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RTRA Act review - Queensland

Running blog in date order of events - author Stacey Holt. Scroll down the blog

Please SCROLL down this page RTRA Act review - 30 September to 30 November 2018. Written submissions are still being accepted until 21st December 2018.

 www.qld.gov.au/rentinginqld or google 'open doors to renting reform".

The following blog is in date order of events and submissions. Scroll down to review. The blog begins (from the bottom of the blog) from when the Act started being review in 2012, then 2014 and the Government housing strategy release in 2016. The Act was amended 10 November 2017 to allow for the regulation of minimum housing standards for Queensland rental property.  (as noted below in date order of blog)  Stacey Holt

Final blog statement

With the Ministers  tweet and media release  this morning I shared, it’s game over.

All we can do is hope for the best and remember, it will work out and we will deal with it. 

I’m done and not investing anymore time as I believe the Labor Government in Queensland already know what they are going to change and do.  Stacey Holt. 

7th December 2018 -  Queensland Government media release Housing Minister re the RTRA Act review

Minister for Housing and Public Works, Minister for Digital Technology and Minister for Sport
The Honourable Mick de Brenni

Thursday, December 06, 2018

Victorians’ vote on rental reform a good guide for Queensland.

After a 9-week consultation into the current rental laws in Queensland, the Palaszczuk Government has received a record breaking 130,000 responses from Queenslanders wanting to see change.

Minister for Housing and Public Works Mick de Brenni said the consultation reflected a national trend in the need for greater housing affordability.

“This is the first time the Queensland State Government has delivered a consultation on this scale. It has completely surpassed our expectations and I expect that this is down to the fact that housing security is a huge issue for Queenslanders,” Mr de Brenni said.

“We’re reaching a crisis point for housing in Australia, where most people are locked out of home ownership.

“The Palaszczuk Government promised before the election to conduct a review into rental standards and introduce minimum standards into rental properties to make sure that all Queenslanders could have a safe, secure and sustainable place to call home.

“What this consultation has done is help us identify the issues and potential solutions to give Queensland rental households real rental security whilst protecting property owners investment.”

“We are still counting some of the last mailed surveys, but as of yesterday there were 19,961 responses to the online survey, 13,508 postcard survey responses, 456 written submissions and 96,651 responses to our quick polls,” he said.

“We are listening to what everyone has to say so we ensure the system is fair for everyone.”

Mr de Brenni said the consultation had asked for sentiment about a range of issues, including security of tenure, no grounds evictions, minimum standards and accommodation for family pets.

“The Andrews Government asked the same sort of hard hitting questions of voters with regards to rental reform at their most recent election.”

“Clearly we need to look closely at what sort of reforms the Andrews Government enacted.”

“I’ve spoken to the new Victorian Minister for Housing Richard Wynne who reckons their election platform consisting of strong rental reforms played a massive factor in their 6% swing at the last election.”

Mr de Brenni said that currently 34 per cent of Queensland households are rentals, and with more and more Australians being priced out of the housing market this number was set to increase.

“If your home isn’t sorted, its pretty difficult to think about anything else,” he said.

“Labor understands that in 2018 renting is not a short-term solution, and we need to ensure all levels of government are working towards making housing more accessible.”

Mr de Brenni said the silence from the Commonwealth Government on the issue of housing affordability had been deafening.

“The Abbott-Turnbull-almost Dutton-Morrison Government has been too busy trying to avoid another leadership spill to focus on what really matters.

“What we really need is a federal government who is going to take this seriously. It’s not ok that last year more Australian’s bought their seventh home than their first.”

Mr de Brenni said the consultation was a successful first step in the review of the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008.

“The next step is to analyse all the feedback and data collected throughout the consultation,” he said.

“Department of Housing and Public Works staff are already working with the Residential Tenancies Authority to analyse the many thousands of online surveys, written submissions, snap poll results and discussion forum comments.

“We will then identify priorities for reform and I’ll be providing regular updates about the process in coming months.”

The renting consultation ran from the 30th of September to 30th November 2018.

Key findings of the Queensland consultation found-

  • Of those surveyed 50% of people thought the rules were swayed in the property owners favour, 24.3% thought they were weighted in the tenants favour, 18.2% thought the rules were balanced and 7% said they didn’t know.
  • 12.3% of people thought the condition of their rental property was poor, 50.3% thought it was good and 37.3% thought they were excellent.
  • Many tenants are seeking transfer their bond from one property to another, while property owners reported that bonds were often insufficient if tenants were behind in rent or did not take responsibility for damage.
  • Tenants claimed nothing was flagged in their quarterly inspections but were then losing their bond when they moved out.
  • Many tenants had asked for application forms to be standardised and simplified, and many tenants felt it was an invasion of privacy to be asked for bank statements in addition to pay slips when applying for a property.
  • Tenants also reported paying between an additional 60 cents up to $5 each time they paid their rent in processing fees.
  • Respondents also said there needs to be clearer expectations around fair wear and tear and cleaning requirements at the end of leases.
  • On the issue of pets, many tenants said they found it difficult to find a rental property that accepted pets.
  • Making minor changes to a property also created a lot of discussion. Tenants would like to be able to make their house feel more like a home by hanging pictures and safer by fixing furniture to walls.
  • We heard that property owners would like to have a say on what changes can be made to their properties and ensure modifications are installed correctly and safely. They also want to be able to ask for the property to be returned to its original condition if the tenant leaves.

 

Final blog statement With the Ministers  tweet and media release  this morning I shared, it’s game over.

All we can do is hope for the best and remember, it will work out and we will deal with it. 

I’m done and not investing anymore time as I believe the Labor Government in Queensland already know what they are going to change and do.  Stacey Holt. 


 6th December 2018 - Review still accepting written submissions. Watch short 4 minute video here. It has come to my attention by accident (reviewing the Government website), that they are still accepting submissions in writing until 21st December 2018. Details below.

written

6th December 2018 - A personal thought

I hardly had anything left in me after this painful ridiculous 9 week tenancy law review in Queensland.

After devoting almost 25 years of my professional and personal life to this industry, overnight I found the strength I need to give some more.

The review is still taking submissions which I found out by accident on the Government website. Thanks for letting us know when you asked for all our emails.

The flawed choice report has me seething.

We must continue to have our say. Please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. any thoughts before 21 December.

I’ve contacted channel 7,9,10 and ABC this morning.

The Government and media are only reporting one side. This is totally not balanced, unfair.

Housing for Queensland

Stacey Holt

5th December 2018 - Choice "disrupted' National report. Choice and tenant organisations have released a report which is concerning. What are called repairs may not be repairs, therefore, I find the statistics false and misleading, plus, 1067 people were surveyed in Australia only.

View the report here

29th November 2018 - RTA submission - Tenants claiming bond prior to end of tenancy Review here

22nd November 2018 – Submission by Real Estate Excellence - Tenancy application forms should not be regulated by Government

 "Theme five" of the RTRA Act review has just been released (looking and leasing) and I must write and express my utmost concern regarding applications relating to tenancy.

Application for tenancy forms have not been regulated by Government for good reason; these documents are a risk management and best practice document for the lessor client investor. The document should not ask unlawful questions as per the Anti-Discrimination and other relevant laws. There is continuous education and awareness given to property managers about these serious matters of discrimination, plus a duty of an employer under other legislation to ensure compliance.

Tenancy rental applications are written for best practice and risk management to gauge two main factors when assessing suitability of the tenant for the investment property;

          Tenant ability to pay the rent

          Tenant ability to care for the property.

The tenants evidence dependant on their past situations prior to applying are verified,  and then assessed as to their suitability based on best practice procedures and the lessor investor client decision as to whether they accept the tenant's application. Tenancy applications could also be written in part due to landlord insurance requirements.

Government should not meddle into agency/ lessor risk management and best practice, and as per my opening paragraph, I am concerned that this is a possibility being entertained and hope this is not considered as part of any future legislation.

    • What information do property managers and owners need to make an informed decision about a prospective tenant?
    • What information do tenants think is reasonable to provide when applying for a rental property?
    • Should the application process be more regulated, such as through standard application forms or which identify/limit what information prospective tenants can be asked for?

Yours sincerely

Sent via email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Stacey Holt Company Director Real Estate Excellence Academy Pty Ltd

22nd November 2018 - FREE half hour training video regarding minimum housing standards
In October 2017, 'new section 17a' was added to the RTRA Act and section 185 was amended. The following training video was recorded October 2017 and is being offered to view complimentary for all of industry to ensure understanding of now, and possible future minimum housing standard laws as part of the RTRA Act review which end 30 November 2018. The video is 30 minutes in length. View the free training video here Refer to blog notes below from 23rd September 2018, and August 2017. Since the video was recorded, the Labor Government was re-elected. Their election promise is to have the RTRA Act amendment bill in Parliament by June 30 2019.
Real Estate Excellence member offices have access to the workbook by request; email  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
 
 
21st November 2018

The Palaszczuk government is consulting with landlords and the rental property industry across the state to assess the residential tenancy laws. The process is set to be completed by the end of November.

Some of the issues to be discussed include pet ownership and how it could be made easier for landlords and tenants to agree on households keeping pets, according to Mick de Brenni, minister for housing and public works.

However, Grant Mifsud, a professional partner at Archers the Strata, pointed out that the issue, together with other home alterations such as permitting property occupants to change window coverings, are often decided by a body corporate committee and their strata scheme’s by-laws.

“Bodies corporates are like a fourth layer of government, except it’s the unit owners and not public servants who make up the committee and make the majority of decisions,” Mifsud said. “These decisions deal with situations that affect people’s living arrangements. As a tenant or owner within a strata property, it’s important to be aware of the things you can and can’t do in your strata scheme.”  Full article here.

 

18th November 2018 Sunday Mail article (actual case can be found below under date 17th November)
 
 
cat case
 
 
17th November 2018
 
Pets and Body Corporates
Cat creates odour and damage affecting a total QLD  apartment floor costing over $16000 damage. The story has been reported by The Courier Mail subsciber service article and will appear in Sunday Mail 18 November 2018. I’ve sourced the case; Click here to view the case published
 
Queensland Government pet reform proposal cops criticism from some in the body corporate sector.  Review article here
 
16th November 2018
 
Domestic violence and tenants - submission

This submission is written in response to the Government ‘snap poll question’ and forum discussion question regarding domestic and or family violence and tenants on a fixed term tenancy. Tenants on a periodic tenancy are currently protected by giving two weeks’ notice to end the tenancy, therefore no change is needed.

“How can we help people experiencing domestic and family violence to end their tenancy obligations without penalty if required?”

The snap poll question alludes to evidence being produced to end a tenancy in lieu of a tribunal order and the current situation. I believe this may mean possibly providing a Queensland Police interim domestic family violence protection order or a domestic and or family violence court order.

DV

Most likely it is predicted that a new ground for the tenant to end a tenancy will be in the future RTRA Act. With respect, given the tragic societal and community issue of family and domestic violence is growing, plus the move by other states in relevant tenancy legislation regarding domestic violence, some consideration should be given as part of the RTRA Act for the lessor in relation to a reasonable notice period such as 14 days to assist in the lessor losses and or expenses which most likely will be incurred due to the early end of a fixed term tenancy.

The tenant currently can end a fixed term tenancy at any time by giving 14 days’ notice as per the provisions in current sections 331 (3) and 327 (2) which results in a breach of agreement due to ending an agreement early. In a future submission, I will be providing information regarding the current imbalance of rights between the parties (lessor and tenant) regarding this provision and the needs to make the ‘rules fairer for both parties’ and create more equality. Consideration strongly needs to be given in relation to ensuring both parties are protected; the tenant emotionally, financially and physically, and the lessor financially.

Should this new ground allowing fixed term tenancy agreements end by the tenant proceed in the RTRA Act future amendments, 14 days’ notice to end a tenancy with enough lawful evidence such as noted in paragraph 2 above (Queensland Police interim domestic family violence protection order or a domestic and or family violence court order) should be in place. If the tenant is on a periodic agreement, the status quo should remain as per section 331 (f); 2 weeks’ notice to end a fixed term tenancy.

Yours sincerely

Sent via email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Stacey Holt

Company Director

Real Estate Excellence Academy Pty Ltd

16th November 2018
 
Queensland Government to spend $8.2 million on tenancy training

Media Statements

Coat of Arms Media Release
Minister for Housing and Public Works, Minister for Digital Technology and Minister for Sport The Honourable Mick de Brenni

Palaszczuk Government commits dollars and cents for ‘Dollars and Sense’

Minister for Housing and Public Works, Minister for Digital Technology and Minister for Sport The Honourable Mick de Brenni

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Palaszczuk Government commits dollars and cents for ‘Dollars and Sense’

The Palaszczuk Government has announced a tenancy skills training package that will help around 17,000 Queenslanders struggling to secure a home in the state's tightening private rental market.

In the middle of consultation on historic reform to renting laws, Minister for Housing and Public Works Mick de Brenni today announced the $8.2 million Skillsets for Successful Tenancies – Dollars and Sense Program, which will be rolled out across the state.

“Mum and dad investors are playing a crucial role in Queensland, helping the rental market meet increasing demand for homes in our towns and cities,” Mr de Brenni said.

“But the competition for private rental homes, unfortunately, can marginalise vulnerable young people leaving home for the first time and other at-risk groups in our community.

