Articles in Category: Property Management information

Article and information that are of interest to property managers. Note; some articles may be Queensland legislation focused.


RTRA Act review - Queensland tenancy law reform

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

Updates will be provided to Real Estate Excellence member offices via email and posted in the private FB members only group Queensland member office private group. 

11th November 2020 - 2021 and residential tenancy law

With the Labor Government re-elected for its third term on 31st October 2020, the proposed tenancy changes due in 2020 will most likely proceed in 2021. The proposed changes under Labor were poised to be introduced into Parliament as per their public schedule and then Covid began. The proposed laws were paused and the Covid temporary tenancy regulations were created.

review timeline

The following blog is in date order of events, announcements and submissions. Please scroll down to review. The blog begins (from the bottom of the blog) from when the Act started being reviewed 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. The regulation is yet to be released for minimum housing standards.  (as noted below in date order of blog)  Stacey Holt www.qld.gov.au/rentinginqld 

24th September 2020 - A short video update regarding the Queensland tenancy law review here. 

 AA LNP

December 12 2019 - My final statement and submission regarding the 'tenancy law reform' - RTRA Act review

Real Estate Excellence – Stacey Holt

Submission to the Queensland Labor Government

Regulatory Impact Statement.

There should be further consultation after the closing of the RIS on 28th December 2019 with all the sector by the Government releasing the draft Act and regulations amendments. This would be a more democratic, reasonable and just way to truly achieve the outcome of making renting fair for all parties.  The Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) which commenced in December 1, 2009 should also be reviewed as part of tenancy law reform. QCAT is made up of 24 tribunals; as part of this review, the tenancy arm of the Tribunal should be reviewed with tenancy law reform. 

The Labor Government of Queensland has conducted the review of rental tenancy laws in Queensland in such an extraordinary way and have created a lot of uncertainty, and some fear for investors and the Real Estate industry.

The review carried out in 2018 was arduous, complex and lengthy. Most in the sector would not have had the time to keep up with the review for what turned out to be almost three months in length.

The reported statistic of 2% of the property management industry contributed to the 135 000 responses is not correctly represented given organisations such as my company Real Estate Excellence who has over 250 agency member offices, the REIQ, PPM Group and Real Estate Dynamics to name other substantial industry representation and membership.

The Minister for Housing posted on his social media page recently regarding taking the pledge relating to victims of domestic and or family violence in tenancies having an easier option to end tenancies. What was disappointing and has added to fear, possible anger and confusion by many in the sector, is the Minister called for people to take the ‘pledge’ and sign an online submission to support people in these terrible situations in relation to tenancy law. What was most disappointing, and quite a shock is the link to the Labor Party website to complete and ‘sign’ support, stated that by taking the pledge, people agree to ending revenge evictions, minimum housing standards, tenants right to make modifications and right to have pets, plus tenant right to end tenancies who are victims of family and domestic violence.

Strategies such as what have been used by the Minister, and other members of the Labor party have only escalated the confusion, fear and uncertainty. The RIS is meant to discuss the Government preferred option and call for feedback from all parts of the sector; the language and behaviour of Government during the review, and now the consultation stage shows a great bias towards any constructive feedback and a very unbalanced approach. I will discuss the matter of without grounds further shortly, however, it must be said that Government language verbally and in writing of stopping revenge and or retaliatory evictions is aggressive, embellished and without substantiated evidence it occurs. There appears to be only anecdotal evidence. In my review and knowledge of QCAT cases over these last ten years, there have been three decisions/appeals published regarding retaliatory eviction applications. Not all decisions or appeals are published. If this is such as widespread issue, where are the RTA statistics of fact from their call centre, and or dispute resolution?

This critical stage of consultation, and the Regulatory Impact Statement is lacking in detail and is disappointing. Whilst the 170-page document is detailed, it is lacking in detail.

What is needed for such as substantial change to legislation is detail. Where are the proposed amendments to review and comment on? The timeline provided by the Government states the next stage is the decision of the RIS and then the bill, I cannot see there will be further consultation to what is most important, the facts. The bill will then be introduced into Parliament.

Most of the RIS is unbalanced and not fair or just to all parties. There is one possible benefit for an investor being the proposed introduction of a notice to leave for serious breach. This has long been lacking in the industry, particularly with drug use, manufacturing and contamination being a concern within the sector. All other proposed reforms potentially benefit tenants only. This is not about the investor right or control; though some certainly feel disempowered and fearful about their investment of hundreds of thousands of dollars. A reasonable person would understand that fear and Government are attempting to dictate how an investor can decide the future of their investment. Investment is a private business.

Government should be focusing on purchasing land, properties, and creating affordable rental housing. There appears to be a deliberate intent of Government imposing their obligations onto private investors, plus increasing compliance, therefore cost. The smoke alarm law second tranche that began in 2017 is due to expire December 31, 2021. Investors have this cost, along with unknown other requirements regarding minimum housing standards. It is fear of loss of control, rights to make decisions about investments, and the affordability and risk of having such investments that is making the sector uneasy. The property is an investment for an investor and is not bought to fulfil a much-needed supply of social and affordable housing; that is the role of Government of which we pay substantial tax for.

I am not disputing property needs to be safe, and fit to live in. Ever since the RTRA Act was first put under review in 2012 by the former LNP Government, I have supported the existing laws as provided in my submission in 2018 when the review was carried out. A parliamentary committee stated in 2014 the law did not need to be amended as shown in extract below.

e

Public tax payer monies should have been focused on education and informing people of their rights (tenants), and investors of their obligations with what is currently in law. Instead, increased red tape and cost is being introduced.

Regarding the further proposed changes in the RIS regarding minor modifications, sections 217 to 219 cover tenant and lessor obligations and rights regarding making changes. There was and is no need for further legislation to complicate and confuse a matter which is already provided for in the legislation.

The sector should know at this stage of the review of such important legislation for many the following;

  • What are the proposed reasonable grounds for a lessor to refuse a pet?
  • What is the definition of minor modification?
    • Why is the time frame for response only 7 days? A more reasonable time frame to allow for contact, discussion and negotiation is recommended to be 14 days.
    • What detail will be in the legislation regarding returning the property in the same condition if minor modification without approval, or with fast-track approval?
  • What are the minimum housing standards going to be?
    • This is most disappointing given section 17A was inserted, and section 185 amended by the Government in November 2017. Given all this time, it is disappointing they have not been provided for a more constructive consultation. People do not know what they are disputing, agreeing to or in part agreeing to etc.
    • Increased repair and maintenance provisions in the RIS state RTA prosecution as an option for non-compliance of QCAT repair orders. Again, there is no detail to constructive consult and or give feedback on this matter.
    • Providing property managers authority regarding emergency repair authorisation is of concern given the PO Act and the OFT regulate the industry as opposed to the RTA. What is further of concern is section 22 of the AFA Act prohibits agencies from drawing trust account monies from a client’s ledger to pay accounts such as contractors without the clients written authority. Providing authority in the RTRA Act for property agents to authorise emergency repairs is possibly putting businesses at risk, as the industry legislation states the actual account cannot be paid without client written consent.
    • Are the RTA going to also regulate property agents, and will there be amendments to the PO and AFA Act to allow and cover such proposed authorise in the RTRA Act?

In relation to Domestic and Family violence being a reason a tenant can provide notice is supported in part; the time frame for notice should be more reasonable and be 14 days. The ability for a cotenant to give 21 days’ notice when a victim terminates due to violence, should not proceed. Any people named on the tenancy contract who are on the lease have other ways to end the tenancy and if they are not the effected party, should not be given a provision to end a tenancy when they are not the victim.

Without grounds as a reason to end a fixed term tenancy has long been an emotive issue within the industry. The proposed preferred Government option of removing the without grounds as a reason to end a fixed term or period tenancy contract and replace with prescribed reasons is a highly controversial matter. What about the Australian Consumer Law (ACL) and the unfair contract terms; isn’t such proposed terms in a contract unbalanced and give more power to one party over another. The tenant should have a home; but it is not their property, it is the property of the investor.

An unintended consequence which appears to not have been considered is Landlord insurance and risk. Most landlord insurance policies provide no, or limited coverage for periodic tenancies. Common practice of industry since the notice to leave without grounds provision was increased to two months in 2009 is for lessors to be contacted by their agents around 2.5 to 3 months prior to a fixed term agreement contract expiring. The only reason this best practice procedure occurs is in the event the lessor wishes for the tenancy contract to end at the end of the fixed term agreement, and the two months’ notice can be provided to the tenant.

The RIS notes Queensland has some of the highest fixed term tenancy contracts in Australia. The reason this would long be the case is due to security of all parties, best practice and particularly, landlord insurance. If a tenant is offered a new agreement contract (lease renewal), and refuses to enter into a lease renewal, the tenancy reverts to a periodic. This leaves the investor in a serious position of risk due to reasons noted above; most lessor insurance policies provide limited and no coverage in the event of loss if a tenancy contract is periodic. Due to insurance and management of risk and security, tenants may be given a notice to leave without grounds if they do not wish to enter into a new tenancy agreement (leaser renewal).

Most tenants are good people, as are most investor lessors and agents. Bad things happen to good people meaning if the tenant does not want to enter into a lease renewal agreement, as they want the flexibility of a periodic lease, and the lessor does not have a proposed prescribed reason to end the tenancy, the investor is left in a dangerous position if the tenant situation and life changes. Examples include addiction, job losses, relationship dispute as opposed to violence and more. In the event the good tenancy ‘goes bad’, and the lease is periodic, there is great risk of loss to the investor. Is there a possibly of introducing a reason to give notice to leave is if the tenant does not enter into a fixed term agreement when offered? It appears tenants want security, and increased rights to make the investors property their home, but also want the flexibility. That is unfair to the investor who carries all the risk and cost of the investment property and is not a balanced approach of Government.

There are genuine concerns that investors may leave the market due to their loss of right to end a tenancy contract for their asset without grounds for the reasons stated in this submission. This is a possibly the Government cannot find afford to risk, given supply and demand drive rental market price, plus, the lack of social housing and homelessness. All parties most likely will suffer should the removal of without grounds proceed.

