you will be required to comply with Queensland Health directives including registering via the Check-in Qld app, wearing a mask at all times and maintaining social distancing. If you are unwell or in quarantine or isolation, please inform QCAT as soon as possible prior to your hearing for other options available.
If you are attending the RTA front counter, please wear a mask upon entering the building foyer and register via the Check-in Qld app on arrival. During this time, we encourage customers to call us on 1300 366 311 for tenancy information and support, or use RTA Web Services for essential bond tenancy transactions.
Make sure thorough consideration is given to the health and wellbeing of everyone. Early, open and respectful communication and negotiations, whether over the phone or via email, can help identify and resolve issues during this challenging time. If you are unable to reach agreement or find solutions for tenancy issues after talking to the other party, the RTA’s free dispute resolution service may be able to help.
If you feel unwell or are displaying any COVID-19 symptoms, please stay home and get tested to reduce the risk of spread to your local community.
11th January 2022 - Email sent to Members - Subject line "Member update - Covid restrictions, entry and more." This email is in extension to an email sent on the 4th January.
10th January 2022 - Mandatory COVID-19 vaccination directions for Queensland
3rd January 2022 - Covid restrictions - Inspecting and showing property for sale and rent - Scroll down to 11th December 2021 regarding density limits information and requirements.
Mandatory face masks
From 1am AEST Sunday 2 January masks must be worn indoors everywhere in Queensland, except in your own home or accommodation, and where it is unsafe, such as while doing strenuous exercise.
From Sunday 2 January 2022, you must wear a mask indoors everywhere in Queensland. This includes:
- all indoor workplaces
- public transport and rideshare
- supermarkets and retail shops
- hospitality venues including pubs, clubs and cafes
- cinemas and theatres
- indoor stadium, sports arena or sports centre
- gyms and sport activities
- vulnerable settings like hospitals and aged care
- schools, childcare and other education facilities
- airports and on planes
You do not need to wear a mask outdoors if you can remain 1.5 metres away from others that are not members of your household.
Children under 12 years and people affected by a medical condition or disability do not lawfully have to wear a face mask. See exceptions from wearing face masks.
You are not required to wear a mask outdoors unless you can’t maintain 1.5m physical distance from other people.
Masks must be worn at indoor workplaces such as offices unless unsafe to do so.
For more information, visit here.
Changes to requirements for confirmed cases and close contacts
In line with new national guidelines, from 12am on Friday 31 December 2021, the following changes to the requirements for confirmed cases and close, casual and low risk contact have come into effect. For more information, visit here.
Isolation for confirmed cases and close contacts
The Residential Sales best practice manual which is part of the Property Management Excellence (PME) system (realestateexcellence.com.au) has been updated with a new version released and now uploading to Member login (realestateexcellence.com.au) Sales manual folder. Watch video Tips on how to use Real Estate Excellence member online and the PME system. - YouTube
Contents of the Sales Excellence (SE) manual
Chapter 1 Residential sales overview
Chapter 2 Enquiries, databases, and prospecting
Chapter 3 The listing appointment and listing the property
Chapter 4 Advertising and showing property
Chapter 5 Rental property for sale
Chapter 6 Disclosure and the law
Chapter 7 Beneficial interest and the law
Chapter 8 Auctions and the law
Chapter 9 Pricing, appraisals, and the law
Chapter 10 Contracts
Chapter 11 Time management
Chapter 12 Filing and record keeping
Chapter 13 File notes and follow up
Chapter 14 Property Occupations regulations
Chapter 15 Agency policies in general
Chapter 16 Relevant legislation references
Chapter 17 Clearance certificates
Chapter 18 Trust accounting
15th December 2021
With the opening of the state borders, the President has issued a direction aimed at ensuring that QCAT, as an essential service, continues to provide access to justice while ensuring the health and safety of all participants.
Subject to the direction of the presiding tribunal member or adjudicator, all persons not fully vaccinated and entering QCAT’s Brisbane registry at 259 Queen St should wear a face mask at all times while on QCAT’s premises. All persons entering the premises should check-in using the ‘Check in Queensland App’ and practise safe distancing.