“This programme funds free training designed to help people successfully find and maintain a private rental property. It certifies that people are skilled to rent and take care of a property.

“It's one less thing for investors to worry about if they know they are handing the keys to their investment to people who are qualified to manage a private tenancy.

“From our Open Doors to Renting Reform consultation, we know that renters and property owners have more in common than they’ve been given credit for.

“Both property owners and renters want housing stability, their house to be well looked after and simply to feel secure.

“This certification will show that tenants have the skills required to take on the financial responsibility of a tenancy, and know about their rights and responsibilities when it comes to maintaining a property.”

The commitment follows successful trials earlier this year in Ipswich, Logan and Toowoomba, which have seen many graduates access or sustain private market tenancies.

Helping vulnerable Queenslanders access and sustain private rental tenancies and create a better future for themselves through education and training are key aims of the Queensland Housing Strategy 2017–2027 ( https://www.qld.gov.au/housing/public-community-housing/have-your-say-housing-strategy ).

The program will be delivered by inCommunity Inc., a specialist community housing provider with an established and proven competency-based tenancy skills training package.

Chief Executive Officer Paul Tommasini said graduates of the programme could be considered ‘tenants of choice’ for the real estate industry.

“They will have proven competency in the skillsets identified by property managers and agents – this will give our graduates a competitive advantage when applying for properties,” he said.

“The training is practical and engaging and takes about 10 hours to deliver per student group.

“This training will give potential tenants a real chance to secure a home even in areas with low vacancy and high demand,” he said.

Partnerships with local real estate agents proved a crucial ingredient in the success of the program trials.

Real Estate Institute of Queensland Chief Executive Officer Antonia Mercorella described tenancy skills training as an essential element in Queensland's rental reform process.

“Tenancy training helps protect the rights and responsibilities of tenants and landlords in Queensland, keeps our stock of rental properties in better condition for longer and has the potential to reduce disputes,” she said.

“The REIQ welcomes this initiative that supports the more vulnerable members of our community in their goals to rent property, and which also gives landlords some peace of mind when handing over the keys to their investment.” 

 8th November 2018 - submission emailed as part of review

If the QLD Government are serious about a more balanced and fair tenancy Act, I believe they should consider this.

This comment based on the security element of the review discussion. Currently lessors have to give two months notice to end a tenancy but can’t end the tenancy before the lease end date unless the tenant agrees.

To be balanced and fair for all parties, consideration should be given for changing the future law so tenants have to give more than 2 weeks notice.

Current laws for termination without grounds (without reason).

Lessor 2 months, with end date of notice not allowed to be earlier than end date of lease (fixed term) & no change required. Periodic lease also 2 months

Tenant 2 weeks notice “anytime” as per sections 331 (3) and 327 (2).

 Refer to further submission below on this blog regarding why the removal of without grounds is not needed.
 
 
6th November 2018
 
Is your lessor happy with the possibility of losing the right to terminate a tenancy for without grounds?

Email sent to our "FREE Mailing list"

Yesterday, as part of the RTRA Act review, the Government released a new ‘discussion’ – flexibility and security. Many of us (including me) are getting what I call review fatigue… this is drawn out and we need to keep motivated, particularly with this matter. I have made six submissions in total thus far; without grounds is covered at my running blog here 23rd October (date reference to scroll down too). Please like my Facebook page  Make renting fair for all parties in Queensland which is another way to keep up to date.

As I have been advising since the Act went under review on 30th September, anyone and everyone has until 30th November to ‘have their say”. I hope you have been advising your lessor of the review and encouraging them to have their say as they are going to be the most impacted.  Member offices of Real Estate Excellence; we emailed you two templates last week for your final edit to use as part of your education and awareness strategy. Below is the new ‘snap poll question.

RT

Note 

This question from QLD Government should say at end of tenancy...#rentinginqld

 It’s  being misunderstood as some people think question is should the Lessor have the right to end the tenancy “anytime” as opposed to the intent of the question which I believe to be       “ at the end of tenancy” 

Link for POLL (as above to have your vote and possibly share with your clients) https://www.yoursayhpw.engagementhq.com/rentalsecurity?tool=quick_poll#tool_tab

Link for information about the review and what has occurred so far https://www.yoursayhpw.engagementhq.com/about-renting-in-qld

Link to my running blog that covers the review history and all relevant matters  from 2012 RTRA Act review

5th November 2018 - Media statement from Housing Minister
 

Minister for Housing and Public Works, Minister for Digital Technology and Minister for Sport
The Honourable Mick de Brenni

Monday, November 05, 2018

Safety issues topping the list as renting survey shifts focus

More than 97 per cent of people who have taken part in the Palaszczuk Government’s Open Doors to Renting Reform consultation are indicating that the structural condition and safety of their properties is a top concern, Housing and Public Works Minister Mick de Brenni said today (Monday).

Mr de Brenni said the survey revealed an alarming percentage of respondents pointing to safety repairs to their properties, including the plumbing and pest infestation as the most important issues to be addressed when it came to minimum standards.

He said the responses were among 40,000 so far received.

“This consultation is about uncovering new opportunities to strike a better balance between a property owner’s house and a tenant’s home, so it’s important that everyone gets to have their say about how to improve renting in Queensland,” Mr de Brenni said.

“So far Queenslanders have said overwhelmingly they want good tenants who want to stay and care for their property, and that this is good for landlords. “But we’ve seen respondents to the online survey comment that they had been given notice to leave ‘without grounds’, in many cases suggesting it is connected to repairs or maintenance issues.

“There could be many reasons for winding up a lease, such as the owner or one of their family members needing to move into the house, the home being listed for sale or needing to undergo significant renovations.

“However, we have also heard stories from tenants where they have been told to leave without any reasonable grounds, but then see the property back on the market just weeks later.”

One such respondent was Mary, who had been renting a property north of Brisbane for three-and-a-half years when she was suddenly “without grounds told she had to find a new place to call home”.

The single mother of four children, who wanted to stay in her home, tried to negotiate with her real estate agent to renew the lease – without success.

"I wrote a letter to the real estate agent asking to stay but I was told the owner wanted me out and my lease would not be renewed,” she said.

She had to quit her job as she was unable to juggle commuting into the city for work, attending house inspections to find a new property, and moving out. She found an available rental property – further away from her children’s schools – and her application was accepted. Mary’s home was back on the market within weeks, with a higher rent.

Mr de Brenni said Mary’s story was not unique. “There are simply too many replies to the Open Doors to Renting Reform consultation having shared similar stories about their experiences renting in Queensland,” he said. 

He encouraged property owners, property managers and tenants to get online and take part in the Open Doors to Renting Reform consultation before the 30th November.

The Open Doors to Renting Reform consultation program aims to ensure better protections for tenants and property owners, as well as increased stability in the rental market. The consultation runs until 30 November 2018, featuring a range of activities including pop-up kiosks at markets and shopping centres where people can share their views and experience of renting in Queensland. The Palaszczuk Government is now interested in hearing views from property owners, property managers and tenants on tenancy flexibility versus security.

The website, survey and information on consultation events can be found at: www.yoursayhpw.engagementhq.com/RentingInQLDThe online survey can be found at www.getinvolved.qld.gov.au, or you can email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or share your thoughts on social media using the hashtag #rentinginqld

29th October 2018
  

Minimum Housing standards, safety of rental property and Minister statements - Real Estate Excellence 5th submission to Government as part of RTRA Act review. Complete submission at member online for member offices to review.  The following is part of the submission emailed today to Government.

Further comments to submission from page 3 submitted 22nd October considering Minister media statements October 28th, 2018.

The Queensland Housing Minister, the State Government and all parties in the sector need to remember that section 214 RTRA Act (definition of emergency repairs) includes if a property is unsafe and or has a fault likely to injure a person. Lessor obligations are covered in section 185; and if the lessor is not taking the right action to repair their property, tenants have many rights to enforce the law. There is no need for more legislation as the matter of safety is covered as mentioned above and is in my submissions to Government as part of the 201 and 2014 reviews. The Government should consider the Parliamentary committee recommendation in 2014 and make section 191 a penalty unit provision to assist with enforcement if it is needed. Tenants also could take enforcement action via the magistrate’s court (if order made by Tribunal. They could also act under section 94 (rent reduction) and compensation under section 419 (breach of agreement).

 An immediate legislative fix to this matter is penalty units introduced for section 191. I urge the Queensland Government to review the Parliamentary Committee report of 2014 before proceeding. Quotes from page 13 of the above-mentioned report above.

“The Committee has noted that while there is general acknowledgement of the need for safe rental housing, there is little support for minimum housing standards being mandated in the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008. The majority of submitters were of the view that the proposed minimum housing standards would unnecessarily duplicate existing building and health and safety standards and could lead to increased costs and red tape, adversely impacting on the availability and affordability of housing.

The Committee has been advised that the Minister is currently undertaking a review of the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008 and the Committee is of the view that the Minister should assess the need for minimum housing standards to be mandated in the Act, in the context of the current broader review of the legislation.

While submitters made some valid points about ongoing repair and maintenance issues, there appears to be avenues for addressing these issues through existing legislation and standards which can be enforced by local councils and other agencies.

The Committee notes that the Minister for Housing and Public Works is currently considering a proposal to introduce an offence if a lessor does not to comply with a Tribunal order for repairs and/or maintenance and is of the view that this would provide tenants with an efficient and effective method of dealing with lessors who do not act on an order."

"Generally, the proposed options were not supported and it was noted that the main issue was around getting repairs done in a small number of cases where landlords failed to act. As a result, the RTA has proposed that the Act be amended to "introduce an offence for a lessor not to comply with a Tribunal order for repairs and/or maintenance and 40 penalty units are attached. This would be a continuing offence.… The Minister for Housing and Public Works, the Honourable Tim Mander MP, is considering the recommendations to amend the RTRA Act."

29th October 2018

I have added to the end of this running blog, a brief but meaningful overview of the history of the review of the RTRA Act, commencing from 2012, 2014 and 2016. 2016 wasn't a review of the RTRA Act as such; more so the Labour Government Housing Strategy. It was disappointing to find the below statement in the Labor Government summary of the Housing Strategy plan. 
It must also be said, the statements being made by Government and media regarding the biggest review of tenancy law in 40 years are not correct; the Act has been "born (meaning brand new, commenced), and then reviewed and amended a numer of times in the last 20 years particularly. The Residential Tenancies Act (RT Act) began in 1995; the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act (RTRA Act) began in 2009. The statements being made should be retracted and be more honest and transparent, as opposed to being incorrect and misleading.
QLD housing strategy
29th October 2018
Governments legislating rent increases and amounts - sixth submission of Real Estate Excellence. PDF version available for member offices at member online

This submission is written in response to one of Tenant Queensland ‘7 point plan’ relating to regulating rent increases.

Rental amounts and rent increases should not be regulated by Governments. Pricing of real estate is governed by supply and demand, not CPI, not governments. Whilst focus is on making the property a home for tenants, and rightfully so, the property is an investment for an investor. Lessors are investors; not social housing providers.

Tenants are well protected in current legislation for rent increases during a tenancy or during a periodic tenancy (section 92) and from one fixed term tenancy to another (section 71).

Considering capping rent increases should not be considered as part of a Government role and regulation.

Yours sincerely

Sent via email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Stacey Holt

Company Director

Real Estate Excellence Academy Pty Ltd

29th October 2018

Goverment question as part of review concern - solar panels and water effeciency in rental property

I’m perplexed and a little concerned about this question from Government as part of the RTRA Act review ... are they possibly indicating lessors provide solar panels the future?

How could energy and water efficiency of rental properties be improved? What would encourage energy and water efficiency features to be included in rental properties, like solar panels or water saving devices? www.qld.gov.au/rentinginqld

28th October 2018
Minimum Housing standards, safety of rental property and Minister statements
The Queensland Housing Minister, the State Government and all parties in the sector need to remember that section 214 RTRA Act (definition of emergency repairs) includes if a property is unsafe and or has a fault likely to injure a person. Lessor obligations are covered in section 185; and if the lessor is not taking the right action to repair their property, tenants have many rights to enforce the law. There is no need for more legislation as the matter of safety is covered as mentioned above and is in my submissions to Government as part of the 2012 and 2014. Information regarding this matter (and reviews) is avaible at the bottom of this blog. The Government should consider the Parliamentary Committee recommendation in 2014 and make section 191 a penalty unit provision to assist with enforcement if it is needed. Tenants also could take enforcement action via the magistrate's court (if an order is made by Tribunal. They could also take action under section 94 (rent reduction) and compensation under section 419 (breach of agreement).

In 2010, a terrible tragedy occurred as discussed today (article sourced from Courier Mail subscriber account). When the coronial inquest report was handed down (September 2012), the RTRA Act then went under review. Due to reasons discussed in my blog as outlined below, the review of the RTRA Act has been ongoing in some form for all these years. Read the coronial inquest report and findings here.The Queensland Government today have released a new 'snap poll question' - and is focusing on property condition currently in the review. Details here

The Queensland Housing Minister has released two media statements regarding the review and minimum housing standards. View the statements below. Sourced from statements.qld.gov.au

Minister for Housing and Public Works, Minister for Digital Technology and Minister for Sport The Honourable Mick de Brenni

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Minimum standards for rental properties to honour baby Bella

The grandparents of a baby girl killed in a tragic accident at a Central Queensland rental property today (Sunday) supported the Palaszczuk Government’s commitment to residential tenancy reform - which they hope will prevent “future tragedies”.