The solution to the minority of lessors who the Government call the ‘retaliatory and revenge eviction’ is to introduce a penalty unit provision if a tenant is provided a without ground notice in breach of section 291, with section 292 allowing for tenant to make complaint to the RTA if there is an alleged breach of the lessor in giving a notice to leave without grounds during a fixed term, and or periodic contract.

My understanding is Tenants Queensland have long expressed concern regarding section 292 in the tenant must ‘action’. The action being applying to tribunal within 4 weeks of being given a notice to leave and it is thought to be retaliation to a tenant utilising their rights, such as issuing a breach to lessor for alleged breach of their maintenance obligations under section 185.

The option of introducing a penalty for the issuing of a notice to leave without grounds is a win for all parties; and provides the tenant an effortless cost free option of complaining to the RTA for review of the notice to leave without grounds given in breach of section 291. The RTA should have the option of setting the notice aside, plus opposing a penalty if upon their usual investigation procedures finds the lessor is in breach.

There may be administration burden for the RTA; however, this should not deter the Government consideration given the serious risks involved for all parties should notice to leave without grounds be removed from the legislation as noted above. Given the number of QCAT decisions relating to retaliatory evictions in the last ten years, a substantial administration burden is not expected to occur for the RTA. This is a matter that could be reviewed in the years to come. The Government can fix this so-called widespread industry practice which is greatly disputed by introducing a penalty unit offence and ability to set aside a notice to leave without ground if it is found there has been a breach by the lessor of section 291.

Most of the unbalanced proposed reforms require an action of the lessor investor and or agent to take a matter to QCAT; such as refusing a pet (reasonable grounds unknown), and minor modifications not agreed to. As stated earlier, my understanding is Tenants Queensland have long had concerns that tenants have to take an ‘action’ such as apply to QCAT to enforce their rights they believe are being breached. It is proposed in the RIS that it will all fall on the investor lessor and or their agent to act for these matters. Again, this is very unfair and unbalanced approach.

Tenants have the right and should have to make the property their home. But the reality is, it is not their property. It is their home for the terms of the legal contract. Investors who are carrying all the cost and risk, should have a say as in any business transaction as to what occurs with their investment and not be dictated by Government. Government should create more housing and focus on policy for housing people to have homes for life as part of social housing.

There should be further consultation after the closing of the RIS on 28th December 2019 with all the sector by the Government releasing the draft Act and regulations amendments. This would be a more reasonable and just way to truly achieve the outcome of making renting fair for all parties.

Yours sincerely

Stacey Holt

Company Director

Real Estate Excellence

www.realestateexcellence.com.au

December 10 2019 - Tenants Queensland event

I was asked to speak as a panelist at a Tenant Queensland event "Generation rent needs a home" on the 10th December 2019.. My notes for this event can be heard as a podcast here.

December 9 2019 - Minimum housing standards submission Real Estate Excellence

If you agree with my submission below, you are welcome to copy and paste, make any final edits and submission to the review by 28th December 2019. Give feedback to the Queensland Labor Government here.

I write in response to the Regulatory Impact Statement regarding proposed minimum housing standards.

As stated in my submission during the review in 2018 (further down in this submission), again, it is difficult to provide constructive and meaningful feedback in relation to proposed minimum housing standards as there is little detail provided in the RIS as to what the minimum housing standards mean. By not releasing the actual draft regulation at this point of the reform, Government are greatly disadvantaging investors by not enabling a constructive and fair consultation regarding proposed standards.

Under the proposal, all rental properties in Queensland would need to meet certain standards addressing:

  • weatherproofing and structural soundness
  • plumbing and drainage
  • security
  • the standard of repair of fixtures and fittings
  • control of pests and vermin
  • ventilation, lighting and privacy
  • cooking and food preparation facilities

We are also recommending changes to ensure that property owners and managers comply with the Minimum Housing Standards and basic requirements for repairs and maintenance. These include:

  • enhanced QCAT repair orders
  • an increase in the time allowed for a tenant to return a condition report
  • a requirement for property owners to provide key contact details for emergency repairs
  • an increase in the value of emergency repairs that can be authorised by a tenant
  • a new authority for property managers to approve emergency repairs, if the owner is unavailable

Given section 17A and amended section 185 have been in place since 2017, it is a great concern for transparency and a fair balanced approach, the Government have not released the regulations in draft as part of this stage of the rental reform review. It is hoped to have the draft regulations for further consultation before a Government decision is finalised moving forward.

22nd October 2018

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?

Bottom of Form

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

Bottom of Form

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

Top of Form

Bottom of Form

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

December 8 2019 - Removal of without grounds provision Real Estate Excellence submission

Important - Please watch if you’re in Queensland regarding the proposed removal of without grounds (reason) provision to end a tenancy agreement contract.
A huge unintended consequence that I’ll be adding to my feedback. Watch here.

Real Estate Excellence submission provided to Government regarding the proposed removal of notice to leave without grounds to end a tenancy. You are welcome to copy and paste and provide to Goverment in your own right should you agree. 

Thank you for the opportunity to provide this submission in response to the Regulatory Impact Statement (RIS).

This submission relates to the Government preferred option to remove the without grounds provision of ending a tenancy in Queensland and replacing with prescribed reasons along with the existing provisions.

As per the submission provided during the review in 2018 (supplied further down this submission), there are further reasons why the Government need to consider another approach regarding the ending of tenancies.

An unintended consequence which appears to not have been considered is Landlord insurance and risk. Most landlord insurance policies provide no, or limited coverage for periodic tenancies. Common practice of industry since the notice to leave without grounds provision was increased to two months in 2009 is for lessors to be contacted by their agents around 2.5 to 3 months prior to a fixed term agreement contract expiring. The only reason this best practice procedure occurs is in the event the lessor wishes for the tenancy contract to end at the end of the fixed term agreement, and the two months’ notice can be provided to the tenant.

The Regulatory Impact Statement notes that Queensland has some of the highest fixed term tenancy contracts in Australia. The reason this would long be the case is due to security of all parties, best practice and particularly, landlord insurance. If a tenant is offered a new agreement contract (lease renewal), and refuses to enter into a lease renewal, the tenancy reverts to a periodic. This leaves the investor in a serious position of risk due to reasons noted above; most lessor insurance policies provide limited and no coverage in the event of loss if a tenancy contract is periodic. Due to insurance and management of risk and security, tenants may be given a notice to leave without grounds if they do not wish to enter into a new tenancy agreement (leaser renewal).

Most tenants are good people, as are most investor lessors and agents. Bad things happen to good people meaning if the tenant does not want to enter into a lease renewal agreement, as they want the flexibility of a periodic lease, and the lessor does not have a proposed prescribed reason to end the tenancy, the investor is left in a dangerous position if the tenant situation and life changes. Examples include addiction, job losses, relationship dispute as opposed to violence and more. In the event the good tenancy ‘goes bad’, and the lease is periodic, there is great risk of loss to the investor.

There are genuine concerns that investors may leave the market due to their loss of right to end a tenancy contract for their asset without grounds. This is a possibly the Government cannot find afford to risk, given supply and demand drive rental market price, plus, the lack of social housing and homelessness. All parties will suffer should the removal of without grounds proceed.

The solution to the minority of lessors who the Government call the ‘retaliatory and revenge eviction’ is to introduce a penalty unit provision if a tenant is provided a without ground notice in breach of section 291, with section 292 allowing for tenant to make complaint to the RTA if there is an alleged breach of the lessor.

Of my review and knowledge of all QCAT published decisions and appeals during the last ten years, my understanding is there are three known cases that involve retaliatory eviction. Not all decisions and appeals are published. It is an indication the matter of lessors giving a notice to leave in breach of section 291 may not be as widespread as stated by Government in the Regulatory Impact Statement, media statements and social media posts.

My understanding is Tenants Queensland have long expressed concern regarding section 292 in the tenant must ‘action’. The action being applying to tribunal within 4 weeks of being given a notice to leave and it is thought to be retaliation to a tenant utilising their rights, such as issuing a breach to lessor for alleged breach of their maintenance obligations under section 185.

The option of introducing a penalty for the issuing of a notice to leave without grounds is a win for all parties; and provides the tenant an effortless cost free option of complaining to the RTA for review of the notice to leave without grounds given in breach of section 291. The RTA should have the option of setting the notice aside, plus opposing a penalty if upon their usual investigation procedures finds the lessor is in breach.

There may be administration burden for the RTA; however, this should not deter the Government consideration given the serious risks involved for all parties should notice to leave without grounds be removed from the legislation as noted above. Given the number of QCAT decisions relating to retaliatory evictions in the last ten years, a substantial administration burden is not expected to occur for the RTA. This is a matter that could be reviewed in the years to come. The Government can fix this so-called widespread industry practice which is greatly disputed by introducing a penalty unit offence and ability to set aside a notice to leave without ground if it is found there has been a breach by the lessor of section 291.

22nd October 2018

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

0423 018 539

Yours sincerely

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Stacey Holt

Company Director

Real Estate Excellence Academy Pty Ltd

December 6 2019

Important - Please watch if you’re in Queensland regarding the proposed removal of without grounds (reason) provision to end a tenancy agreement contract.
A huge unintended consequence that I’ll be adding to my feedback. Watch here.

December 5 2019

It is interesting to note when changes to tenancy law regarding minimum housing standards were first raised in Queensland in 2012, the former LNP Government reviewed the RTRA Act in the 'usual way'. Discussion paper and released draft legislation. In 2014, the LNP Government at the time released the following. Of particular interest is the first paragraph. When LNP lost the election in January 2015, Labor ignored the Committee and other recommendations as shown below and proceeded to increase costs for investors in Queensland. Over the many years of providing submissions and contributing to the review of the RTRA Act in 2018, I still stand by the facts that current legislation in the Act protects tenants from the very small amount of rogue lessors who may not do the right thing. I have my submissions on this matter at my blog (scroll down to review). Alas, given section 17A was introduced into the RTRA Act regarding minimum housing standards in November 2017 by the Labor Government, plus the amendment of section 185 at the time, we are now just waiting for the regulations as the Act has already been amended for minimum housing standards.

mini

December 4 2019

Watch a short video regarding proposed removal of the without grounds to end a tenancy provision here.