Visit our COVID-19 page for more information.
*The QCAT Brisbane office will be closed from 4:30pm Thursday, 23 December 2021 and will reopen on Tuesday, 4 January 2022 at 8:30am. Regional registries at courthouses across Queensland are closed from Monday 20 December 2021 until Tuesday 4 January 2022.
Sourced from QCAT website
13th December 2021 - Every best practice form/template is being updated and will be released 4th January 2022
Platinum PME and Platinum non PME Members of Real Estate Excellence, every best practice form/template in all 39 folders at Member login (realestateexcellence.com.au) are being updated and will be available from January 4, 2022.
11th December 2021
From 17th December, 2021 Density limits will apply for open homes and auctions.
Sourced information and subject to change by the Queensland Government Public health and social measures from 17 December 2021 | Health and wellbeing | Queensland Government (www.qld.gov.au)
Essential services and activities
Both fully vaccinated and unvaccinated people will be able to access essential services and activities.
This means unvaccinated people will still be able to go to grocery stores, pharmacies, post offices, news agents and clothing stores, and participate in activities like going to the gym for exercise.
Capacity restrictions may still be in place at these types of businesses.
People will still need to check-in to venues. This is important to support contact tracing if there is a case at a venue. Vaccinated people can still carry the virus, although the risk is reduced.
How many people (occupant density) can be in a venue at any one time?
There are no occupant density limits on venues that are only permitted to allow fully vaccinated persons. But if an unvaccinated person is attending an event that is in a private hire venue, the event is limited to the lesser of 20 persons or 1 person per 4 square meters.
COVID-19 density restrictions may still apply to:
- Places of worship
- Community facilities such as community centres and halls, recreation centres, youth centres, community clubs, RSLs, PCYCs
- Businesses such as supermarkets, pharmacies, retail shopping centres or banks
- Government services such as licensing and registration services, Queensland Courts
- Taxis, rideshares or limousine service
- Auction houses, real estate auctions and open-house inspections
- Beauty and personal care services – such as hairdressing, beauty therapy and nail services
- Zoos and aquariums
- Gyms and physical fitness centres
- Dine-in canteens in military bases, schools, university dormitories, mining base
- Day spas and wellness centres.
From 17 December 2021, there will be no capacity restrictions on businesses that are only permitted to allow fully vaccinated people to attend, including:
- hospitality venues such as pubs, clubs, taverns, bars, restaurants, cafes and fast food outlets
- indoor entertainment venues such as nightclubs, live music venues, karaoke bars, concerts, theatres or cinemas, casinos
- outdoor entertainment activities such as sporting stadiums or theme parks
- festivals – either indoor or outdoor – such as musical festivals, folk festivals or arts festivals
- activities – either indoor or outdoor – such as convention centres and showgrounds
- Queensland Government owned galleries, museums or libraries
7th December 2021
Due to the changes to the AFA Regulations (mentioned in Media Release below 6th December and emailed to Members 6th December), Trust accounting Folder/Chapter 27 of the Property Management Excellence (PME) system (realestateexcellence.com.au) have been updated with new versions available at Member login (realestateexcellence.com.au). PME system members, 20 folders/chapters of the PME system have been updated recently. Please ensure you login to Member login (realestateexcellence.com.au) to ensure your agency is always using the latest versions of the chapters, plus best practice forms.
6th December 2021
New PME podcasts
Also available on Spotify and Property Management Excellence training podcasts Property Management Excellence (PME) Stacey Holt • A podcast on Anchor
1st December 2021
The December 2021/ January 2022 Real Estate Excellence Member Update is now at Member login (realestateexcellence.com.au) (latest member update folder) and will be emailed to Members on the 7th December 2021. The contents are below. A Sales and New smoke alarms information guide is also included as a separate attachment as part of the Member update and in the Latest Member update folder December 2021.