Lyn and Ken Diefenbach have been advocating for prescribed minimum standards for rental properties since the death of their seven-week-old granddaughter Isabella in 2010. Their son was holding baby Bella when a rotten floorboard gave way on the deck of their rental property, and his daughter tragically fell from his arms.

Mrs Diefenbach said Isabella’s death had been “cataclysmic” for the family.

“It’s an ongoing thing, and I don’t think for any family who suffers any trauma, it ever goes away. And it could have been avoided, and it was certainly seen as a preventable incident”.

Mr Diefenbach said he hoped the government’s Open Doors to Renting Reform consultation on property conditions, including minimum standards, would prevent future tragedies – and encouraged all Queenslanders to have their say.

“We want Bella’s death to count for something and we’re pleased there’s now an opportunity for this and other issues to be addressed,” he said. “What we would like is that if anything is identified in a rental property that is not safe, that the tenants are notified as well as the property owner.

“And some sort of regulatory body that’s got teeth so that if nothing is done about it, there are consequences for the property owner and for the agency that’s handling and managing the property.”

Housing Minister Mick de Brenni – who meet with the Diefenbachs in Brisbane earlier this month – said prescribed minimum standards in rental properties would ensure Queenslanders never “felt like they had to live in a dangerous home”.

“Queenslanders deserve to know that basic living and safety standards are met in their homes, whether or not they rent it or own it. The Palaszczuk Government is determined to deliver outcomes – and a legacy for baby Bella, and that is why it is so important we hear directly from families like the Diefenbachs.

“At the time of this tragedy, the Coroner handed down recommendations that compelled reform to ensure a tragedy like this never happens again.”

Member for Keppel Brittany Lauga, who organised the Brisbane meeting between the Diefenbachs and Mr de Brenni, said all Queenslanders deserved a safe, secure and sustainable home.

“The sad circumstances surrounding Bella’s family is just one tragic example of why these laws need reforming, and why protection needs to be stepped up,” Mrs Lauga said.

“Queensland has one of the highest proportions of people renting in Australia, and many will rent for part or all of their lives. This government wants Queenslanders to have contemporary residential tenancy laws that protect tenants and property owners alike.”

The Open Doors to Renting Reform consultation program, which runs until November 30 2018, is being conducted by the Department of Housing and Public Works in conjunction with the Residential Tenancies Authority (RTA) and aims to ensure the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008 provides better protections for tenants and property owners and increases stability in the rental market.

The website, survey and information on consultation events can be found at: www.qld.gov.au/rentinginqld ( http://www.qld.gov.au/rentinginqld ) or you can email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or share your thoughts on social media using the hashtag #rentinginqld

Media Statements

More than 35,000 Queenslanders have their say on Palaszczuk Government rental reform

Minister for Housing and Public Works, Minister for Digital Technology and Minister for Sport The Honourable Mick de Brenni

Sunday, October 28, 2018

More than 35,000 Queenslanders have their say on Palaszczuk Government rental reform

Minister for Housing and Public Works Mick de Brenni today (Sunday) helped doorknock homes in his Springwood electorate as part of the Palaszczuk Government’s consultation into the future of renting in Queensland.

Mr de Brenni said Logan residents were confirming the results of the government’s statewide Open Doors to Renting Reform survey – tenants want a fairer system that helps improve their lives.

“We are determined to deliver outcomes because renting affects almost everyone in Queensland in some way – whether they rent, own or manage a rental property, or know someone who does,” Mr de Brenni said.

“This consultation is about striking the right balance between a property owner’s house and a tenant’s home, so it’s important that everyone gets to have their say. Apart from doorknocking homes, we’ve held consultation sessions at the Logan Homelessness Connect event, Springwood Mobile Library and the Logan Hyperdome.

“And Logan residents are raising concerns being expressed in the wider Open Doors to Renting Reform survey.

"Across Queensland, more than 35,000 responses have been received in the first 24 days of the state-wide consultation. The issue of pets is proving a hot topic, with an online poll showing 51 per cent of respondents feel renters should be allowed to have a pet without needing to ask permission.

“People also want more certainty about their lease, problems fixed up in a timely fashion and minimum standards for properties. They are worried their rent can be increased too often, they want better protections, fewer inspections and rewards for good tenants, and are concerned about tenants’ rights around evictions.”

One of properties doorknocked today was the Rochedale South unit rented by Andrew Paul, who has lived there with his wife and two daughters for nearly four years.

Mr Paul welcomed the Palaszczuk Government’s consultation program.

“While my experience has been good since moving down from Mackay, I think it’s important that everyone works together when it comes to renting – tenants, property owners, real estate agents and the government – the communication has to be continually open,” Mr Paul said.

“I’ve got no paintings up in our house because I don’t want to put hooks in, and then be up for the cost of having to patch-up the walls if we ever had to move. But on the other hand, I also understand the risks being taken by landlords who are putting tenants into their investment properties,” he said.

The Open Doors to Renting Reform consultation program runs until November 30, 2018 and is being conducted by the Department of Housing and Public Works in conjunction with the Residential Tenancies Authority (RTA). It aims to ensure the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008 provides better protections for tenants and property owners and increases stability in the rental market.

The website, survey and information on consultation events can be found at: www.qld.gov.au/rentinginqld ( http://www.qld.gov.au/rentinginqld ) or you can email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or share your thoughts on social media using the hashtag #rentinginqld

Deifenbach 1
Deifenbach 2
 
26th October 2018 
Follow the Facebook advocacy page "make renting fair for all parties in Queensland" here
25th October 2018
Email sent to our FREE Mailing list included the information below.
Tenants Queensland have commenced a campaign to protect tenants.
TU
  Courier Mail newspaper 25th October 2018
CM 25 10 18
23rd October 2018
Notice to leave for serious breach right for all investors  - PDF version to review available for member offices at member online
 

The current provision section 290A of the RTRA Act should be amended to include all rental property situations; not just Government and community housing providers. Queensland property investors (lessors) should be afforded the same rights and ability to end tenancies when there is a serious breach of a tenancy agreement/contract.

The alarming growing societal and community issue of drug use, and the use of property for manufacturing of ‘meth labs’ and ‘using’ drugs is of great concern to all.

There is no direct provision in Queensland tenancy legislation to allow the lessor/agent to act on this serious issue. There is provision in current tenancy law for a breach for ‘illegal uses of the premises’, plus urgent applications to tribunal for either objectionable behaviour (s 297) or damage to property (s 296), but there is no direct provision to cover reasonable belief that property has been used for an illegal activity as stated in s 290A (3).

Property agents tend to be the main source of angst from neighbours who believe, and or report suspicious behaviour of tenants in rental property. This of course, should be, and is encouraged to be reported to the correct body, the Queensland Police.

Another proposal is to mirror New South Wales tenancy law which currently has section 91 (below).

91 Use of premises for illegal purposes

(1) The Tribunal may, on application by a landlord, make a termination order if it is satisfied that the tenant, or any person who although not a tenant is occupying or jointly occupying the residential premises, has intentionally or recklessly caused or permitted:

(a) the use of the residential premises or any property adjoining or adjacent to the premises (including any property that is available for use by the tenant in common with others) for the purposes of the manufacture, sale, cultivation or supply of any prohibited drug within the meaning of the Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act 1985, or

(b) the use of the residential premises for any other unlawful purpose and that the use is sufficient to justify the termination.

(2) In considering whether to make a termination order on the ground specified in subsection (1) (b), the Tribunal may consider (but is not limited to considering) the following:

(a) the nature of the unlawful use,

(b) any previous unlawful uses,

(c) the previous history of the tenancy.

(3) The termination order may specify that the order for possession takes effect immediately.

(4) A landlord may make an application under this section without giving the tenant a termination notice. (5) The Tribunal may make a termination order under this section that takes effect before the end of the fixed term if the residential tenancy agreement is a fixed term agreement

The amendment of section 290A is more favoured and should be included in this current review of the RTRA Act. Current statistics show from www.qcat.qld.gov.au an alarming wait time for hearings; these delays are growing. To assist in possible delays in hearing times, a notice to leave should be able to be given to tenants if they have been given a serious breach. Enforcement if they should fail to leave, would fall under section 293.

Drug use by tenants in rental property is strongly proposed to be in future Queensland tenancy law; this issue regrettably is growing and needs to be legislated to create certainty in the industry of possible action and consequence.

This discussion also leads to contamination of rental property due to drug use. Whilst one could argue that current sections 419 and 420 of the RTRA Act allow for compensation to be claimed against tenants if a property is found to be contaminated due to their actions, therefore, the tenant is in breach of section 188 (4). As shown above, the QCAT tribunal hearing times are alarming by way of hearing time frames. The investor in the meantime, must outlay what could be (and often are) thousands of dollars in cost to try to recoup monies owing, and then go through enforcement if monies are awarded via the tribunal process. The reliance on insurance should not be the complete answer and the ‘fall back position’. The below information has been sourced from www.rta.qld.gov.au as at 23 10 18.

Meth labs and clean ups

Winter 2017

The methamphetamine scourge in Queensland is not only taking its toll in human misery, but also creating a nightmare for property managers and owners who have to clean up after the clandestine drug manufacturing operations.

It can cost up to $30,000 to rid a property of the potentially deadly chemical residue, a task which can require the services of specialist cleaners, often equipped with protective gear and procedures to protect against the harmful chemicals.

These are drugs so potent that they can still be detected after going through a thorough water treatment process.

Not only is this activity illegal, it’s against the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008 (RTRA Act) which stipulates:

"…a tenant must…(not) use the premises for an illegal purpose…"

Where does this leave the property manager/owner?

In the RTRA Act, a landlord must "...ensure at the start of the tenancy, the property is fit for the tenant to live in…"

Regardless of its size, the residual contamination arising from illicit drug manufacture presents a serious safety risk to human health and the environment.

Illegal drug manufacturing most often involves the improper storage and use of toxic and corrosive chemicals.

During drug manufacturing, toxic gasses and aerosols are produced. Chemicals used as precursors, and produced as by-products or drug products, can be present in the air and deposited onto surfaces within the home. Contamination persists due to the absorption of chemicals in flooring, walls, drains and ducting, and furnishings and fittings.

Exposure to this residual chemical contamination presents a risk to human health, potentially producing symptoms such as throat irritation, breathing difficulties, headaches, skin conditions, and mental health problems.

In Queensland, chemical contamination from a meth lab site is deemed a public health risk under the Public Health Act 2005.

It is the local government’s responsibility to issue and enforce any Public Health Notice, and it is the property owner’s responsibility to act on and remedy any Public Health Notice.

So, what does this mean for the property manager/owner?

The bond paid may not cover the cost of a major clean-up. The property manager/owner's option would be to seek compensation from the tenant by going to the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT).

Property owners may have insurance which will cover the cost of clean ups, but preventing the problem may be achieved by checking references and conducting regular inspections during the tenancy.

More information is available by calling the Residential Tenancies Authority (RTA) direct on 1300 366 311.

The RTA is the Queensland Government statutory authority that administers the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008. We provide tenancy information, bond management, dispute resolution, investigation, and policy and education services.

The above issue needs further debate, consideration and consultation. The main purpose of this submission is to encourage the Government to create more clear legislation when drugs and or drug use is found in rental property; Queensland landlord investors should have the same right as the Government and be able to issue a notice to leave for serious breach which would mean an amendment to section 290A allowing for a notice to leave for serious breach.

Yours sincerely

Sent via email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Stacey Holt

Company Director

Real Estate Excellence Academy Pty Ltd

23rd October 2018

Why the removal of without grounds provision from the RTRA Act is not needed- PDF version available for members offices at member online.

There has been a long history to remove the ‘without grounds’ provision from the Tenants Union (now Tenants Queensland). There appears to be a national trend under Labor Governments in Australia in supporting the removal in recent times. The New South Wales (NSW) Liberal Government only last week voted down the proposal under the NSW tenancy law review.

The push for removal of this provision is perplexing given tenants are protected under current law if the notice of without ground is given in contravention of section 291 (below) of the RTRA Act. Governments should not be able to legislate against an investor right to terminate a tenancy agreement; the legislation is currently balanced for a minority who may do the wrong thing and use this provision against a tenant who is utilising their legal rights.

There is no need to create more legislation when tenants are protected well under current law.

Section 291 of the RTRA Act clearly sets out when a notice to leave without reason cannot be given to a tenant.

Section 292 protects tenants who believe a lessor has contravened the provision.

Therefore, there is no need to add increased legislation unnecessarily.

Investors should always have the right to lawfully terminate a tenancy without reason. If investors comply with legislation, a lessor should have the right of possession without having to state a reason. Tenants are protected if lessors act outside the legislation. This is fair and balanced for all parties.

291 Notice to leave without ground

(1) The lessor may give a notice to leave the premises to the tenant without stating a ground for the notice.

(2) However, the lessor must not give a notice to leave under this section because—

(a) the tenant has applied, or is proposing to apply, to a tribunal for an order under this Act; or

(b) the tenant—

(i) has complained to a government entity about an act or omission of the lessor adversely affecting the tenant; or

(ii) has taken some other action to enforce the tenant’s rights; or

(c) an order of a tribunal is in force in relation to the lessor and tenant. 