Watch a short video regarding proposed tenants right to have pets provision  here.

December 3 2019

A 30 minute training podcast with workbook has been produced for Platinum PME system member offices regarding stage one of the RTRA Act review. For more information, listen to a podcast here

November 26 2019

I have been asked by a number of franchise groups and independent agencies to write submissions in relation to the RTRA Act review for a fee for service. Whilst I am most grateful to be asked, below is my response upon request regarding writing submissions for agencies/groups as a service.

Thanks for the thought and consideration. A ‘fee free’ option is to review my website, and past submissions of which the group/your agency are welcome to copy/paste and make any final edits.

My blog below runs in Date order. The review of the RTRA Act occurred last year. I made 13 submissions during the review in 2018 on behalf of my membership and industry.

The review part is over, and it is now the regulatory impact consultation. I am not saying it is too late, however, the key part for submissions was last year. Now feedback is being sought from Government regarding the preferred recommendations of Government as part of Stage 1 of the rental reforms - www.qld.gov.au/rentinginqld. The regulatory impact statement has preferred options of Government for each of the 5 themes as part of stage one; questions for response are asked as part of the preferred Government options. This stage ends on 28 December 2019. 

November 22 2019

Federal energy ministers

Calls for changes that could save renters up to $1400 a year

Renters could see their electricity bills slashed by up to $1434 a year if new measures being pushed by 40 community groups are supported.

Community, health and research groups including the Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) are pushing for new energy efficiency standards to cover rental properties.

Analysis has shown that the average house could save between $667 and $1434 a year if landlords invested $5000 in upgrades including a more efficient hot water heat pump, upgraded airconditioning and LED lights.

State and federal energy ministers are expected to consider the measures at a meeting on Friday, including a work plan to develop a rating tool for existing homes, and a national framework for mandated energy efficiency standards.

They are also expected to explore funding options for upgrades to social housing and for low income homeowners. Read more here.

November 21 2019

Watch a short video regarding the review here.

November 20 2019

Disappointed to see the Queensland Labor Housing Minister using ways such as below for people to visit this link shown and “pledge” their support for all of below, and using the proposed new Domestic Violence provisions as a way for people to make their “pledge”. The Minister posted comment below regarding Domestic Violence, and the comment following provides a link. The link is supporting all of the proposed changes, not Domestic Violence as indicated the post. 

Debrenni post dv

Debrenni comment

Pledge post

November 19 2019

Queensland Labor Government look at allowing tenants to make minor changes, without disclosing what that would mean (the actual detail), here is an example of what it could mean. 
Below is NSW Tenancy law definition, in part, of minor nature from the RT regulations draft.
Minor nature NSW 1

 minor nature NSW 2

November 19 2019

Now is not the time to be negative. Cool heads must prevail. Since the release of stage one of the RTRA Act review (the consultation stage), many people are expressing outrage, and rightfully so, at the Queensland Labor Government regarding the proposed removal of an investor right to end a tenancy without grounds. The Government have used negative, emotive, unfair and unjust words often in relation to this matter. It is, and never was eviction, or evicting people without reason. It is ending a tenancy without grounds, termination of a contract, the end. There is a big difference.

Since the introduction of QCAT and published decisions and appeals in December 1, 2009, I have searched and saved every known tenancy case published. According to my records of almost ten years (QCAT is ten years old on 1 December 2019), there have been three matters published relating to retaliatory terminations/evictions. A reminder for Real Estate Excellence member offices that every known QCAT case published is at Member Online, folder 30 PME.

Cool heads again must prevail. Whilst the review is over, and we are at the consulting stage, it is not too late. I encourage all of industry now to inform their clients and use every means possible to inform people on what is being proposed. Whilst the Government statistics state 135 000 responses were received, the finer detail of that must be considered. 2% of responses were from agents. The review was carried out in many ways, including booths in shopping centres, social media and ‘pop up stalls’. I was, and still am very critical of the way the review was carried out as noted in my date order running blog.

You are welcome to use my submission to send to Government as part of the consulting stage. Please email me,  or copy/paste, make any of your own edits from my blog. We have until December 28, 2019 to have our say. My submission can be found further on this blog (date November 17 2019), or here.  The next stage is the draft legislation.

November 18 2019 

The RTA are not carrying out the review as such; The Department of Housing are carrying out the review. Whilst the RTA is part of this Department, they are not conducting the review process. 

Email received from Department of Housing and Public Works 3.15pm below.

Help shape Queensland's tenancy laws

A review of Queensland’s tenancy laws is underway to ensure the rental needs of Queenslanders are met now and in the future.

With more Queenslanders renting, and renting for longer, it is important that tenancy laws support individuals and families to find a safe, secure and sustainable place to call home.

These laws also need to protect the investments of property owners, who provide much needed housing for an increasing number of Queenslanders.

More than 135,000 responses were received during last year's Open Doors to Renting Reform consultation.

We heard that Queenslanders want to feel safe and secure in the rental market, either as a tenant enjoying the property as their own home, or as an owner protecting the property as their investment.

While a common set of renting issues were identified as important for all stakeholders, views about how Queensland’s tenancy laws should address these issues were diverse.

Our Reform Roadmap outlines our response to the consultation findings and sets out a two-stage approach to a better renting future for Queensland.

We’ve developed a Consultation Regulatory Impact Statement to seek feedback on options to change Queensland’s tenancy laws, including any potential impacts.

There are five priority areas that you can provide feedback on:

  • ending a tenancy fairly
  • minimum housing standards
  • domestic and family violence
  • minor modifications
  • renting with pets.

Your feedback on the Consultation Regulatory Impact Statement will inform future policy decisions made by the Government to ensure we get tenancy law reforms right.

Submissions can be made online or by post. The consultation is open for six weeks and all submissions must be received by 5pm AEST, 28 December 2019.


Stay in touch

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November 17 2019 

The Consultation Regulatory Impact statement released on the 16th November 2019 (below) proposes the removal of the without grounds provision from the RTRA Act. Read more, and suggestions on what investors and industry can do now, click here.  Listen to podcast on this matter here.

November 17 2019

The Consultation Regulatory Impact statement released on the 16th November 2019 (below) proposes the right of tenants to make minor alterations to a rental property. Read more, and suggestions on what investors and industry can do now, click here.  Listen to podcast on this matter here.

November 16 2019 - Stage 1 of RTRA Act review released

Listen to a podcast regarding the RTRA Act review stage one here.

The Queensland Government have released the first stage proposed consultation report to the RTRA Act. As noted below, the review and future changes are proposed to be carried out in two stages. 

Members of Real Estate Excellence; More information will be provided to members Monday 18th November via email as part of the "as it happens member update' service. Members will be provided with fact sheets, quick guides and more.  A new folder at Member Online has been created called RTRA Act review stage 1. 

Real Estate Excellence member offices If any member would like the detailed overview I have written regarding stage 1 RTRA Act review emailed to them over the weekend, please email me. Otherwise, information will be sent to you as part of membership services first thing Monday morning. Contact us.
I shall also discuss the released information as part of the upcoming Thank a Property Manager special one day event.  (22nd November 2019), and at future education and training events.

Media Statements JOINT STATEMENT

Deputy Premier, Treasurer and Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships
The Honourable Jackie Trad

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

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Renting reform provides roadmap to save lives and curb domestic violence

The Palaszczuk Government has announced its plans to ensure safety and fairness in the Queensland rental market, after a huge response to community consultation.

Minister for Housing and Public Works Mick de Brenni said the response to consultation had been massive.

“It’s a sign of how strongly the community feels about renting that we’ve seen over 135,000 responses to our request for feedback through Open Doors to Renting Reform,” Minister de Brenni said.

“Through that process, we’ve identified three key areas for reform:

  • Safety and security;
  • Protection against domestic violence; and
  • Protections if renting with pets

“We have considered evidence of some truly harrowing stories of safety issues in rental properties.”

Deputy Premier, Treasurer and Member for South Brisbane Jackie Trad said that the Palaszczuk Government was looking at a comprehensive makeover of tenancy laws that will set the rules that provide certainty for tenants, landlords and property managers.

“Across Queensland, more than one in every three households rent, but in some areas like the inner city, that figure rises to three in every five,” Ms Trad said.

“Tenants in my community and across Queensland are entitled to feel safe in their home, regardless of whether they own or rent.

“At the same time, we know that rental property owners need safeguards to protect their investment that provides much needed housing for an increasing number of Queenslanders.”

Minister de Brenni said the experience of Lyn and Ken Diefenbach who have advocated for prescribed minimum housing standards after the tragic death of their granddaughter Bella, was a driving factor for reforms to Queensland’s legislation.

“No parent should have to lose their child,” Minister de Brenni said.

“Regardless of where you live, every Queenslander deserves a safe, secure and sustainable place to call home.

“The Palaszczuk Government will deliver lifesaving reforms that see minimum standards adhered to, that keep Queenslanders safe, healthy and happy in their homes.”

Mr de Brenni announced that the Palaszczuk Government was releasing a roadmap detailing its staged approach to ensure that the proposed laws are fair for everyone.

The Palaszczuk Government will be seeking input into a Regulatory Impact Statement over the next 6 weeks.

Go to: www.qld.gov.au/rentinginqld  to read the Better Renting Future Reform Roadmap to have your say on the proposed reforms.

ENDS

Media contact:

Deputy Premier’s Office:                 Geoff Breusch           0417 272 875

Minister de Brenni’s Office:            Rosie Gilbert            0466 834 330

The above sourced from statements.qld.gov.au 16th November 2019

The below information has been sourced from qld.gov.au/rentinginqld. Stage 1 has been released as part of a Consultation Regulatory Impact Statement. The 5 key areas of reform are noted below and are detailed in the Consultation Regulatory Impact Statement. Stage 2 is expected to be released later in 2020. The proposed legislative amendment bill is the next part of the process to come. 

Review Stage 1 and Stage 2

review 3

review 1

The above has been sourced from www.couriermail.com.au 16th November 2019.