(3) Also, the lessor may not give a notice to leave under this section if the giving of the notice constitutes taking retaliatory action against the tenant.

(4) A notice to leave under this section is called a notice to leave without ground.

Editor’s note— See sections 329(2)(j) (Handover day for notice to leave for premises that are not moveable dwelling premises) and 330(2)(l) (Handover day for notice to leave for moveable dwelling premises) for requirements about the handover day for a notice to leave given without ground for a periodic agreement.

292 Application to tribunal about notice to leave without ground

(1) This section applies if—

(a) the tenant is given a notice to leave without ground; and

(b) the tenant reasonably believes the notice was given in contravention of section 291.

(2) The tenant may apply to a tribunal for an order to set aside the notice.

(3) The application must be made within 4 weeks after the notice was given.

(4) On an application under this section, the tribunal may make the order sought if it is satisfied the notice was given in contravention of section 291.

Yours sincerely

Sent via email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Stacey Holt

Company Director

Real Estate Excellence Academy Pty Ltd

22nd October 2018

Minimum housing standards for Queensland rental property - PDF version of submission available to member offices at member online.

It is difficult to provide constructive feedback to the “Property condition join the conversation’ discussion of the RTRA Act review when the regulations required to provide the actual definition of the minimum housing standards are not yet available. Given the amendment to section 185 and the introduction of section 17A as at November 2017 are already in play, further detail should be provided to the sector to allow for a more informed feedback.

Any proposed and or draft regulations are needed to provide a constructive platform regarding the impact and benefit (or lack of) to the private rental sector in relation to the proposed minimum housing standards. The questions (as per the website below as at 18th October 2018) are too broad and need further explanation. It is assumed that part of the Government review expectation, is via the feedback provided from tenants, lessors and agents to the questions below, more information will be clarified for the sector moving forward before regulations are introduced.

185 Lessor’s obligations generally

 

(1) This section does not apply to an agreement if—

(a) the premises are moveable dwelling premises consisting only of the site for the dwelling; and

(b) the tenancy is a long tenancy (moveable dwelling).

(2) At the start of the tenancy, the lessor must ensure—

(a) the premises and inclusions are clean; and

(b) the premises are fit for the tenant to live in; and

(c) the premises and inclusions are in good repair; and

(d) the lessor is not in breach of a law dealing with issues about the health or safety of persons using or entering the premises; and

(e) the premises and inclusions otherwise comply with any prescribed minimum housing standards applying to the premises or inclusions.

[s 185]

(3) While the tenancy continues, the lessor—

(a) must maintain the premises in a way that the premises remain fit for the tenant to live in; and

(b) must maintain the premises and inclusions in good repair; and

(c) must ensure any law dealing with issues about the health or safety of persons using or entering the premises is complied with; and

(d) if the premises include a common area—must keep the area clean; and

(e) must ensure the premises and inclusions otherwise comply with any prescribed minimum housing standards applying to the premises or inclusions.

Note—

See section 217 for the tenant’s obligations to notify the lessor about damage to premises and the need for repairs.

(4) However, the lessor is not required to comply with subsection (2)(c) or (3)(a) for fixtures attached to premises,

and inclusions supplied with premises, (the non-standard items) if—

(a) the lessor is—

(i) the State; or

(ii) the replacement lessor under a community housing provider tenancy agreement; and

(b) the non-standard items are specified in the agreement and the agreement states the lessor is not responsible for their maintenance; and

(c) the non-standard items are not necessary and reasonable to make the premises a fit place in which to live; and

(d) the non-standard items are not a risk to health or safety;

and

(e) for fixtures—the fixtures were not attached to the premises by the lessor.

[s 186]

(5) In this section—

premises include any common area available for use by the tenant with the premises.

Division 4 Prescribed minimum housing standards

 17A Prescribed minimum housing standards

 (1) A prescribed minimum housing standard means a standard

prescribed by a regulation.

(2) A regulation may prescribe minimum housing standards for—

(a) a residential premises let, or to be let, under a residential

tenancy agreement; or

(b) a rental premises; or

(c) inclusions for premises; or

(d) facilities in a moveable dwelling park (park facilities).

(3) A prescribed minimum housing standard may be for any

matter relating to the premises, inclusions or park facilities,

including, for example, the following—

(a) sanitation, drainage, cleanliness and repair of the

premises, inclusions or park facilities;

(b) ventilation and insulation;

(c) protection from damp and its effects;

(d) construction, condition, structures, safety and situation

of the premises, inclusions or park facilities;

(e) the dimensions of rooms in the premises;

(f) privacy and security;

(g) provision of water supply, storage and sanitary facilities;

(h) laundry and cooking facilities;

(i) lighting;

(j) freedom from vermin infestation;

(k) energy efficiency.

[s 18]

(4) If a regulation made under subsection (2) makes provision in

relation to a matter and provision is also made in relation to

that matter by, or under, any Act, the regulation—

(a) if not inconsistent with the Act, must be observed in

addition to that Act; and

(b) if inconsistent with the Act, is, to the extent of the

inconsistency, of no force or effect and that Act prevails.

Example of inconsistency between a prescribed minimum housing

standard and an Act—

A prescribed minimum housing standard, that purports to

require a lessor to keep residential premises and inclusions clean

after the start of a tenancy, is inconsistent with the obligations of

a tenant under section 188(2).

(5) A regulation may also prescribe how compliance with

minimum housing standards is to be monitored and enforced.

(6) In this section—

premises means premises mentioned in subsection (2)(a) or (b).

Extract from the review website below.

Property condition

Every Queenslander has a right to live in a safe, secure and sustainable home.

It’s important that rental properties across the state are fit to live in and stay in good repair throughout a tenancy.

Property owners must ensure rental premises and inclusions provide a safe environment for tenants, while tenants have a responsibility to look after the rental property, keeping it clean and in good order.

This week, we want to hear your experiences and ideas about minimum housing standards in a rental property, repairs and maintenance, and energy efficiency options to minimise cost of living.

Every Queenslander has a right to live in a safe, secure and sustainable home.

It’s important that rental properties across the state are fit to live in and stay in good repair throughout a tenancy.

Property owners must ensure rental premises and inclusions provide a safe environment for tenants, while tenants have a responsibility to look after the rental property, keeping it clean and in good order.

This week, we want to hear your experiences and ideas about minimum housing standards in a rental property, repairs and maintenance, and energy efficiency options to minimise cost of living.

Tell us what you think:

    • What do you think are acceptable standards for the condition of rental properties?
    • What standards of safety should Queensland rental properties be required to meet?
    • What should happen if minimum standards are not met?
    • How would minimum standards for rental accommodation impact you as a tenant, owner or manager?

Tell us what you think:

    • What do you think are acceptable standards for the condition of rental properties?
    • What standards of safety should Queensland rental properties be required to meet?
    • What should happen if minimum standards are not met?
    • How would minimum standards for rental accommodation impact you as a tenant, owner or manager?

Repairs and maintenance

Tell us what you think:

    • What does ‘clean’, ‘fit to live in’ and ‘in good repair’ for rental properties mean for you?
    • How could managing the ongoing repair and maintenance of rental properties be improved?
    • How can we improve the way in which damage caused to a Queensland rental property is dealt with?

Tell us what you think:

    • What does ‘clean’, ‘fit to live in’ and ‘in good repair’ for rental properties mean for you?
    • How could managing the ongoing repair and maintenance of rental properties be improved?
    • How can we improve the way in which damage caused to a Queensland rental property is dealt with?

Go to discussion

Minimising living costs

Tell us what you think:

    • How could energy and water efficiency of rental properties be improved?
    • What would encourage energy and water efficiency features to be included in rental properties, like solar panels or water saving devices?

Tell us what you think:

    • How could energy and water efficiency of rental properties be improved?
    • What would encourage energy and water efficiency features to be included in rental properties, like solar panels or water saving devices?

Go to discussion

Safety

Tell us what you think:

    • How can housing design and safety measures be improved in the rental market?
    • What reasonable modifications should tenants be allowed to make for safety reasons?

Tell us what you think:

    • How can housing design and safety measures be improved in the rental market?
    • What reasonable modifications should tenants be allowed to make for safety reasons?

Go to discussion

With the limited information available without the regulations, the following feedback is hereby provided;

Whilst the focus and importance of having safe rental properties is paramount, the cost for compliance to the sector and the possible impact to the private rental market could be catastrophic to say the least to all parties involved, including tenants which may see rents rise to recoup the possible costs to investors.

 Landlords (lessors) already have clear statutory obligations in relation to ensuring properties are safe and fit to live in through section 185. If landlords fail in their obligations, tenants could utilise their many rights to ensure the landlord meets their legislative obligation.  

Tenants already have adequate rights when it comes to maintenance concerns of rental property particularly given the overarching provision of section 185 relating to landlord obligations. They can choose, depending on the situation one of more of the following;

o Breaching the lessor under section 185 of the RTRA Act

o Applying to the RTA dispute resolution via form 16

o If the matter is unresolved, apply to tribunal for an order about the matter

o Apply to tribunal via section 191 if the criterion is met

o Seek a rent reduction under section 94

It is strongly recommended before the proposed bill moves forward in relation to minimum housing standards, more information is provided to the sector to enable a more informed debate surrounding what the Government is proposing to be minimum housing standards for Queensland rental property.

Yours sincerely

Sent via email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Stacey Holt

Company Director

Real Estate Excellence Academy Pty Ltd

19th October 2018

 The Government overnight released a new poll question and new discussion regarding the condition of rental property. This is the beginning of the discussion regarding minimum housing standards for Queensland rental property. (Refer to information further below on this blog regarding this matter). Vote, join the discussion or have your say via written submission here. Watch a short video from Stacey Holt here.
  
17th October 2018
Housing minister 17 10 18 SC daily
14th October 2018
I had a very productive and positive meeting with Government representatives regarding the RTRA Act review on the 12th October. I am in the midst of writing an update for Real Estate Excellence member offices to provide further information in relation to what will happen after 30 November (the closing date of this part of the review). I shall discuss this at all my upcoming training events as well.
I am updating my previous thoughts and questions regarding the way Government are conducting this review as blogged on the 3rd October. The Government stated in the meeting they are looking to reach a broad audience and have authentic conversations with all parties so that everyone can have a view. The only further comment as constructive criticism is this should have been communicated when the review was announced, and the intentions of the Government clearly known by all in the sector.
Traditionally when there is a review of legislation, a discussion consultation paper is released and meetings are held. Peak and advocacy groups are usually only at meetings and commonly are the main people that respond via written submissions. The words 'disruptive and innovative' were used to me from the Government representatives which I now understand after this meeting due to reasons mentioned above. There are many ways people can have their say via the Government methods being used; snap polls, a survey, forum discussions, social media, pop up kiosks and written submissions. I would like to remind and encourage the real estate industry and investors that any matter can be addressed via the written submission format. A thesis does not have to be written and a few paragraphs (or less) can be submitted to have your say on any matter that you feel needs change and or addressing as part of the review of this very critical legislation. An election committment by the Labor Government is for the bill to be in Queensland Parliament by 30 June 2019.
14th October 2018
Sunday MIL 14 10 18
12th October 2018
I have had a meeting with Government in relation to the RTRA Act review. I will write a paper for members and email next week.
Members and non members of Real Estate Excellence; I will discussing all my upcoming QLD Training events. Information at link below

8th October 2018

 Real Estate Excellence submission to Government regardings pets, tenants making changes to the property and entry is available at member online for member offices.

4th October 2018

 Why legislation does not need to change regarding tenants making alterations to a property.

A reference to the requirements when tenants wish to make any changes to the property is currently covered in standard term 27 of the lease / tenancy contract agreement (Form 18a). The relevant sections of the RTRA Act are as follows. Landlord should retain the right to know what changes are being made to their property, and their consent sought. Tenants may drill holes, place excessive amounts of hooks in property that may aesthetically change the property, and or damage the property in the process. Tenants are protected if a lessor is unreasonable in any written requests. As the Minister in his tweet below reference, planting of flowers are innocent enough, but creation of gardens can create dispute in the future when the current tenants chose to move to another home, and the new tenants are faced with the possibility of gardens to maintain.

Keep the law as it. This is fair for all parties.

207 Attaching fixtures and making structural changes

 The tenant may attach a fixture, or make a structural change, to the premises only if the lessor agrees to the fixture’s attachment or structural change.

208 Agreement about fixtures and structural changes

 (1) The lessor’s agreement to the attaching of a fixture, or making

of a structural change, must—

(a) be in writing; and

(b) describe the nature of the fixture or change; and

(c) include any terms of the agreement.

(2) For an agreement about attaching a fixture to premises, the terms may include terms about—

(a) whether the tenant may remove the fixture; and

(b) if removal by the tenant is allowed—

(i) when and how the removal may be performed; and

(ii) the obligation of the tenant to repair any damage caused to the premises in the removal or compensate the lessor for the lessor’s reasonable costs of repairing the damage; and

(c) if removal by the tenant is not allowed—the obligation of the lessor to compensate the tenant for any improvement the fixture makes to the premises.

(3) The lessor must not act unreasonably in failing to agree to the attaching of a fixture, or the making of a structural change, to the premises.

(4) If the lessor agrees to a fixture being attached, or a structural change being made, to the premises by the tenant, the tenant must not contravene a term of the agreement.

209 Attaching fixture or making structural change without lessor’s agreement

 (1) If the tenant attaches a fixture, or makes a structural change, to the premises without the lessor’s agreement, the lessor may—

(a) waive the breach; and

(b) treat the fixture or change as an improvement to the premises for the lessor’s benefit.

(2) The lessor may take the action under subsection (1) instead of taking action for a breach of a term of the residential tenancy agreement by the tenant.

4th October 2018

Tweet from the Housing Minister of Queensland.

If you do not agree with the QLD housing minister, consider sending an email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. advising you don’t agree and why. It must be noted that section 185 RTRA Act states as part of Lessor obligations "if the premises include a common area—must keep the area clean" (part of section 185 currently). This would usually fall under Body Corporate obligations. Property managers do not clean or test anything. They manage tenancy. Plus, the review at this point is only '4 days old'.

If you do email the Government as above, I welcome you to cc me into the emails for my reference, your email would be confidential and for my business only. Thank you. Stacey Holt. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Minister 04 10 18 tweet

3rd October 2018

How the Queensland Government have thrown a whole sector into chaos

The Labor Government of Queensland announced late Sunday morning during a long weekend that state tenancy laws are under review. The strategy behind the review is unprecedented with stakeholders’ options to contribute to discussion group forums online, snap polls, questions of the week, pop up stalls. Where is the discussion paper? Are we going to drag out the review for two months using the questions of the week, flawed snap polls, pop up kiosks and sponsored ads on social media?

The snap poll system at https://www.yoursayhpw.engagementhq.com/about-renting-in-qld are flawed with ability to vote more than once. What is the point of such a system?

I assume after the two months (ending 30 November 2018), the Government will review and then release draft legislation for further consultation? Given these are unprecedented ways to conduct a review of critical legislation, this is also uncertain. This issue most likely will take some time, even years, but again, this is all uncertain with the way the review has been announced and is being conducted.

I wrote to the Government on Monday morning (part of email below) and have yet to receive a reply; yes, they have more important things to do then sit around waiting for my email and reply to it. But when the questions are urgent and legitimate, surely a public servant can take the time to address an industry concern. The way the review is being carried out, as mentioned above, is creating angst, uncertainty, anger, frustration and basically fear amongst the sector.

“With respect, after many years in Policy and being part of past reviews of the Act/s, I am a little perplexed by the new website and what is going to happen moving forward as part of the RTRA Act review.

As you would be aware, most consultations have a draft paper as part of review; is this going to occur? Regarding the options of having a say, is it going to be a ‘question of the week’ format with a poll, survey, group discussions and written submission based on a blank canvas?

The main question I have is there going to be a consultation paper to respond to or will it be just as above?

Thank you for your time and for understanding the urgency of these questions. We need certainty moving forward to ensure the review is balanced, understood and as many stakeholders as possible have an opportunity to have a meaningful say and provide the feedback needed to move forward to ensure the review is reasonable.”

Adding further to the confusion and uncertainty is the Residential Tenancies Authority (RTA) announcement www.rta.qld.gov.au (below) which includes the following statement; does this mean free for all based on blank canvas, or are these going to be the snap poll system, questions of the week etc.

This is your chance to comment on a wide range of topics related to renting, such as looking for a property, finding tenants, bond payments, rent payments and increases, renting with pets, requesting or organising maintenance and repairs, breaking leases and more.

Have your say on renting in Queensland

If you are a tenant, rental property owner or property manager, the Queensland Government is opening the door to renting reform, and invites you to share your ideas about renting in Queensland.

You can have your say by completing a short online survey or by visiting a community consultation event.

Your feedback will help inform a review of the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008, and help shape the future of renting in Queensland, ensuring better protection for tenants and property owners.

The Open Doors to Renting Reform consultation is being undertaken by the Department of Housing and Public Works, together with the Residential Tenancies Authority (RTA).

This is your chance to comment on a wide range of topics related to renting, such as looking for a property, finding tenants, bond payments, rent payments and increases, renting with pets, requesting or organising maintenance and repairs, breaking leases and more.

The Queensland Government is casting the net wide to listen to the challenges and opportunities with renting, and understand the issues across the state throughout the ‘looking, leasing, living, leaving’ rental cycle.

Have your say about renting in Queensland by completing the online survey at www.qld.gov.au/rentinginqld or visit the website for information on community consultation booths.

Emotive tweets such as below from the Premier (Saturday evening 30 09 18) do not assist in a fair and reasonable discussion to ensure all parties wants are balanced and fair.

Premier 30 09 2018 tweet 

3rd October 2018

Why the without grounds provision for ending a tenancy should stay in tenancy legislation.  Read more here

2nd October 2018

Suggestions on how to have your say

The Government have a 'new way' to seek feedback regarding the RTRA Act review (as per my email to them 1st October below). In lieu of a response to my email at the time of this blog, I have taken the assumption this is the way they are going to carry out the review for now. Therefore, moving forward, the ways feedback can be given by all stakeholders are as follows;

  • Vote on their snap poll and visit their site often *weekly by the looks at the moment https://www.yoursayhpw.engagementhq.com/about-renting-in-qld
  • Sign up and join their website https://www.yoursayhpw.engagementhq.com/about-renting-in-qld
  • Join the discussion at the above website
  • Attend at consultation event (information at their website)
  • Write submissions and email to the email supplied on the website
  • I have decided to write submissions and have chosen to take the questions from the discussion group forum at their website and make into a document. View the week one draft submission - Real Estate Excellence members, please contact me to review
  • Keep an eye on my running blog here

Real Estate Excellence member offices - I will upload all submissions to the folder at Member online as shown below. I am going to write submissions each week during the review, then collate into one paper. You can visit member online anytime to review and provide any feedback to me which would be appreciated. I shall keep you informed via the member update service as well.

Member online folder when you login

Member folder

Stacey Holt

1st October 2018

I have written to the Government this morning as per below.

Good morning

My name is Stacey Holt and I represent over 250 member offices in Queensland, plus I am an educator, trainer and advisor for the Real Estate Industry www.realestateexcellence.com.au

With respect, after many years in Policy and being part of past reviews of the Act/s, I am a little perplexed by the new website and what is going to happen moving forward as part of the RTRA Act review.

As you would be aware, most consultations have a draft paper as part of review; is this going to occur? Regarding the options of having a say, is it going to be a ‘question of the week’ format with a poll, survey, group discussions and written submission based on a blank canvas?

The main question I have is there going to be a consultation paper to respond to or will it be just as above?

Thank you for your time and for understanding the urgency of these questions. We need certainty moving forward to ensure the review is balanced, understood and as many stakeholders as possible have an opportunity to have a meaningful say and provide the feedback needed to move forward to ensure the review is reasonable.

Stacey Holt

 1st October 2018

Sourced from the Courier Mail 01 10 18

Courier mail 01 10 18

The QLD Government released the RTRA Act review information-   30th September

View "Open doors to rental reform" QLD Government website as part of RTRA Act review

Real Estate Excellence member offices;  I shall review the consultation draft and advise you via the member update membership service.

RTA review courier mail 30 09 18

30th September 2018 - the above article sourced from the Sunday Mail page 9

Short video update - view here

30th September 2018 - Government release sourced from statements.qld.gov.au 1pm

Media Statements

Coat of Arms Media Release
Minister for Housing and Public Works, Minister for Digital Technology and Minister for Sport The Honourable Mick de Brenni

The Palaszczuk Government Opening the Doors to Renting Reform

Minister for Housing and Public Works, Minister for Digital Technology and Minister for Sport The Honourable Mick de Brenni

Sunday, September 30, 2018

The Palaszczuk Government Opening the Doors to Renting Reform

The Queensland Government is undertaking a state-wide consultation in readiness for important reforms to residential tenancy laws for renters and property owners to ensure Queenslanders needs will be met now and into the future.

To start the process this week, renters, landlords and real estate agents will be contacted and asked for their views, how the market is changing and how well the system is working.

This is a key part of the Palaszczuk Governments ‘Open Doors to Renting Reform’ consultation process announced today.

Feedback will also be sought from landlords and the rental property industry in a bid to protect all involved and to improve housing stability for people living in the private market.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said all Queenslanders deserve a safe, secure and sustainable home, and we know that many Queenslanders see investing in rental properties as a way of securing their financial future.

“My Government wants Queensland to have contemporary residential tenancy laws that protect tenants and property owners alike and improve stability in the rental market,” the Premier said.

“The last full-scale review and changes to the tenancy regulations dates back to 1970’s. It’s well and truly time for another now.

“Queensland has one of the highest proportions of people renting in Australia, and many will rent for part or all of their lives.

“Currently 34% of Queensland households are finding their homes in the rental market and many a renting for longer.

“In fact, 43% of tenants have been renting for over 10 years.”

42% of families rent in the private sector.

A national tenant survey released jointly in 2017 by CHOICE, National Shelter, and National Association of Tenant Organisations reported a range of concerns from tenants.

  • 62% feel they can’t ask for change.
  • 50% fear being blacklisted on a tenancy data base.
  • 21% said they had waited more than 7 days for urgent repairs.
  • 20% have had maintenance issues.
  • 8% live in a home in need of urgent repairs.

Rental property owners have also expressed concern that when things go wrong, such as rent arrears or evicting tenants, it comes at a high cost, and rental bonds may not cover all expenses they incur at the end of a tenancy.

The average cost to replace a tenant at the end of a fixed term lease is $1800.

Minister for Housing and Public Works Mick de Brenni said we want to make sure those living in rental accommodation can enjoy a decent standard of living and that property owners have well managed properties.

“Over the next three months, I want the state-wide consultation to come up with answers as to how can people better enforce their rights and how can competing interests be managed better,” Mr de Brenni said

“Many tenants have raised with me that it is difficult to hang your kids school photos or paintings on the wall in rental properties.

“Australians have one of the highest rates of pet ownership in the world with 62 per cent of households keeping a pet, however only 10% of rental properties have pets living in them.

“How can we make it easier for landlords and tenants to agree on having a pet?

“How can we make it easier for tenants to add finishing touches to their home, without causing damage that would be costly for property owners? “

“Property owners have raised with me that they want to see regular inspections to properties and for repairs to be addressed more quickly to ensure their investments are protected”

“And while Tenancy legislation provides the framework and processes to follow, sometimes things go wrong.

“People may have to take further action, such as dispute resolution through the Residential Tenants Authority, or going to the Queensland Civil and Administrative Authority to get orders enforced.

“For both property owners and tenants , this can be time consuming and challenging and they may require further support.”

Deputy Premier and Member for South Brisbane Jackie Trad said the Government wanted to shape any reforms from the experiences of tenants and landlords alike.

“Here in my community of South Brisbane we have a particularly high proportion of renters, with over 61 per cent of households being rentals. Of those almost half of renters are in apartments,” Ms Trad said.

“I hear from my community all the time that these laws need reforming and that protections need to be stepped up.

“We want to hear from as many residents as possible about what they want to see changed.

“At the last election we committed to introducing minimum standards to rental properties and we know there’s more things to be done to help make renting fairer for everyone.”

The Open Doors to Renting Reform consultation program is being conducted by the Department of Housing and Public Works in conjunction with the Residential Tenancies Authority (RTA), and aims to ensure the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008 provides better protections for tenants and property owners and increases stability in the rental market.

The consultation runs from 30 September until 30 November 2018, featuring a range of consultation activities including pop-up kiosks at markets and shopping centres where people can share their views and experience of renting in Queensland.

The website, survey and a discussion paper as well as information on the dates and locations of consultation events can be found at: www.yoursayhpw.engagementhq.com/rentinginqueensland (external site) ( http://www.yoursayhpw.engagementhq.com/rentinginqueensland )

The online survey can be found at www.qld.gov.au/rentinginqld ( http://www.qld.gov.au/rentinginqld ) or you can email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ( mailto:This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ) or share your thoughts on social media using the hashtag #rentinginqld.

Media contact: Cat Milton 0447 117 132

23rd September 2018

The RTA have advised the RTRA Act will soon be going under review. Information was supplied to Real Estate Excellence member offices and our FREE mailing list last week. If you would like to receive updates to your email inbox, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and state your name, email and location (such as Mackay).

Section 185 of the RTRA Act was amended last year and was enacted (as per blog notes below) 10th November 2017; brand new section 17a (below) also came in to effect.

The proposed regulations, and what may be the minimum housing standard (s) for Queensland rental property are expected to be part of the Act review. All of Real Estate Excellence education and training events have advised attendees of the new laws and updates and will continue to do so. 

Division 4 Prescribed minimum housing standards

 17A Prescribed minimum housing standards

 (1) A prescribed minimum housing standard means a standard

prescribed by a regulation.

(2) A regulation may prescribe minimum housing standards for—

(a) a residential premises let, or to be let, under a residential

tenancy agreement; or

(b) a rental premises; or

(c) inclusions for premises; or

(d) facilities in a moveable dwelling park (park facilities).