April 12 2019 

An update regarding the review has been posted in the Private Real Estate Excellence members group after I had discussions with Housing and Policy people.Real Estate Excellence member offices FB group  Queensland member office private group here

All members will receive the review update with the May member update email service. Members who are not on social media, and would like an update before the May service, please email to receive. Contact us here.

April 2 2019 

Click here to listen to Podcast by Stacey Holt regarding minimum housing standards.

March 20 2019

Click here to review a short video update regarding the review

March 7 2019 

Email sent to our Bundaberg, Gladstone and Townsville mailling list regarding the solar panel rebate trial. Read useful information at the link below 

Solar for Rental trial - Link HERE

March 5 2019

The Honourable Dr Anthony Lynham - Minister for Energy and Resources

Tuesday, March 05, 2019   Solar option on the table for tenants and owners

Up to 1000 landlords and their tenants have the chance to team up and cut power bills and emissions under a trial scheme in Bundaberg, Townsville and Gladstone.

Speaking from Bundaberg, Energy Minister Dr Anthony Lynham said the State Government was trialling rebates of up to $3500 to encourage rental property owners and their tenants to go solar.

“A typical household could save between $400 and $500 even after a $10 per week rent increase,” he said.

Under the scheme, tenants and owners must agree to having rooftop solar installed. The owner receives a rebate of up to $3500 to install solar and any rent increase must be fair and reasonable and agreed by both parties.

“This trial is all about giving tenants the opportunity to save on their power bills and their carbon emissions similar to the other 500,000 Queenslanders who are enjoying the benefits of solar,” Dr Lynham said.

“Queensland has one of the highest solar penetration rates in the world, with solar rooftop panels on one in three households.

“This trial is to encourage more renters and landlords to work together in reducing energy consumption through sharing the value of installing solar systems.

“Most importantly, the government rebate will only be available if the tenant and property owner have agreed to a fair rent increase, offset with power bill savings.”

Tenants Queensland chief executive officer Penny Carr said it was important that solar should not be confined to just those who own their home.

“Solar in rental properties is commonly overlooked by Queensland’s landlords, so it’s fantastic to see the Queensland Government helping tenants access the benefits of solar,” Ms Carr said.

“I encourage both landlords or tenants that are interested in lowering their living expenses and breaking into the solar market to get involved.”

The trial will run in Bundaberg, Gladstone and Townsville until June 30, 2020, or when the $4 million funding has been allocated.

“This trial is another chapter in our Affordable Energy Plan which continues to place downward pressure on electricity prices and this time we are focussing on tenants,” Dr Lynham said.

“We have worked with industry and stakeholders including Tenants Queensland and the Real Estate Institute of Queensland to establish this trial.

“If owners and tenants take up the challenge, this will also help expand our growing renewable energy sector which continues to create jobs and drive economic growth.”

To be eligible to apply for the Solar for Rentals trial:

-        The property must be a house, townhouse or duplex located in Bundaberg, Gladstone or Townsville.

-        The house must have its own roof space and it must be rented for less than $350 a week.

-        Landlords and tenants must also both agree to a fair increase in rent and sign a new 12 month lease agreement.

For more information visit www.qld.gov.au/community/cost-of-living-support/concessions/energy-concessions/solar-for-rentals-trial/ 

[ENDS]

Media contact: Jan Martin 0439 341 314

7th January 2019 - Podcast regarding the review Click here to review podcast and link to listen anytime

17th January 2019 - The Government released a survey (email sent below regarding the survey regarding the review).

 How can we improve our community consultations?  The Queensland Government's Open Doors to Renting Reform community consultation was held over nine weeks from 30 September to 30 November 2018. We asked Queenslanders to share their renting experiences and ideas on how to improve renting in Queensland. Thank you for taking the time to have your say during the consultation. Input from the Queensland community was significant with more than 130,000 responses received - but we want to keep improving our community consultations.  You can help us by completing a short survey and sharing with us how you heard about the Open Doors to Renting Reform consultation, what worked for you and what didn't.  An independent research agency, Kantar Public, has been commissioned to undertake this survey on behalf of the Queensland Government. The survey will take about 10 minutes to complete.  The survey is now open and will be available to complete until 5pm on Friday 25 January 2019. To begin the survey, please click on the link below:  Take the Open Doors to Renting Reform evaluation survey (or copy and paste the link into your browser) https://ss.ktrmr.com/mrIWeb/mrIWeb.dll?i.project=Cvkpn&s=GEN24&id=1&chk=na&aar=1&pid=auto&rs=1 Information provided in the survey will be treated confidentially and if released, survey findings will not contain information that can be used to identify individual respondents. This market research is carried out in accordance with the Information Privacy Act 2009 (Qld).  Thank you for taking the time to complete this survey. We appreciate your feedback.  

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You have been sent this email because you participated in the Open Doors to Renting Reform consultation and indicated that you would be willing to be recontacted. The information collected will only be used for the survey described above conducted by Kantar Public Australia. The survey is being carried out in compliance with the Information Privacy Act 2009 (Qld) and your responses will be kept strictly confidential. Kantar Public is an international market research company and is a member of the Association of Market and Social Research Organisations (AMSRO) and Australian Market and Social Research Society (AMSRS). Kantar Public abides to the professional standards including AMSRS Code of Professional Behaviour and EOWA Guidelines. For more information about the organisation, please visit: http://www.kantar.com/public/

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 6 2018

Victorians’ vote on rental reform a good guide for QueenslandClick here to review Victorian reforms

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. 

 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

 

COVID19 open homes and auctions stage 3 from noon July 3rd 2020

Sourced from covid19.qld.gov.au July 1 2020 QUEENSLAND

Questions about real estate

I work in the real estate industry; can I conduct an open house inspection on a property?

Yes, open house inspections are permitted. The agent must ensure that they limit the number of attendees to no more than one person per 4 square metres at a time. If the home is less than 200 square metres in size, then the one person per 2 square metre rule will apply, up to 50 people.

The agent should ensure good hand hygiene and frequent environmental cleaning and disinfection is maintained during an open house inspection.

Given the close interaction involved, agents are required to keep a record of all guests’ contact information, including name, phone number, email address and the date and time period of patronage for 56 days (8 weeks) to assist with contact tracing if required.

The agent should ensure that physical distancing including four or two square metres per person, hand hygiene and frequent environmental cleaning and disinfection is maintained during an open house inspection.

Can I go to an auction?

Yes, auctions are permitted but the auctioneer and agents must ensure that they limit the number of attendees to no more than one person per 4 square metres of space available for staging the auction or one person per two square metres if the space is less than 200 square metres.

The event should be staged in such a way that physical distancing is observed and all participants can stay at least 1.5 metres apart if possible.

Given the close interaction involved, agents are required to keep a record of all guests’ contact information, including name, email address, phone number, and date and time of patronage, for 56 days (8 weeks) to assist with contact tracing if required. 

The following information is from the Federal Privacy Commissioner

COVID-19 resources

As COVID-19 restrictions ease, some states and territories are managing the ongoing risks of the virus by requiring businesses to collect personal information about customers and visitors to their premises.

Organisations should securely store this information once it’s collected: avoid recording personal details in a book, notepad or computer screen where others may see it, and limit access to the information to staff who need to see it. 

We have published guidance to assist businesses that are required to collect contact information by State and Territory Directions and Orders. We have also developed a range of COVID-19 advice on privacy and freedom of information for individuals, Australian Government agencies and organisations covered by the Privacy Act 1988.

ATO COVID-19 and residential rental property

Sourced from ATO 20th May 2020

  • COVID-19 and residential rental property

    Many residential rental property owners have had their rental income affected by COVID-19. As a result, your clients may ask you about what they can claim this tax time.

    Our website provides some frequently asked questions (FAQs) and other information to help you and your clients understand their rental property obligations and what information your clients need to give you in order to lodge correctly.

    You and your rental property owner clients can check our FAQs to find out:

    • What expenses are claimable if tenants are not paying their rent under the lease agreement due to COVID-19?
    • Will deductions for rental property expenses stay the same if the property owner reduces the rent charged?
    • Must a back payment of rent or an amount of insurance received for lost rent be included as income?
    • Is a deduction on the interest charged on a rental property loan allowed if the bank defers repayments due to the COVID-19 outbreak?
    • Is the new instant asset write-off deduction available for residential rental property assets?
    • Impacts on short term rental properties.

    See also:

    The above information has been sourced directly from the ATO.

COVID19 new temporary tenancy laws podcast with workbook optional training service

Queensland tenancy law

COVID19 new temporary tenancy laws podcast with workbook optional training service
 
Details and register here. This service is self registration only (invoices provided upon registration via eventbrite)
 

The podcast is now at member online for Platinum PME member offices. The training podcast can be found in the Latest Member update folder, then Coronavirus and also in the PME system folder, new folder 00000 Covid19.

This training service includes a pre-recorded one hour podcast link mp4 file to listen to for a period of 24 hours with password protection. Link provided at written agreed time via email. The link will be a dropbox password protected link.

Comprehensive notes provided and presented by Stacey Holt Real Estate Excellence via email to registered email upon order and upon payment of invoice. (Platinum PME Member offices - the podcast and training workbook are at member online as part of membership services). 

Details and register here. This service is self registration only (invoices provided upon registration via eventbrite)

If you pay by Paypal upon order
We will email you shortly to arrange an agreed time to receive the link as advertised.

If you register, and require an invoice (do not pay via Paypal upon order), we will email you an invoice and once the account is paid, we will email you to arrange an agreed 24 hour period to receive the link.

PLATINUM PME Member offices - The podcast is available at member online www.realestateexcellence.com.au/memberonline and is in the CORONAVIRUS FOLDER (latest member update folder) and the PME system folder then new Covid19 folder.

Coronavirus - Queensland Real Estate Property Management public running blog

April 25th - FINAL Blog post - the laws have now commenced

SCROLL down for what you need  - the running blog was continually updated and as at April 25th, the FINAL Blog post was made with the Queensland tenancy new laws commencing.

Stacey Holt CEO Real Estate Excellence 

The information provided is current as at time and date of each blog post. Refer to disclaimer at the end of this blog before reviewing the blog.