(3) A prescribed minimum housing standard may be for any

matter relating to the premises, inclusions or park facilities,

including, for example, the following—

(a) sanitation, drainage, cleanliness and repair of the

premises, inclusions or park facilities;

(b) ventilation and insulation;

(c) protection from damp and its effects;

(d) construction, condition, structures, safety and situation

of the premises, inclusions or park facilities;

(e) the dimensions of rooms in the premises;

(f) privacy and security;

(g) provision of water supply, storage and sanitary facilities;

(h) laundry and cooking facilities;

(i) lighting;

(j) freedom from vermin infestation;

(k) energy efficiency.

[s 18]

(4) If a regulation made under subsection (2) makes provision in

relation to a matter and provision is also made in relation to

that matter by, or under, any Act, the regulation—

(a) if not inconsistent with the Act, must be observed in

addition to that Act; and

(b) if inconsistent with the Act, is, to the extent of the

inconsistency, of no force or effect and that Act prevails.

Example of inconsistency between a prescribed minimum housing

standard and an Act—

A prescribed minimum housing standard, that purports to

require a lessor to keep residential premises and inclusions clean

after the start of a tenancy, is inconsistent with the obligations of

a tenant under section 188(2).

(5) A regulation may also prescribe how compliance with

minimum housing standards is to be monitored and enforced.

(6) In this section—

premises means premises mentioned in subsection (2)(a) or (b).

Real Estate Excellence member offices -  The November member update services provided important information regarding these new laws.

Real Estate Excellence members - Receive immediate updates by joining the  Member office private Facebook group (QLD Real Estate Excellence member office staff only).

Reminder to member offices, new folder at member online.

Reminder to members, new folder at member online to keep you up to date

Update 27th November 2017 

A new version of the Property Management Excellence PME manual (part of the PME system) will be released January 30th 2018 to include information on the new laws (plus other improvements and edits).

From the RTA website www.rta.qld.gov.au

From the RTA website www.rta.qld.gov.au

Update 31st October 2017

A 30 minute training webinar is now available explaining the new laws and the current situation. QLD PME system member offices  can view the training online anytime as per the member email on the morning of 31st October. Non PME member office and non Real Estate Excellence offices can purchase the training for a small training service fee. Contact us

Update 30th October 2017

The laws are yet to commence and have not received assent from the Governor.. With the election being called on 29  October, there will be some time until we no more about the commencement date of the law and the detail about the regulations.

The November Real Estate Excellence member update service has important information for member offices.

Update 26th October 2017

New laws passed last night in allowing for minimum housing standard regulations. More information will be provided to Real Estate Excellence member offices via email in near future and immediate updates provided in the Facebook private members group;

Direct link for members https://www.facebook.com/groups/QldRealEstateExcellencemembersgroup/

Non members can find more information at www.parliament.qld.gov.au and refer to Hansard 25th October 2017.

Media Statements

Tim Nicholls – Minister for Slumlords

Media Statements

Minister for Housing and Public Works and Minister for Sport

The Honourable Mick de Brenni

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Tim Nicholls – Minister for Slumlords

This evening, the LNP united to vote against laws that will ensure rental properties are safe and fit for purpose.

Minister for Housing and Public Works Mick de Brenni said the LNP’s position was disgraceful, and demonstrated how out of touch Tim Nicholls is.

“Every Queenslander has the right to know that the home they live in is safe, secure, and fit to live in,” Mr de Brenni said.

“Just over a third of Queenslanders live in rented accommodation, including many families raising children.

“You can’t sell a car in this state without having it checked over and a roadworthy certificate issued, and the reason for that is simple – you should be confident that when you buy a car, it’s in good working order and safe to drive.

“Most Queenslanders spend a lot more time in their homes than they do in their cars, and yet Tim Nicholls would rather let slumlords rent out houses with rotted floorboards or windows which don’t close properly than stand up for Queensland renters.

“Tim Nicholls has decided he’s the Minister for Slumlords - he should hang his head in shame.”

Mr de Brenni said the amendment, which was passed this evening without LNP support, would set clear benchmarks for landlords and tenants.

“It was only a week ago that the Local Government Association of Queensland passed a motion, calling on the Queensland Government to mandate enforceable standards for rental properties,” Mr de Brenni said.

“Tim Nicholls is ignoring his party’s own Mayors, in favour of dodgy landlords who put Queensland families at risk.

“It’s just not good enough.”

[ENDS]

Media contact: Tristan Douglas 0447 164 197

Click here to review the Parliamentary Committee report - refer from page 35 onwards

Click here to view Townsville Local Government motion

Click here to view Channel 7 media regarding Townsville council views

Update 13th October 4.30pm - After writing to the LNP Opposition Leader, Mr Nichols (refer to notes below), I received a call from his office late this afternoon. The LNP will not be supporting the proposed minimum housing standards currently before QLD Parliament. Refer to page 75 of the following committee report. It will depend on the crossbenches of the QLD Parliament see who they are here as to how they vote. I will be contacting the cross bench in coming days to obtain their policy view and will update accordingly.

Update 10th October 2017 - Qld Parliament is sitting over the next three days. The RTRA Act proposed minimum housing standard laws are number 5 on the current Government agenda. www.parliament.qld.gov.au

Update 12th October 2017 - An email has been sent to Member offices of Real Estate Excellence advising of current situation. Click here to review

Update 13th October 2017 - The bill was not heard and is currently number 2 on the Governent agenda for when they next sit on the 24th October.

I have written to Tim Nichols, the leader of the QLD LNP - email below. I shall advise of the response in due course.

Good morning Mr Nichols, Leader of the LNP Queensland

My name is Stacey Holt and I have a company called Real Estate Excellence (www.realestateexcellence.com.au)

My company focus is on best practice, compliance and risk management services for the QLD and NSW real estate industry.

The reason for my email is to request LNP policy, if available, relating to future rental laws.

As you are aware, the HOUSING LEGISLATION (BUILDING BETTER FUTURES) AMENDMENT BILL is before the Parliament now relating to minimum housing standards. You most likely are also aware of the Green’s policy relating to rental laws https://greens.org.au/qld

Given an election is looming, I am keen to advise my clients and the real estate industry of the LNP policy relating to rental laws in Queensland.

Stacey Holt.

10th August 2017

On the 10th August, the industry was advised by Real Estate Excellence  via our mailing list service and via social media, a bill has been introduced into Queensland Parliament to amend the RTRA Act and introduce minimum housing standards. A further email was sent and social media posts were made on the 19th August  regarding the opportunity to have your say about the proposed amendments. (refer to the bottom of this blog post). 

An email template to send to landlords prior to August 28th encouraging submissions is available to member offices of Real Estate Excellence. Members, please email us to receive.

Minimum housing standards for Queensland rental property was first proposed in 2014 and submissions were then called. Click here to read Real Estate Excellence submission from 2014. The submission that will be made in relation to the current amendment, will be very similar to the 2014 submission. Scroll down to review the 2017 submission from Real Estate Excellence. 

The committee that reviewed the minimum standards proposal in 2014 advised the Government to not introduce the laws. Read the committee report here.

 The Government have stated they wish for this bill to be passed by the end of 2017. Read the Housing Minister media release here

Have your say about the Bill

On 10 August 2017, the Hon Michael de Brenni MP, Minister for Housing and Public Works and Minister for Sport introduced the Housing Legislation (Building Better Futures) Amendment Bill 2017 into the Queensland Parliament. In accordance with Standing Order 131, the bill was referred to the Public Works and Utilities Committee for detailed consideration. The committee is due to report by 28 September 2017.

View: Minister’s speech introducing the bill into the Queensland Parliament 

View: Housing Legislation (Building Better Futures) Amendment Bill 2017 

View: Explanatory Notes to the Housing Legislation (Building Better Futures) Amendment Bill 2017https://www.parliament.qld.gov.au/work-of-committees/committees/TUC/inquiries/current-inquiries/I48HsngBetterFutures?actionId=2

The bill proposes to amend the Housing Act 2003 (Housing Act); Manufactured Homes (Residential Parks) Act 2003 (MHRP Act); Residential Services (Accreditation) Act 2002 (RSA Act); Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008 (RTRA Act), and Retirement Villages Act 1999 (RV Act).

The explanatory notes provide that the overarching objective of the amendments to these Acts is to ensure fairness and consumer protections for people who are either living in regulated accommodation or considering moving into these types of housing while enabling the continued viability of these industries and sectors.

A summary of the proposed amendments is provided below and further details can be found in the explanatory notes and the bill.

Call for Submissions

The committee invites submissions addressing any aspect of the bill from all interested parties.  

Guidelines for making a submission to a parliamentary committee are available here - Guide to making a submission. Please ensure your submission meets these requirements.

Closing date for written submissions is Monday, 28 August 2017 at 4:00pm

Submissions should be sent to:  

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Committee Secretary

Public Works and Utilities Committee

Parliament House

George Street

Brisbane Qld 4000

Timeline

 

Public briefing:

Wednesday, 23 August 2017 - time and venue to be confirmed

Close of submissions:

Monday, 28 August, 2017 by 4:00pm

Public hearing:

Wednesday, 13 September 2017 - time and venue to be confirmed

Report to be tabled:

Thursday, 28 September 2017

Where possible, records of public proceedings of the committee eg hearings and briefings, will be available at -

View: Parliament TV (live and replay) - http://tv.parliament.qld.gov.au/TV/SearchCommittee/37

View: Transcripts - click on the “related publications” tab above

Email sent to the Committee 20 August 2017 - Real Estate Excellence 

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Committee Secretary

Public Works and Utilities Committee

Parliament House

George Street

Brisbane Qld 4000

Dear Committee Secretary 

Thank you for the opportunity to provide the following submission regarding the proposed minimum housing standards bill and review of the RTRA Act. 

The submission provided in 2014 as most of the feedback to provide to the committee now is identical.

I note my error and poor choice of wording, in part, in my 2014 submission regarding the regulations that "may" be introduced as opposed to all being introduced as stated (page 27 of report). Having said above, in time, Governments could introduce as many of the regulations as the committee is aware. 

More detail is required in relation to the proposed regulation, which I understand would become available once the amendment was passed (if passed). It is very difficult for many to provide tangible feedback to what I feel is the most important aspect of this bill,  without knowing the detail and possible intent of what may be regulated. 

Section 185 and 191 of the RTRA Act clearly outline lessor obligations and tenants rights to apply to tribunal for certain matters should the lessor fail in their statutory duty. I again, strongly state, as per my previous 2014 submission, the tenant abilities to take action as referenced in the previous Real Estate Excellence 2014 submission; plus referenced in the table http://www.parliament.qld.gov.au/documents/committees/THLGC/2014/INQ-RTRAA/bp-Sep2014-dept.pdf

Please note I will be making this submission public and give consent for the committee to do so if required. 

If I can be of any further assistance, please let me know. 

Kind regards

 

Stacey Holt  - Company Director

Real Estate Excellence Academy Pty Ltd

www.realestateexcellence.com.au  

 

Summary of proposed amendments

The bill proposes to amend the RV Act and the MHRP Act to increase transparency, improve pre-contractual disclosure processes and introduce new behaviour standards in residential parks and retirement villages. A greater focus on dispute resolution is also included to provide an opportunity for issues to be resolved without having to go into a formal tribunal system.

Proposed amendments to the MHRP Act also include limitations on rental increases, prohibiting additional fees around utilities and meter readings and ensuring emergency services and health workers have access to residential parks.

Other proposed amendments to the RV Act will increase transparency in the relationships between operators and residents, and provide greater security to residents, balanced against ongoing industry viability. Greater financial transparency will be required about retirement village funds, budgets and financial statements, and will address resident and consumer advocate concerns about fees and contracts. Residents will also have greater protections around resales and exit entitlements or when there is a change in village operations. 

The proposed amendments to the RSA Act will also ensure the regulatory framework protects residents, promotes fair trading practice and encourages the growth and viability of Queensland’s residential services industry, which includes boarding houses, some aged rental accommodation and services that provide personal care.

The proposed changes are intended to: raise compliance with accreditation standards and registration requirements, ensure that operators are suitable persons and require services to have a fire safety management plan; allow publication of the registered addresses of accredited services to be avoided in cases where safety concerns may arise; and clarify some current uncontentious exemptions from registration requirements.

The RTRA Act amendment will provide a head of power for a regulation to prescribe minimum housing standards for rental accommodation in Queensland.

Prior to August 2017

2016 Labor Government Queensland Housing Strategy - the information below sourced from here

The Queensland Housing Strategy 2017-2027 is a 10-year framework driving key reforms and targeted investment across the housing continuum.

It redefines how the Queensland Government will deliver housing to support urban renewal, generate new jobs, provide affordable housing and drive innovative housing design that responds to contemporary housing needs.
It also ensures those most in need are supported by a safety net of targeted early interventions, flexible packages of support, supportive social housing, and genuine wraparound services.
By creating well-lit housing pathways, we will promote growth, enable prosperity, create connections and instil confidence, providing every Queenslander with the opportunity to fully participate in social and economic life.

How we got here - Consultation discussion paper

In March 2016, we released the Working together for better housing and sustainable communities (PDF, 2.5MB) discussion paper, and kicked off a comprehensive state-wide community engagement and public consultation. We talked with communities and stakeholders across the state through face-to-face engagement sessions. We also collected your feedback through written submissions and online surveys. 2016 review summary

2014 2014 RTRA Act review Parliament committee report refer to page 13 for recommendations

"The Committee has noted that while there is general acknowledgement of the need for safe rental housing, there is little support for minimum housing standards being mandated in the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008. The majority of submitters were of the view that the proposed minimum housing standards would unnecessarily duplicate existing building and health and safety standards and could lead to increased costs and red tape, adversely impacting on the availability and affordability of housing.

The Committee has been advised that the Minister is currently undertaking a review of the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008 and the Committee is of the view that the Minister should assess the need for minimum housing standards to be mandated in the Act, in the context of the current broader review of the legislation.

While submitters made some valid points about ongoing repair and maintenance issues, there appears to be avenues for addressing these issues through existing legislation and standards which can be enforced by local councils and other agencies.

The Committee notes that the Minister for Housing and Public Works is currently considering a proposal to introduce an offence if a lessor does not to comply with a Tribunal order for repairs and/or maintenance and is of the view that this would provide tenants with an efficient and effective method of dealing with lessors who do not act on an order."

"Generally, the proposed options were not supported and it was noted that the main issue was around getting repairs done in a small number of cases where landlords failed to act. As a result, the RTA has proposed that the Act be amended to "introduce an offence for a lessor not to comply with a Tribunal order for repairs and/or maintenance and 40 penalty units are attached. This would be a continuing offence.… The Minister for Housing and Public Works, the Honourable Tim Mander MP, is considering the recommendations to amend the RTRA Act."

2012 2012 RTRA Act review discussion paper

 

$90 000 stolen by scammer in real estate transaction

Sourced article www.propertynerd.com.au 25 November 2018

Best practice note from Stacey Holt Real Estate Excellence -  The sourced article is below this practice note. We recommend banking details not be updated and or changed unless all parties as listed on the title search have signed a form such as below. Real Estate Excellence member offices; you can find the form below at Member online, PME system folder, and then folder 27 Trust accounting. Identification should always be sought for all clients upon listing property for sale and rent which marries up with the title search. Banking details should never be updated via an email only without signatures matching the listing authority.f

Real Estate Scammer Steals $90,000... And Nobody Cares

 

A Brisbane businessman had a deposit stolen from him, and nobody seems to want to fix it.

More than 5 months ago, Andrew Buckley, former CEO of Cardno, sold a property for $1.2 million, through the Ray White agency at Mermaid Beach.

As part of the deal, $120,000 was deposited in a trust account. As the sale proceeded, the agency took $30,000 in commission from theaccount, then asked him to email them his bank account details.

He did. But then so did someone else. Another email was sent with false bank account details. And the remaining $90,000 went to someone other than Mr Buckley.

The agency sent the money to a Westpac bank account based in Sydney. The money has not been recovered.

Amazingly, according to Mr Buckley, nobody will take responsibility for the missing money.

He said he has even gone to the authorities, who have done nothing.

"I'm incredulous that no one seems to want to fix it."

He said he was "flabbergasted" that no one even called him to check on his bank account details. They simply sent it to the other account.

"As far as I’m concerned … this is a well-known scam.

"The advice is that businesses double-check … two-step verification. It’s particularly if it’s changing your bank details."

Ray White has blamed the situation on Mr Buckley. An email later sent to him regarding the matter claimed it was his fault: "The fact that it has now come to light that it was not Mr Buckley who sent those written directions is as a result of Mr Buckley’s own failure to ensure the security of his email account."

Mr Buckley, however, said that while his email could have been hacked, it could just as easily have been Ray White's email that was hacked. He said that ultimately, that is irrelevant as the agency has a responsibility to verify the details. "You're looking after someone else's money."

The agency refused to speak to the media. The head Ray White office also would not address the issue directly, although it said there had been 4 known instances of "cyber interference" in the past year.

A memo was sent out to Ray White agencies last month, warning agents to "never accept a change in bank account details via email without confirming its legitimacy with your client."

That memo seems a bit late to be able to help Mr Buckley.

In a statement to the media Westpac said that account names are not used for payments, but instead they rely on the 6 digit BSB (bank-state-branch) number plus account number.

Mr Buckley was advised to go to the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) for help. But OFT was of no assistance either. In a letter to Mr Buckley, OFT wrote that there was "insufficient evidence to support a breach of the Agents Financial Administration Act 2014 … or the Property Occupations Act 2014 in relation to the transaction."

He said that he might be able to sue to get his money back, but he is concerned that a suit would just eat up the money he was trying to get back.


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What is thank a property manager day

Thank a property manager day 22 November 2019

Thank a property manager day is a day 'invented' by Stacey Holt in 2012. A day that is long overdue to celebrate. I know, everyday is thank a property manager day. The day is usually celebrated on the last Friday of November each year, however, this year it has changed due to the last Friday being 29 November (maybe end of month for some... not the best day to celebrate) - this year 22 November 2019

 A day for all to stop, think, and celebrate the wonderful role that property managers play in society.

Organise a breakfast, lunch, morning tea, something, and stop and say thank you career managers of tenancy and property. Even if you have to thank yourself (if that is the case, contact me and I will thank you!)

I would love to see your photos of celebration!  #thankapropertymanager #thankapropertymanagerday

    Facebook page links below

Property Management Excellence

Stacey Holt Real Estate Excellence

Stacey Holt education and training

Agent ordered to pay $750 000 for 'stealing clients' and database

Rival real estate agent to pay Toops $750,000 after settling case

Harris Real Estate and one of its agents have agreed to pay Toop Real Estate $750,000 after the prominent Adelaide Hills agent used confidential files in breach of her contract and lured clients to Harris.

The settlement, executed in the District Court today, says Hooper used the files to develop business with rival agency Harris Real Estate, where she is currently employed.

Hooper ended her employment at Toop in June 2015 after disciplinary action was taken against her.

At an earlier District Court hearing, Toop sales and marketing CEO Genevieve Toop alleged that Hooper had “cracked” during a meeting at the agency’s Norwood offices in May 2015 when she realised the disciplinary action would make her ineligible for the company’s annual awards.

Hooper ended her seven-year employment at Toop on June 29, 2015, and commenced employment with Harris RE the following day.

The settlement said Hooper executed seven sales agency agreements on behalf of Harris Real Estate while still employed at Toop and altered at least 13 client records in Toop’s customer database by downgrading recorded interest levels of those clients from “hot” or “warm” to “cold”.

Hooper agreed she had printed data of more than 240 clients in Toop’s customer database with the intention of using the data to benefit of Harris Real Estate and had solicited work from 15 people who had done business with Toop.

Hooper also accepted she had enticed another employee of Toop to resign from the agency and take up employment with Harris Real Estate.

Toop’s lawyers had argued Hooper’s actions resulted in close to $30 million in property sales, which would have earned the Toop business commissions of more than $237,000.

 

Both Hooper and second defendant Harris Real Estate were today ordered by Auxiliary Judge Clayton to pay Toop RE $750,000, which includes interest and costs, within 21 days.

“I congratulate the parties and their advisors for arriving at a settlement,” Clayton told the court.

“This result is one which demonstrates commercial nous.”

Hooper was not present at today’s hearing but said in a statement to InDaily that after “a great seven years at Toop and Toop it is disappointing that things have ended this way.”

“It has become clear to me that our current employment contracts do not allow clients to choose who they wish to represent them,” Hooper said.

“This is something that needs to be addressed in the industry in the long term.”

Hooper said she was grateful for the support of Harris Real Estate and was looking forward to moving on “with clear air”.

The Toop family described the settlement as a win on behalf of “quality real estate agencies around Australia” in a statement issued after today’s hearing.

“TeamToop and FamilyToop have made a stand for integrity in business,” the statement said.

While employed at Toop, Hooper took out REISA’s hills salesperson of the year award in 2014. 

InDaily has contacted Harris Real Estate founder Phil Harris for comment. Sourced from www.indaily.com.au September 24 2018

Agent's handshake found not to be a crime

NSW

Reasons for decision

Introduction

  1. The applicant asserts that she is a victim of violent crime and has suffered injury as a result. The victims of crime scheme provides that eligible victims may be eligible for financial grants and access services under the Victims Rights and Support Act 2013 (the Act).

  2. In order to be eligible to recover under the scheme, a victim must either be a primary victim (the victim of an assault), or a secondary victim or family victim. As will be explained in these reasons, victims of crime must meet various statutory tests to receive benefits under the scheme. In the current matter, the applicant has failed to establish that she was a victim of a violent crime (the statutory term being ‘act of violence’) in accordance with the Act, and as a result her application for review will be dismissed and the decision of the respondent will be affirmed.

Background

  1. On 7 February 2018 the applicant filed an application for administrative review with the Tribunal. That application concerned how the respondent had dealt with her initial application and internal review for Victims Support.

  2. The application for review set out the following grounds:

I disagree with the decision by Victims Services as:

1. It was primarily based on the police report E64919537 (which was inaccurate and contained numerous factual errors).

2. It should have been based primarily on medical reports from my treating health professionals, myself and my son (a witness of the action).

Legislation

  1. On 3 June 2013 the Victims Rights and Support Act 2013 replaced the former Act – the Victims Support and Rehabilitation Act 1996. (the 1996 Act). Both schemes provided for similar eligibility criteria, with the main difference being the manner in which they provided support and assistance. The current Act replicated the 1996 Act central provisions as to an eligible victim of crime. The relevant current provisions are set out in the following sections of the Act:

5 Meaning of “victim of crime”

(1) For the purposes of this Part, a victim of crime is a person who suffers harm as a direct result of an act committed, or apparently committed, by another person in the course of a criminal offence.

(2) A person suffers harm if, as a result of such an act:

(a) the person suffers actual physical bodily harm or psychological or psychiatric harm, or

(b) the person’s property is deliberately taken, destroyed or damaged.

(3) If the person dies as a result of the act concerned, a member of the person’s immediate family is also a victim of crime for the purposes of this Part.

(4) If a person dies as a result of the act concerned and there is more than one member of the person’s immediate family, members of the immediate family may nominate a representative for the purposes of the Charter of Victims Rights.

….

19 Meaning of “act of violence”

(1) In this Act, act of violence means an act or series of related acts, whether committed by one or more persons:

(a) that has apparently occurred in the course of the commission of an offence, and

(b) that has involved violent conduct against one or more persons, and

(c) that has resulted in injury or death to one or more of those persons.

(s-19 has seven further subsections that are not relevant to this determination)_

….

20 Meaning of “primary victim”

(1) A primary victim of an act of violence is a person who is injured, or dies, as a direct result of that act.

(2) A primary victim of an act of violence extends to a person who is injured, or dies, as a direct result of:

(a) trying to prevent another person from committing that act, or

(b) trying to help or rescue another person against whom that act is being committed or has just been committed, or

(c) trying to arrest another person who is committing, or who has just committed, that act.

….

  1. There are various statutory tests which need to be met before a person can receive benefits under the Act. The administrator (the Commissioner of Victims Rights) understandably focussed on these threshold issues in both the initial decision and the Internal Review decision. It is therefore necessary to examine these threshold tests. The first is whether the applicant is the victim of an act of violence.

Jurisdiction

  1. There is no dispute that the Tribunal has jurisdiction to hear the matter. Section 51 of the Act provides for administrative review by the Tribunal.

51 Application to Tribunal for administrative review of decision concerning recognition payment

(1) An applicant for a recognition payment who is aggrieved by the decision of a decision maker in respect of the application may apply to the Tribunal for an administrative review under the Administrative Decisions Review Act 1997 of a decision made by the Commissioner following an internal review under section 49 of the decision maker’s decision with respect to the recognition payment.

(2) An applicant for a recognition payment who is aggrieved by the decision of the Commissioner in respect of the application may apply to the Tribunal for an administrative review under the Administrative Decisions Review Act 1997 of a decision made by the Commissioner.

  1. Nor was there any dispute that the application had been lodged within the 28 day period provided for by the operation of the s 55 of the Administrative Decisions Review Act 1997, (the ADR Act) and cl 23 and 24 of the Civil and Administrative Tribunal Rules 2014.

  2. The application under s 51 of the Act followed an internal review under s 49 of the Act. That review on 10 January 2018 reached the same decision as the original decision maker had on 6 October 2017. The Assessor had dismissed the application as the applicant had not established that she was the victim of an act of violence as defined in the Act. The application to the Tribunal was subsequently lodged on 7 February 2018.

  3. The Tribunal’s powers in relation to an application for administrative review are governed by s 63 of the ADR Act, which provides:

(1) In determining an application for an administrative review under this Act of an administratively reviewable decision, the Tribunal is to decide what the correct and preferable decision is having regard to the material then before it, including the following:

(a) any relevant factual material,

(b) any applicable written or unwritten law.

(2) For this purpose, the Tribunal may exercise all of the functions that are conferred or imposed by any relevant legislation on the administrator who made the decision.

(3) In determining an application for the administrative review of an administratively reviewable decision, the Tribunal may decide:

(a) to affirm the administratively reviewable decision, or

(b) to vary the administratively reviewable decision, or

(c) to set aside the administratively reviewable decision and make a decision in substitution for the administratively reviewable decision it set aside, or

(d) to set aside the administratively reviewable decision and remit the matter for reconsideration by the administrator in accordance with any directions or recommendations of the Tribunal.