Listen to Property Management Excellence PME free podcasts 

Mental Health assistance Government Digital Mental Health resources for your needs here. And also useful advice and information here. Articles (PDF) below

Maintaining your mental health during social isolation and Tips for coping with coronavirus anxiety

 Coronavirus: How to Protect Your Mental Health During The Covid-19 Outbreak

Real Estate Excellence Platinum PME and Platinum non PME member offices Members of Real Estate Excellence;   Each time I update this blog, I post in the Real Estate Excellence members Facebook group that there has been an update made  (We will email members significant events).

Login to Member online with your office login (email us if needed for login details, there is one login per office). Go to Latest member update folder, and there you will find the folder Coronavirus best practice templates.  Please email us for support Members as per the terms of the membership agreement during this time. Facebook  Queensland member office private group here (Members only). Platinum PME member offices; information regarding the new COVID -19 PME manual temporary chapter here. When you login and go to PME system folder, a new folder called 00000 Covid-19 PME chapter is there. The temporary laws apply to affected tenancies as defined. The existing laws apply to unaffected Covid-19 tenancies as defined.

member online screen shot

www.realestateexcellence.com.au/memberonline

April 25th - FINAL Blog post - the laws have now commenced

The laws have commenced. PME new temporary Covid-19 chapter has been released in  More here. 

April 24th 5.55pm Practice Guide to navigate tenancies through COVID-19 - Housing Minister statement

Media Statements

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

Friday, April 24, 2020

Practice Guide to navigate tenancies through COVID-19

The Palaszczuk Government has today enacted National Cabinet’s moratorium on evictions, with a Practice Guide formalising the temporary requirements and protections for tenancies impacted by COVID-19.

Minister for Housing and Public Works Mick de Brenni today published the Residential Tenancies Practice Guide, following the passing of the COVID-19 Emergency Response Act in Parliament this week, which allows government to enact emergency COVID-19 regulations.

“Queenslanders are no strangers to working together when times get tough, whether it's joining the Care Army, donating blood to support our hospitals, or working out a fair rental agreement until income support comes through.

“Most property owners and tenants are already coming to their own agreements about how they can work through this period, making sure that nobody loses the roof over their head.

Mr de Brenni said the Practice Guide would help property owners and their tenants in their discussions to negotiate a way through the next six months.

“For those that need it, we’ve provided the detail to help Queenslanders understand their rights, assist in discussions about their individual circumstances, be they lessor or lessee, and assist in coming together in collaboration to new agreements where necessary.

“We’ve worked with Tenants Queensland and the Real Estate Institute of Queensland on the development of the guide, who agree that this is a useful tool for tenants and owners alike.

Minister de Brenni said that the Palaszczuk Government’s new regulations struck a fair balance for tenants, owners and property managers.

“These are a temporary set of measures to ensure tenants and owners are protected during this pandemic.

“Tenants who are suffering or who have suffered excessive hardship because of COVID-19 who cannot meet their rent commitments cannot be evicted or listed in a tenancy database because of that suffering.

Mr de Brenni said the Palaszczuk Government had established a special COVID-19 Housing Security Subcommittee.

“Independent parties, including Tenants Queensland, the Real Estate Institute of Queensland, the Queensland Council of Social Service, Q Shelter, along with the Residential Tenancies Authority, will supervise, observe and report to government regularly on the implementation and impacts of the measures."

The Residential Tenancies Practice Guide provides detail on:

  • Threshold criteria to qualify for the application of the COVID-19 rental response, that includes a 25 per cent reduction in income, or where rent exceeds 30 per cent of the tenant's income.
  • The evidence that tenants can be asked to provide the same proof of finances to property managers just as they would when starting a tenancy.
  • Access for the sale of the property, virtual rental inspections and access for essential repairs and maintenance.
  • The 75 per cent income loss and less than $5,000 in savings threshold before a tenant is eligible for a 7-day cap on break lease fees if they end a fixed term lease early.
  • The extension on the term of a fixed term tenancy agreement during the COVID-19 period to September 30, 2020 unless agreed otherwise by the owner and tenant, or there is an appropriate ground to end the tenancy.
  • Conciliation with the Residential Tenancies Authority, including the renegotiation of lease agreements where parties are COVID-19 effected, which could cover new rent payments and deferrals if this is agreed to.

 

A copy of the Practice Guide can be found online at www.COVID19.qld.gov.au/the-hub.

ENDS

Media contact: Rosie Gilbert – 0466 834 330 Soured from statements.qld.gov.au 

April 24th 5pm PME new temporary Covid-19 chapter released in draft (laws have not yet commenced) More here.

Contents for temporary NEW PME manual Covid 19 RTRA Act and regulation amendments

The reference to “C” is the paragraph number – search/control find to go straight to the paragraph as required.

CA RTA Residential RTA practice guide (MINISTER GUIDELINES) and the “Hub”

C AA RTA Online COVID-19 Dispute resolution request www.rta.qld.gov.au

C AAA The RTRA Act amended to allow for regulations Covid-19

C 1 When tenants suffer excessive hardship because of Covid-19

C 2 Moratorium on evictions – what does it apply to?

C 3 Extension of fixed term tenancy

C 4 Unpaid rent – show cause

C 5 Conciliation of dispute about unpaid rent

C 6 Tenancy variation agreement – section 53 does not apply

C 7 Rent decreases

C 8 Failure to leave for unremedied breach relating to unpaid rent

C 9 Rent bonds and decreases in amount of rent

C 10 Entry to property restrictions

C 11 Alternative arrangements for inspections

C 12 Repairs and maintenance – routine repairs exemptions

C 13 Notice to remedy to lessor by tenant – routine maintenance

C 14 Domestic violence

C 15 Ending of agreements – new provisions to end the tenancy

C 16 Notice of intention to leave – new provisions for tenants

C 17 Termination for excessive hardship

C 18 Compensation for reletting the property exemptions

C 19 General provisions

C 20 False and misleading documents

C 21 Summary offences

C 22 Minister may make guidelines

C 23 Dictionary

April 24th 1.30pm NEW RTA temporary approved forms

The following forms are yet to be released by the RTA. Note as per podcast, and email to Members this morning, the laws are yet to commence.

Approved forms - RTA 

Show cause – unpaid rent

Rental tenancy variation agreement

Form 16 Covid-19

Premises being sold

Extension of time to complete particular provisions

April 24th 9am RTRA Act and QCAT update podcast

Listen to podcast here.

April 24th 8am QCAT COVID-19 Update

Current status of QCAT Residential Tenancy Disputes

Residential tenancy disputes are dealt with by QCAT under the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008. In regional Queensland, the Magistrates Court deals with these disputes, acting as QCAT.

QCAT is currently receiving many enquiries about the rights of tenants and landlords in relation to evictions under the Act following recent announcements of a “moratorium” on tenancy eviction proceedings.

In that regard, it has been reported that the National Cabinet agreed to a moratorium on evictions over the next six months for residential tenancies “in financial distress who are unable to meet their commitments due to the impact of the coronavirus” (Prime Minister’s Media Statement, 29 March 2020).

Further, on 22 April 2020, the Queensland Parliament’s Legislative Assembly passed the COVID-19 Emergency Response Bill 2020 and the draft  Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation (COVID-19 Emergency Response) Regulation 2020 was tabled.

In broad terms, the draft Regulation:

  • Declares a moratorium on evicting a tenant who fails to pay rent if the failure relates to the tenant suffering excessive hardship because of the COVID-19 emergency, backdated to 29 March 2020;
  • Sets up a framework for the Residential Tenancy Authority to conciliate disputes about unpaid rent before any application to QCAT; and
  • Also provides greater protections for tenants experiencing domestic and family violence.

The draft  Regulation has not yet been approved by Governor in Council. When new laws come into effect, QCAT will immediately apply them as appropriate. Until then, QCAT will continue to apply the current law.

Further information please contact the Residential Tenancies Authority, by telephone on 1300 366 311 between the house of 8.30am and 5pm, Monday to Friday or by visiting their website at www.rta.qld.gov.au

Alternatively, you can visit the Queensland Government’s Residential Rental Hub which is available online at www.covid19.qld.gov.au/the-hub

Summary of QCAT Practice Directions 2, 3 and 4 commencing Monday, 30 March 2020*

Three new practice directions have been issued to set out procedures across the guardianship, urgent minor civil dispute (MCD) and other QCAT jurisdictions to minimise the spread of COVID-19 virus, particularly to:

  • Provide for telephone and, in exceptional circumstances, in person hearings.
  • How material is filed, that would otherwise be filed in person at hearing.
  • Types of matters to be adjourned, until further notice.

NOTE: THESE ARRANGEMENTS DO NOT APPLY TO QCAT MATTERS HEARD BY MAGISTRATES IN REGIONAL CENTRES.

Arrangements for Guardianship matters (please refer to QCAT Practice Direction No. 2 of 2020 (Opens in new window) for more detailed instructions):

  • All hearings will be by phone or videoconferencing except in exceptional authorised circumstances.
  • Any person authorised to appear in person must sign a COVID-19 personal statement.
  • All documents to be relied on at hearing must be filed by email.

Arrangements for urgent Minor Civil Dispute Tenancy matters (please refer to QCAT Practice Direction No. 3 of 2020 (Opens in new window) for more detailed instructions):

  • Urgent MCD Tenancy hearings heard by QCAT adjudicators at 259 Queen St Brisbane and at south east Queensland Magistrates Courthouses are to be conducted by telephone except in exceptional authorised circumstances.
  • Any person authorised to appear in person must sign a COVID-19 personal statement.
  • Applications must include:
    • all material to be relied on at the hearing. (Any necessary supplementary material, eg up to date rent ledger, must be emailed to the relevant Registry by 4.00 pm on the afternoon before the hearing.)
    • the respondent’s last known address and telephone number.
  • If the respondent intends on participating in the hearing, the respondent must email the relevant Registry advising of their best contact number and attach all material they wish to rely on.

Arrangements for ALL other QCAT matters (please refer to QCAT Practice Direction No. 4 of 2020 (Opens in new window) for more detailed instructions):

  • All non-urgent Minor Civil Disputes listed for hearing are adjourned to a date to be fixed. This includes:
    • Non-urgent residential tenancy disputes
    • Minor debt disputes
    • Consumer disputes
    • Dividing fence disputes
  • In the week commencing 30 March 2020, all other hearings, including appeals, listed for hearing at 259 Queen Street, Brisbane will be by telephone or adjourned until further notice.
  • Any other hearing, including an appeal, listed for hearing at 259 Queen Street, Brisbane from 6 April 2020 will be adjourned to a date to be fixed.
  • All other hearings by QCAT members or adjudicators at south east Queensland Magistrates Courthouses from 30 March 2020 are to be adjourned to a date to be fixed.
  • Any adjourned matters will be reviewed and assessed to see if an urgent telephone hearing is required, a non-urgent telephone hearing is needed, can be decided on available material (“on the papers”), or placed on a list awaiting a new hearing date.
  • All Directions Hearings and Compulsory Conferences will be by telephone.
  • Any mediations conducted by the Dispute Resolution Branch will be by telephone. All other mediations will be adjourned to a date to be fixed.
  • To file an urgent application OTHER than a Guardianship or Urgent Minor Civil Dispute Tenancy application, first email the Registry This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to make arrangements for the filing of the application.
  • To file a non-urgent application, file in the usual manner as described on QCAT’s website: www.qcat.qld.gov.au/applications/lodging-your-application-and-forms (Opens in new window)

*These changes do not apply to matters heard before Magistrates in Queensland courts. Please refer to the Queensland Courts website (Opens in new window)for information about particular locations as they may change between courts.

Health advice

For the most up to date information about COVID-19 please visit the Queensland Health website www.health.qld.gov.au (Opens in new window)

Apri 24th 7am Email being sent to Real Estate Excellence members - new laws update and information 

An email is being sent to Member offices of Real Estate Excellence now with very useful information to assist with new laws, a lessor template email and an update regarding the new temporary Covid-19 PME manual chapter. 

23rd 11.20am Visit www.rta.qld.gov.au - screen shot below

RTA

 

April 23rd 10am Michael Hart (LNP) Shadow Housing Minister Queenslnd UPDATE (Facebook post source)

Last night the Qld Labor Government gave their Minister's unfettered power to change many conditions in Act's of Parliament by Regulation, with no real scrutiny of the Parliament.

There were no changes the LNP could vote on or amend to Commercial or Residential Tenancy Laws.

The government tabled a draft regulation for Residential Tenancies you can look at via this link: https://www.parliament.qld.gov.au/…/Table…/2020/5620T640.pdf

This Regulation can be altered at any time by the Minister without any real oversight but expires in December.

April  23rd April 9.30am  -  Queensland Government "HUB" for property owners updated 23rd April 

For property owners 

It’s never been more important to ensure people do not have to face the prospect of homelessness, than during this global pandemic. It’s critical from a public health perspective that people can self-isolate in their own homes, and this means ensuring that they can remain in their rental properties for the duration of this crisis.

Most renters and property owners are already coming to agreements, that are meeting the needs of both parties.

If you own a property for rent in Queensland, including a house, unit, share house, room, caravan or houseboat, there are rules that must be followed. Your rights and responsibilities are set out in the Residential Tenancies And Rooming Accommodation Act 2008.

Neither property owners or tenants are to blame for the effects of COVID-19, and now is the time to work through this together to get out to the other side of this pandemic.

In response to COVID-19, we are introducing a range of measures to support the residential rental sector:

  • tenants in financial distress due to the impact of the coronavirus who cannot meet their rent commitments cannot be evicted or listed in a tenancy database for rent arrears.
  • fixed term agreements due to expire during the COVID-19 pandemic will be extended to 30 September 2020 unless the tenant requests a shorter term.
  • cap break lease fees for eligible tenants – household income reduced by at least 75% and savings of less than $5,000.
  • owner obligations for routine repairs and inspections have been relaxed but regulatory obligations to ensure tenant safety in the rental property continue to apply.
  • tenants may refuse physical entry for non-essential reasons, including routine repairs and inspections, particularly if a member of the household is a vulnerable person. However, tenants must agree to virtual inspections if physical inspections are not agreed to.
  • tenants and property owners should work together to reach agreement. If agreement cannot be reached, parties are required to undertake conciliation to resolve disputes which aims to achieve conciliated agreements which form part of the tenancy agreement.

To meet the requirements for the six-month moratorium on evictions, a household is impacted if:

  1. A person is suffering excessive hardship due to the COVID-19 emergency if any of the following apply:
    1. one or more tenants or residents are afflicted by COVID-19
    2. they are subject to a public health direction to stay at a place
    3. a public health direction has closed their employment or restricted their employer’s trade or business
    4. they are self-isolating because they or a member of their household or a someone they are a primary carer for is a vulnerable person
    5. they are unable to work because of a travel restriction
    6. they have been prevented from returning to Australia; AND
  2. the person suffers a loss of income of 25% or more, OR
  3. the rent payable is 30% or more person’s income.

The Residential Tenancies Authority (RTA) can provide information and support tenants and property owners to reach agreement. They also offer a free dispute resolution service if you need further support.

If you need help with your tenancy, talk to the RTA:

  • text (SMS) “Hi” to 0480 000 782
  • call the RTA’s information hotline on 1800 497 161 from 8am to 8pm, Monday to Friday, or from 9am to 5pm, Saturday and Sunday
  • visit the Residential Tenancies Authority website.

April 22nd 11.55pm The RTRA Act amendment law *regulations  has not commenced yet

Although the RTRA Act was amended tonight as per my previous post below, it has not yet commenced. We are awaiting assent and commencment date. 

April 22nd 10.35pm - The RTRA Act has been amended 

COVID-19 Emergency Response Bill 2020

This is the Bill as introduced into Parliament by the Honourable Yvette D'Ath, Attorney-General and Minister for Justice on 22 April 2020 (accessed 22 April 2020 at 22:35)


24Regulation-making power for residential tenancies and rooming accommodation etc.

(1)A regulation under this Act or the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008 (the RTRA Act) may make provision for any matter necessary for responding to the COVID-19 emergency, including—
(a)to ensure rights, obligations and processes under the RTRA Act operate appropriately having regard to COVID-19 response measures; and
(b)to assist in achieving the objectives of COVID-19 response measures; and
(c)to support the Queensland residential rental sector during the COVID-19 emergency period.
(2)Without limiting subsection (1), a regulation may—
(a)impose a moratorium on evictions of tenants and residents during the COVID-19 emergency period; or
(b)alter the grounds on which notices to leave may be given; or
(c)enable particular disputes about unpaid rent to be conciliated by the Residential Tenancies Authority; or
(d)suspend a right or obligation under the RTRA Act in particular circumstances; or
(e)provide for applications to be made to, and decided by, a different entity to the entity provided for under the RTRA Act; or
(f)prohibit the inclusion of particular matters in a tenancy database within the meaning of section 457 of the RTRA Act; or
(g)amend a residential tenancy agreement or rooming accommodation agreement, including, for example, by—
(i)extending the term of the agreement; or
(ii)terminating the agreement; or
(iii)if there is more than 1 tenant or resident for the agreement—ending the interest of a tenant or resident in the agreement; or
(h)extend the application of particular provisions of the RTRA Act to additional persons.
(3)A regulation under this section may—
(a)be inconsistent with an Act or law, other than the Human Rights Act 2019, to the extent necessary to achieve a purpose of the regulation and this Act; and
(b)have retrospective operation to a day not earlier than 19 March 2020; and
(c)impose a penalty of not more than 100 penalty units for a contravention of the regulation.
(4)Without limiting subsection (3)(a), to the extent a person’s act or omission complies with a regulation made under this section that is inconsistent with an Act or law, the person does not incur civil or criminal liability under the Act or law for the act or omission.
(5)A regulation under this section must declare it is made under this section.
(6)This section does not limit a regulation-making power under the RTRA Act.
(7)If there is an inconsistency between a regulation made under this section and any of the following, the regulation prevails to the extent of the inconsistency—
(a)a provision of an Act or law, other than the Human Rights Act 2019;
(b)another regulation made under the RTRA Act;
(c)a standard term or special term of a residential tenancy agreement or rooming accommodation agreement.
(8)A regulation made under this section expires on 31 December 2020.
(9)The Statutory Instruments Act 1992section 49(1) applies to the tabling of a regulation made under this section as if the reference to 14 sitting days were a reference to 14 days.
(10)In this section—
resident see the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008schedule 2.
residential tenancy agreement see the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008section 12.
rooming accommodation agreement see the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008section 16.
tenant see the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008schedule 2.

April 22nd 9.40pm COVID-19 Emergency Response Bill 2020 - includes RTRA Act amendments

Click here to review the RTRA Act amendment (not the regulations)  here.

April 22nd 8.35pm Temporary RTRA Act and regulation changes - from when to when

Once passed I will post the passed regulations. For now, they will be retrospective from 29th March and run until 31st December 2020.

 

 

April 22nd 8.15pm Parliament live now http://tv.parliament.qld.gov.au/ and the tenancy part of the bill is being debated

 

April 22nd 3.30pm PME system members - Draft contents of temporary PME manual chapter - listen to podcast here.

Contents for temporary NEW Real Estate Excellence Platinum PME members  Property Management Excellence (PME) manual Covid 19 RTRA Act and regulation amendments 

When tenants suffer excessive hardship because of Covid-19

Moratorium on evictions – what does it apply to?

Extension of fixed term tenancy

Unpaid rent – show cause

Conciliation of dispute about unpaid rent

Tenancy variation agreement – section 53 does not apply

Rent decreases

Failure to leave for unremedied breach relating to unpaid rent

Rent bonds and decreases in amount of rent

Entry to property restrictions

Alternative arrangements for inspections

Repairs and maintenance – routine repairs exemptions

Notice to remedy to lessor by tenant – routine maintenance and provision for breach of 'minimum housing standards'

Domestic violence

Ending of agreements – new provisions to end the tenancy

Notice of intention to leave – new provisions for tenants

Termination for excessive hardship

Compensation for reletting the property exemptions

General provisions 

Summary offences

Minister may make guidelines

April 22nd 11.30am Proposed Amendment to RTRA Act (not passed as at this time) and provided from a source in confidence. Listen to Podcast here.