Hearing

  1. At the hearing the applicant appeared in person and the respondent was represented by an employee Solicitor. The applicant was assisted by her adult son who whilst having some involvement in witnessing the incident or part of the series of events in question, was not required to give evidence for either party. Only the applicant gave evidence in the hearing.

  2. The following material was filed by the parties in support of the respective positions:

Applicant’s written evidence

  1. The applicant filed written material in support of her application.

  • Application for Administrative Review dated 4 February 2018 including grounds - Exhibit ‘A-1’.

  • Statutory Declaration of applicant 27 March 2018 – Exhibit ‘A-2’.

Respondent’s written evidence

  • Documents filed under s 58 of the ADR Act dated 1 March 2018 (51 Pages) – Exhibit ‘R-1’.

The respondent also filed and served written submissions dated 23 April 2018.

The administrator’s decisions

  1. The application to the Commissioner of Victims Rights concerned matters alleged to have occurred on 27 May 2017. When asked to briefly describe what happened, the applicant stated:

Part 3 : Briefly Describe what happened:

‘I attended the auction of the property (detailed above and in the enclosed brochure). The real estate agent for the unit -‘X.X’ – put out his right hand and took my left hand in his. He squeezed my left hand very hard and left my hand swollen and in pain. I reported the assault to my doctor (see report by Dr ‘R’) and to the police, however the offender denies causing me the pain and suffering.’

  1. The initial assessment of the claim occurred on 6 October 2017. The decision maker recorded the following:

2. the applicant seeks approved counselling services with respect to that act of violence under section 26 (1) (a) of the Act.

Reasons for Dismissal

4. the application form states the applicant attended an auction and the real estate agent for the property put out his right hand, took the applicant’s left hand and squeezed it hard causing pain and swelling.

5. As stated above, an act of violence is an act that has apparently occurred during the course of the commission of an offence and involves violent conduct.

6. based on the information before me, I am not satisfied an act of violence has occurred in accordance with section 19 of the Act.

  1. The decision maker went on to dismiss the application. In applying for an internal review the applicant provided medical material concerning treatment receipts for physiotherapy and a medical certificate from her G.P. Dr ‘R’ stating that she was the victim of a physical assault. On 10 January 2018 on review the Senior Assessor reviewed the available evidence in some detail. The police actions and records were set out showing the inquiries made and the evidence obtained by police from the alleged perpetrator.

  2. Near the end of the decision the following is recorded:

21. I accept on a balance of probabilities that there was a handshake between (DJD) and the real estate agent; however this was in the context of saying ‘goodbye’. I do not accept on a balance of probabilities that the real estate agent assaulted her. There were no witnesses to the incident other than her son who was in the room next to her. He disputes that (DJD) screamed after the handshake and said an ambulance was not called to the location. This was at odds with (DJD)’s explanation to police. There was a lengthy delay of 3 months prior to (DJD) deciding to report the incident. Her version of events changed in the course of speaking with police. I accept the real estate agent’s explanation that he was saying ‘goodbye’ to (DJD).

22. The submissions by (DJD) suggest that a handshake could amount to an assault because she was injured. In my view, the conduct of shaking (DJD)’s hand was not reckless or violent. …

  1. The Senior Assessor concluded that the applicant had not provided sufficient evidence to establish that she was the victim of any act of violence. The application for review was dismissed.

The hearing

  1. At the hearing the applicant made several statements from the bar table. I determined that much of what the applicant was asserting was more in the nature of evidence than submissions and as a result she was required to be sworn and to give evidence. I explained the procedure of the hearing and the difference between evidence and submissions to the applicant who was not legally represented.

Applicant’s evidence and submission

  1. In the applicant’s Statutory Declaration dated 27 March 2018 the following information relevant to the matter is submitted.

  • On Saturday 27 March 2017 the applicant attended the auction of a strata property in a Sydney suburb. At the end of the auction the real estate agent gestured to the applicant (a handshake invitation) and took her left hand in his right hand and squeezed it very hard.

  • The applicant told her son about the matter immediately (her son having been a couple of meters away along the hallway of the home unit).

  • The applicant’s left hand became swollen and she was in severe pain for several months.

  • The applicant reported the matter to her doctor and attended several physiotherapy treatments and continued to find using her left hand very difficult over the ensuing months.

  • On 29 August 2017 the applicant reported the matter to NSW Police. The police attended the applicant’s home that evening in respect of the reporting for about 20 minutes. Event Number E64919537 was created as a result.

  • On 29 September 2017 an application for Victims support was made.

  • The applicant attests that the police report E64919537 is grossly inaccurate. Specifically the applicant denies telling police that :

She screamed or shouted as loud as she could (when the handshake occurred)

She told police that she fainted at the scene and an ambulance was called.

Her son suggested that the Real Estate Agent’s request for charity donations may have been misunderstood by the applicant as sexual advances.

She continually contacted the Real Estate Agent via text messages asking him ‘what are you doing’.

Or any evidence that she changed her story with police .

  • The police had no basis to make comments concerning the applicant’s possible or likely mental health issues.

  1. At the hearing the Tribunal utilised the provisions of s-38 (2) of the Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 2013 to examine the applicant in the absence of any representation or cross-examination. The section provides:

38 Procedure of Tribunal generally

(1) The Tribunal may determine its own procedure in relation to any matter for which this Act or the procedural rules do not otherwise make provision.

(2) The Tribunal is not bound by the rules of evidence and may inquire into and inform itself on any matter in such manner as it thinks fit, subject to the rules of natural justice.

  1. The applicant gave evidence that she had met the agent at an open house viewing of the property on 13 May 2017 some weeks prior to the auction date. The applicant contracted influenza sometime after the open house date and was still suffering from the flu on the day of the auction.

  2. The auction concluded. The applicant said to her son:

‘I want to say goodbye to ‘V’ (the agent).

  1. The agent put out his hand gesturing, and squeezed it tighter and tighter. The applicant stated that she was pleading in her heart for him to stop. Her hand was throbbing. The applicant dropped her phone.

  2. The applicant bandaged her (injured) hand herself. (A photo of the bandaged hand is in the s 58 documents). The applicant did not obtain medical treatment at the time.

Respondent’s submissions

  1. In written submissions the respondent stated that the applicant has not established that she is a primary victim of an act of violence and is not eligible for a recognition payment.

  2. The respondent submitted that whilst the applicant had provided medical evidence concerning an apparent injury or problem with her hand, that evidence is dated some four and five months after the date of the claimed incident.

  3. The respondent also highlighted the discrepancy in the applicant’s earlier evidence as set out in the police report. In addition the agent denies any assault and the applicant’s son who was nearby said he did not witness the incident.

  4. The son’s statement on page 34 of the s 58 bundle states:

‘(DJD)’ waited for (the Agent) at the entrance of the kitchen. (The Agent) said to ‘(DJD)’ “I’ll call you next week,” then put out his right hand and took ‘(DJD)’s left hand in his and pressed it.

Consideration

  1. I infer that the information in [29] is what the witness observed. The statement goes on to record what (DJD) said and did following the incident. I note that none of these matters immediately following the handshake were in contest. The matters in the police report however (concerning screaming and calling an ambulance) were in contest. However these matters do not specifically concern the alleged act of violence but may be relevant in determining the credibility of witnesses.

  2. I note in particular that the applicant did not wish her son to give any evidence at the hearing and only sought to rely on his statement. In addition I note that when police eventually obtained a version of events from the son, that version is broadly consistent with his statement. The discrepancies appear to relate to what the applicant has stated at various times. It appears that the discrepancies surrounding the incident relate only to the applicant’s evidence. The central incident is clearly disputed between the applicant and the real estate agent.

  3. I also note that the applicant did not seek to call the reporting police officers to clarify these discrepancies. I also note that when the police questioned the son the record shows that he provided a possible explanation as to some misunderstanding between the applicant and the agent. Again I observe that in the absence of further evidence either from the police or the son, this issue cannot be resolved. However the applicant tendered her son’s statement.

  4. In addition when the applicant complained to the agent’s employer the evidence indicated that she did not adequately supply the particulars of the incident. The delay in medical treatment has not been explained by the applicant.

  5. There appear to be two statutory impediments to the applicant’s claim succeeding. The clearest impediment is the apparent failure to meet the requirements of s 39 of the Act. Section 39 provides as follows:

39 Documentary evidence

(1) An application for victims support is to be accompanied by such documentary evidence as may be required by the approved form.

(2) Without limiting subsection (1), the documentary evidence to be required:

(a) for an application for financial assistance for immediate needs under section 26—is documentary evidence (such as a medical or police report) sufficient to support, on the balance of probability, the applicant’s claim to be a victim of an act of violence, and

(b) for an application for financial assistance for economic loss under section 26 or 27 or for a recognition payment—is a police report or report of a Government agency and a medical, dental or counselling report verifying that the applicant or child who is the primary victim concerned has actually been injured as a result of an act of violence.

(emphasis added)

  1. This mandatory requirement was introduced into the Victims of Crime scheme with the 2013 amendments to the scheme that resulted in the current 2013 Act. The Victims Support and Rehabilitation Act 1996 (the old Act) contained no such mandatory requirement even though the statutory phrase and meaning of ‘act of violence’ was expressed in identical terms to the current Act. The police report does not in my view support any act of violence in the nature of a deliberate or reckless act that could be classified as an assault.

  2. The medical evidence does not specifically identify the cause of any medical issue. Whilst some of the reports recite the origins of the injury they do no more than provide what would appear to be a history given by the applicant. I also note that they were provided between four and five months after the incident. The G.P. report of 22 September 2017 curiously states that:

This is to confirm that Mrs (DJD) was the victim of an alleged physical assault on 27/5/17.

(Emphasis added)

  1. I also note that the medical reports do not arise in the circumstances required by s 39, in that they are not a report from a Government agency.

  2. The other issue relates to the requirement for the matter to have ‘apparently occurred in the course of the commission of an offence’, as set out in s 19 (1) (a) of the Act. The legal concepts of mens rea and actus rea are relevant in all acts of violence under the Act notwithstanding the use of the term ‘apparently’ in the section.

  3. At law Mens Rea is generally meant to be the state of mind which is required to commit any kind of crime including property crime and crimes against the person or other types of crime. On the other hand, Actus Reus means the physical acts of the accused person which are required to be shown at trial to establish that an offence has been committed.

  4. Both Mens Rea and Actus Reus must exist simultaneously. On the evidence and material before me the actions of the alleged perpetrator do not meet the criteria of Actus Rea. The evidence in the son’s statement, namely that he observed the agent ‘put out his right hand and took (DJD’s) left hand in his and pressed it’ does not establish to the requisite standard physical acts to establish that an offence (of violence) has been committed. The agent denies any assault.

  5. There is no evidence to establish that the agent intended to assault the applicant. I make this observation based on all of the evidence including the totality of the applicant’s own evidence. The un-particularised issue concerning charity donations does not in my view (even on the applicant’s own version) indicate such a motivation or intention concerning the agent.

  6. In respect of the element of Mens Rea, I note that it is possible that the agent may have intended to harm the applicant. In addition his state of mind on the available evidence was such that the element could be technically met. However, on the evidence before me his actions appear neither intentional or reckless. The police spoke to the agent, his employer sought details of the complaint from the applicant (to no avail), and the applicant’s son made a statement as a witness. All of this material did not advance that applicant’s argument that the agent assaulted her.

  7. The medical evidence does not particularly assist. The G.P.’s report is many months after the incident. The photo shows a dressing that the applicant applied herself. There was no professional medical treatment at the time of the incident or shortly afterwards.

  8. The Tribunal must be satisfied on the balance of probabilities that the agent intended to harm the applicant, in that it must be more likely than not on the available evidence that this was the case. In my view the evidence does not establish that it was more likely than not that the agent intended to harm the applicant.

Findings

  1. I do not find that the agent had the intention to commit a crime while he was shaking the applicant’s hand.

  2. Further I do not find that the agent committed a crime by shaking the applicant’s hand firmly or in some other physically hard or aggressive manner.

  3. I find that the applicant has not established that she was the victim of an act of violence.

  4. I also find that the applicant has not discharged her onus under s 39 of the Act.

  5. The applicant has understandably focused her application before the Tribunal on overcoming the issues identified by the earlier decision makers. Whilst s 39 of the Act was not specifically referred to in those decisions it was referred to in the respondent’s written submissions filed and served 27 April 2018.

  6. I note that the issues concerning whether an act of violence occurred were always central to the application.

Conclusion

  1. For the reasons outlined above, as the applicant has failed to establish that she was the victim of an act of violence, and has not satisfied the provisions of s 39 of the Act, the application must be dismissed and the decision of the respondent affirmed.

Orders

  1. The decision of the respondent dated 10 January 2018 is affirmed.

**********

 

I hereby certify that this is a true and accurate record of the reasons for decision of the Civil and Administrative Tribunal of New South Wales. Registrar

DISCLAIMER - Every effort has been made to comply with suppression orders or statutory provisions prohibiting publication that may apply to this judgment or decision. The onus remains on any person using material in the judgment or decision to ensure that the intended use of that material does not breach any such order or provision. Further enquiries may be directed to the Registry of the Court or Tribunal in which it was generated.

Decision last updated: 17 July 2018

Sourced from www.caselaw.nsw.gov.au 18 July 2018