I am currently watching the Queensland Parliament live on Parliament TV. At this stage, the tenancy law amendments have not been tabled and introduced. The regulations are not yet available. Updated 12.25pm - I have received a copy of the draft regulations. They are 63 pages long. I am reviewing now and will not make public until passed. Updated 1pm The "HOUSE" just voted for only a three hour debate on the Covid-19 bill which includes the tenancy laws and regulations. The Government won the vote of only three hours for debate and the Opposition leader has stated they will not oppose the bill. 

Review the DRAFT RTRA Act amendments below. 

Act 1

Act 2

Act 3

Act 4

Act 5

Act 6

April 21st 10am Queensland tenancy law proposed changes update 21st April 2020 podcast at link below.

Listen to the podcast here.

 April 21st 9.10am New temporary PME manual chapter coming - Temporary RTRA Act changes 

I will be releasing a temporary chapter of the Property Management Excellence (PME) manual once we know what the new laws and tenancy 'guidelines are. Parliament sit tomorrow. I will advise Real Estate Excellence members once certainty is known, plus advise when the new temporary PME manual chapter has been released. I shall update this blog, email, plus post in the Members Facebook group.

PME chapter Coronavirus

April 21st 9am Minister responds - Queensland proposed tenancy law changes

WE HAVE LISTENED  

Thank you for your email to the Premier and Minister for Trade in relation to the protections for property owners and tenants in Queensland during the COVID-19 crisis. As this matter falls within my responsibilities as Housing Minister, the Premier has asked that I respond on her behalf. 

As you would be aware, millions of Australians in the last few weeks, through no fault of their own, have lost their job or experienced significant income loss because of COVID-19. 

As a result of this crisis, a temporary Moratorium on Evictions was announced by Prime Minister Scott Morrison. Each State and Territory is required to implement this through their own laws. 

The Premier has asked me to work with the industry to implement this temporary moratorium and ensure that Queensland property owners make it through this pandemic with tenancies in place to pay their mortgages and tenants continuing to have a roof over their heads. 

We recognise that many property owners are making significant sacrifices to meet the needs of tenants. We thank you for doing this and we have been working with the Real Estate Institute of Queensland and other stakeholders on the concerns that you have raised.  

As a result of your feedback, the following temporary and targeted measures will apply for six months to properties where the tenant is impacted by COVID-19 (all other tenancies not impacted by COVID-19 will continue to operate under usual arrangements): 

  • The six-month moratorium on evictions will only apply to tenancies where the tenant’s income has been reduced as result of COVID-19 and the tenant is at risk of eviction. Tenants can still be evicted for doing the wrong thing and on other grounds. 
  • We are asking property owners and tenants to work together where a tenant is experiencing COVID-19 related financial challenges to negotiate a new temporary and sensible rent amount. Guidelines are being developed to support reaching agreement including duration and whether repayments are required. While we expect most tenants and property owners to come to an agreement, where this is not possible, we will provide a compulsory, free, fair and independent conciliation service to resolve issues. 
  • Tenants will need to demonstrate genuine financial distress from COVID-19 that meets an established standard. Tenants will  need to have had a 25 per cent reduction in income or show that rent exceeds 30 per cent of the tenant’s income. This can be substantiated by providing the same financial information they do at the start of a tenancy. 
  • Enabling virtual inspections to protect tenants and property managers from getting COVID-19 and ensuring essential access for repairs and maintenance continues where safe. 
  • Tenants will be able to have break lease fees capped only where there has been a 75% loss of income and they have less than $5,000 in cash. 
  • Tenancies that expire during this crisis will only roll over to September 30 2020 at the latest and they have been impacted by COVID-19. 
  • The six-month moratorium on evictions will only apply to tenancies where the tenant’s income has been reduced as result of COVID-19 and the tenant is at risk of eviction. Tenants can still be evicted for doing the wrong thing and on other grounds. 
  • In cases where the owner and tenant are both experiencing financial distress, we have established a $20 million-dollar rental grant fund to complement existing Centrelink support. 

We will continue to listen and act to ensure property owners and tenants get through this crisis.  

You may also be aware that we have announced a $400 million dollar land tax relief package for property owners who are providing support to residential and business tenants in this difficult time. You can find out more at www.qld.gov.au/landtax.

Additionally, our household relief package will give Queensland households $200 off their utility bills, building on the $50 asset dividend we have already announced. 

Through the National Cabinet, the Premier is also working with banks to ensure they step up to provide appropriate relief to property owners. 

As a Government that listens, we appreciate the feedback you have provided and I hope my email provides some assurances to you in this difficult time.  

If you need any further information, please visit the Residential Rental Hub on www.covid19.qld.gov.au/the-hub or text “hi” to 0480 000 782. 

Yours Sincerely 

MICK DE BRENNI MP
MINISTER FOR HOUSING AND PUBLIC WORKS,
MINISTER FOR DIGITAL TECHNOLOGY AND
MINISTER FOR SPORT

April 19th 7.15pm Fair middle ground reached on COVID-19 guidelines for property owners and tenants - Queensland Housing Minister statement

Media Statements

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

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Fair middle ground reached on COVID-19 guidelines for property owners and tenants

The Palaszczuk Government has worked with industry stakeholders to establish Guidelines to support Queensland’s approach to implement the moratorium on evictions decided by National Cabinet.

Minister for Housing and Public Works Mick de Brenni said that the government had taken into account concerns from Queensland property owners and tenants; and was bolstering its support to make sure that everyone could get through this difficult time.

“The Palaszczuk Government is a government that listens and will be there for those who need us most when times are tough.

“Queensland has published a framework on the government’s new www.covid19.qld.gov.au website, setting out the process for interaction pending the development of an implementation Guideline which has been fleshed out with stakeholders this week.

“Working with industry stakeholders, a Residential Tenancies Practice Guide COVID-19 for property owners and tenants has been developed.

“The Guide will support owners on a range of COVID-19 issues along with free, impartial and expert conciliation from the Residential Tenancies Authority if parties need additional support to reach agreement.

“Tenants and property owners in significant financial distress are also being supported through a $20 million rental grant package, announced with the framework over a week ago.

“As a final step, amendments to the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act will be introduced in Parliament to enable the emergency measures.

Mr de Brenni announced that the Residential Tenancies Authority, Real Estate Institute of Queensland, QShelter, Tenants Queensland and QCOSS will form a new COVID-19 Housing Security Sub-Committee.

“The Palaszczuk Government has established the COVID-19 Housing Security Sub-Committee of the Ministerial Housing Council to oversee the implementation of the response measures.”

A summary of the Guidelines includes:

  • Threshold criteria to qualify for the application of the COVID-19 rental response, that includes a 25 per cent reduction in income, or where rent exceeds 30 per cent of the tenant’s income.
  • Tenants can be asked to provide the same proof of finances to property managers just as they would when starting a tenancy.
  • Clear guidance on access for the sale of the property, virtual rental inspections and access for essential repairs and maintenance.
  • A 75 per cent income loss threshold before a tenant can end a tenancy with a 7-day cap on break lease fees.
  • Limiting any extension on the term of a tenancy agreement during the COVID-19 period to September 30, 2020 unless agreed otherwise by the owner and tenant, or there is an appropriate ground to end the tenancy.

ENDS

Media contact – Rosie Gilbert 0466 834 330 Sourced from www.statements.qld.gov.au 19th April 2020

April 19th 3.25pm RTA responds COVID-19 (novel coronavirus): Information for the Queensland residential rental sector 

Latest information (sourced in part from www.rta.qld.gov.au) 19th April 2020 Updated by RTA 18 April 2020

The Queensland Government has announced several proposed measures to support sustainable tenancies in the residential rental sector during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

We know our customers are keen to understand and prepare for any possible changes to their tenancy rights and responsibilities during the COVID-19 pandemic. Please note that current tenancy legislation still applies. Any proposed new measures are subject to legislative changes being passed by Parliament. Thank you for your understanding during these unprecedented times.

You can learn more about the proposed measures, and access tenancy information and support, by:

  • visiting the new COVID-19 Residential Rental Hub
  • calling our information hotline on 1800 497 161 from 8am to 8pm, Monday to Friday, or from 9am to 5pm, Saturday and Sunday
  • texting (SMS) “Hi” to 0480 000 782.

Now is the time for tenants and property owners and managers to work through this situation together.

Tenants - talk to your property manager or the owner to make them aware of your situation and to request the changes you need to your rent arrangements. Put in writing any agreement you reach with the property owner or manager about rent adjustments and timelines. If you have not been significantly impacted by COVID- 19, continue to meet your tenancy obligations including paying rent and other responsibilities under the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008.

Property owners and managers - consider requests for changes to rent arrangements including rent adjustments if your tenant is experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19. Put in writing any agreement you reach with the tenant about rent adjustments and timelines. If you are not significantly impacted by COVID-19, continue to honour your existing responsibilities under the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008.

Tenants and property owners and managers are encouraged to agree on solutions together. If this is not possible, conciliation through the RTA will be a mandatory process for COVID-19 related disputes, subject to legislative amendments.

The RTA encourages all parties be understanding and reasonable in their dealings with each other, and to follow the advice of the National Cabinet and State and Commonwealth agencies in relation to health, self-isolation and social distancing measures that have been announced or are enforceable in Queensland.

April 19th 7.30am Part of an opinion piece The Sunday Mail 19th April 2020 page 57

a1

a2

 

April 18th 4.35pm Renters will now be forced to prove they can't pay rent during coronavirus restrictions, Queensland Minister says (ABC news article)

Housing and Public Works Minister Mick de Brenni said renters suffering financial difficulty due to coronavirus would have to provide evidence of lost income if they wanted to be covered by a freeze on evictions.

"They are that you've lost more than 25 per cent of your income, or that you've lost so much of your income that you're paying more than 30 per cent of your income on rent and you can't afford the other necessities of life," he said.

"We will have a system in place to support the owner and it will include full disclosure of the financial circumstances of a tenant through a conciliation process." 

Mr de Brenni said renters would have to meet a high threshold if they wanted to break their lease.

"There are limited circumstances in which we will allow a tenant to break their lease with a week's notice," Mr de Brenni said.

Inspections would be able to take place if a landlord wanted to sell their property and there was no health risk.

However, if a tenant was self-isolating or in quarantine, a virtual inspection would be able to take place.

Property agents and owners would still be able to access the property for emergency and essential repairs, for example smoke alarm repairs. Read full article here.

April 18th 10.35am The Queensland Government Hub - information for property owners 

We will know more when the Queensland Parliament sit this coming Wednesday 22nd April.

Last updated:

 17th April 2020

April 18th 6am Door shut on rent rorts The Courier Mail 

Courier Mail 18 04 2020 Door shut on rent rorts

April 17th 5pm Until next week - my final post for this week

My last update until next week.

As I suspected given developments over the last 24 hours.. I suspect the Act (or the Queen as I say in training) will have an amendment to allow for the regulations (Prince Charles as my training reference) to be implemented. This will mean a regulation allowing for a possible “practice guide” during a certain period.

We will learn together next week.

 

April 17th 2.30pm My personal Facebook post to the Queensland Housing Minister

17 04 2020

April 17th 2pm - An update which we all hope is the last one for the week until next week

As I’ve said In recent podcasts, and it’s always the same, the recent dispute regarding the Queensland Government proposed tenancy law disputes is not about anti tenant. Goodness, they are people like you and I. It’s about fairness and balance for we are all in this together. Well done to the LNP and the Government who are listening.

The Government put our industry into turmoil Thursday before Good Friday unnecessarily with release of the Hub and more. They appear to be correcting and all we can do is wait and hope they make it balanced remembering there’s more than one part of the sector hurting.

 April 17th 11.15am Interview with Alan Jones and Queensland Housing Minister

Click here to listen to the interview. 

April 17th 8.30am Housing Minister Queensland statement 

Tenancy law update - The Government are listening Queensland.

Short podcast with an update as at 8.30am 17th April 2020. Listen here.

 Below is a Facebook post from the Housing Minister and an update. Great to see reconsideration is being given as 'we are all in this together', 

UPDATE: Government continues to listen on temporary COVID-19 Tenancy measures

Guidelines are still under development to resolve any concerns before Parliament considered the residential tenancy package.

The Palaszczuk Government is continuing to listen and work with stakeholders in the finalisation of new temporary COVID-19 tenancy measures.

The underlying purpose of the moratorium is to sustain tenancies during the COVID-19 pandemic period as this is the best possible outcome for owners, property managers and tenants.

The Guidelines for Residential Tenancies Impacted by COVID-19 will be published to provide further clarity to the industry.

Queensland was one of the first states out of the gate and clarifications to the framework will be addressed through stakeholder consultation on guidelines.

There is also the strong expectation that banks continue to offer assistance to property owners".

The Courier Mail 17th April 2020

The Courier Mail 17 04 2020

 

 

 

April 16th 4pm Queensland Housing Minister statement - GOVERNMENT CONTINUES TO LISTEN ON TEMPORARY COVID-19 TENANCY MEASURES

The Palaszczuk Government will continue to listen and work with stakeholders in the finalisation of new temporary COVID-19 tenancy measures.
Housing and Public Works Minister Mick de Brenni said the underlying purpose of the moratorium is to sustain tenancies during the COVID-19 pandemic period as this is the best possible outcome for owners, property managers and tenants.

Mr de Brenni said guidelines would be worked through with stakeholders representing tenants, property managers and owners to resolve any concerns before Parliament considered the package.

The Guidelines for Residential Tenancies Impacted by COVID-19 would be published to provide further clarity to the industry.

“Queensland was one of the first states out of the gate," the Minister said.

“Clarifications to the framework will be addressed through stakeholder consultation on guidelines.

“There is also the strong expectation that banks continue to offer assistance to property owners.” 

Mr de Brenni said that despite some misinformation that had been circulated, no framework introduced in Queensland advocated for a permanent reduction in rent.

“It is plain wrong to say that our framework allows tenants to unilaterally demand a rent reduction, or leave the property without first proving they have lost their job and are in significant hardship.

“What is true, is that tenants affected by income loss due to coronavirus can apply for Commonwealth income support and ask to negotiate a temporary and fair rent reduction, which will be supported by an independent conciliation process to ensure that no party gets ripped off.

“Coronavirus-affected tenants must be able to provide proof, but detailed personal information needs only to be provided to the Residential Tenancies Authority.

“This system is designed to protect property owners by ensuring there is complete clarity around the terms and duration of any temporary arrangements.

“Additionally, an increased set of grounds upon which a property owner can take back their property have been proposed, which include the need to move in, the need to sell the property, damage to the property or anti-social behaviour that breaches the rental agreement."

The framework, published on Thursday 9 April, outlines a temporary and targeted package, with Guidelines to address matters including substantiating loss of income, eligibility for the framework and duration of application of the framework.

The government has encouraged all parties to consider the frequently asked questions published on the covid19.qld.gov.au/the-hub website and indicated the Guidelines would be published in coming days.

Mr de Brenni said the Queensland framework and Guidelines were designed to enable the government to respond flexibly to the concerns of tenants and property owners due to the changing nature of the pandemic.

Australia’s largest states have all now announced their framework to implement the Prime Minister’s moratorium on evictions with most jurisdictions in majority alignment.

Since Queensland announced its COVID-19 rental framework last week, Victoria, Western Australia, and New South Wales have since released their frameworks to implement the freeze on evictions across the country.  

Sourced from the Queensland Housing Minister website here.

April 16th 12.50pm LNP Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington MP regarding proposed Queensland tenancy laws

LNP Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington MP thanks for the below post. (sourced from Facebook).

“It's important during this health crisis we get the balance right when supporting our most vulnerable.

Unfortunately, the Palaszczuk Labor Government has introduced the most unfair system in the nation which will lead to a breakdown in relationships between tenants and property owners and completely overwhelm the Residential Tenancies Authority.

It's not fair that mum and dad property owners have to cop the brunt of the financial pain they will be dealt under Labor's response to coronavirus. Many of these people are struggling themselves.

Property rights have been thrown out the window.

Just to give you some background - Labor's Renter Protection Package means tenants won't have to give information about financial hardship, there could be an automatic right to a 6-month tenancy agreement extension if the agreement was due to expire within the initial freeze period and the Queensland Government is the only one that is introducing rent waivers, where the owner just has to cop it.

Property owners can’t be left shouldering the pandemic fallout alone.”

April 16th 11.30am Queensland Human Rights Act and property owners

The answer to this question is too legal in my position. I have been considering any possible connection between section 24 of the Human Rights Act (QLD) the Labor Government implemented. Given their proposed reforms to tenancy law during Covid19 crisis (without public consultation nor draft legislation available).

Below is not current law but Government response to the question about inspections (to name one matter that is currently lawful to do in Queensland), 

  1. Can my property owner continue with inspections, including open homes?

During the COVID-19 health emergency, open homes are not allowed.

Additionally, you will have the right to refuse entry to the property by an owner or agent/manager for non-essential reasons (including routine inspections), particularly if you or a member of your household has a higher risk profile if exposed to COVID-19.

Inspections can still be done via video conference, detailed photos or by appointment while observing social distancing and hygiene protocols. Refer to Queensland Health for information on the current public health directions.

While, as a tenant, you are under no legal obligation to conduct virtual inspections it is important that all parties communicate openly and respectfully and try to establish an agreed way to work during this difficult time. Any agreement should be recorded in writing. All parties should advise each other early of any health, safety or financial impacts if the inspection does or doesn’t occur.

24 Property rights

(1) All persons have the right to own property alone or in association with others.

(2) A person must not be arbitrarily deprived of the person’s property.

April 16th 9.20am What can you do regarding the proposed Queensland rental law changes? A podcast

What can you do regarding proposed Queensland tenancy laws? Property agents, managers, licensees and property owners. Podcast here.

April 16th 7am LNP Queensland Shadow Housing Minister regarding proposed rental laws

Whilst this is promising (hope dies last), we must remember Labor have a majority Government in Queensland.

It would take Labor members to “cross the floor” / vote against their own party when bill debated. It can happen albeit unusual. Particularly with the state election coming up in October.

Please contact your local state member and reminder I have a template to use and make your final edit if need at my public running blog. Scroll down to April 15th 10am. 

Facebook post Michael Hart MP LNP. Shadow Housing Minister Queensland.

“It’s a long one but stick with me .... We return to Parliament next week to debate the Palaszczuk Labor Government’s Renter Protection Package.

The LNP has concerns about the measures being proposed, we feel these unfairly disadvantage sections of the property industry.

Where tenants have been impacted by the COVID-19 crisis, it would be ideal for mum and dad property owners to work out a solution that is in the best interests of all concerned. In this regard, our position has always been that any legislative changes must take a balanced approach and should support the entire rental market – not just one segment.

We are mindful that the measures recently announced by the Government could have unintended consequences in terms of the impact on property owners, as well as tenants. It could under-mine confidence for people to invest in real estate, thereby reducing the amount of accommodation available for rent and increasing future rents.

The LNP is working closely with stakeholders such as the REIQ in an endeavour to secure a fairer framework for everyone, because we are all in this together and there should be a shared responsibility.

Accordingly, we will be calling on the Labor Government to adopt a more balanced approach, including for the Renter Protection Package –

- Rent deferrals rather than permanent rent waiver rights for tenants, with no interest accrued for any rent deferred

- Establish a minimum income reduction threshold for tenants before they qualify for protection measures (as adopted in NSW)

- Any rent reduction request should be substantiated by evidence, as the government requires for applications to their rental assistance grant program

- Broaden the range of activities allowed to continue for property entry - Remove the one week’s notice to break lease right for tenants - Remove the proposed automatic right to a 6-month tenancy extension Queensland is the only jurisdiction that has many of these provisions, which tip the balance of the package firmly to one side. Furthermore, the general principle should be that for those tenants whose circumstances have not changed”

April 15th 5.20pm What the Queensland Government are proposing for tenancy law changes 

The below is not LAW at this stage. Queensland Parliament sit on the 22nd April 2020. No draft legislation relating to the information below has been made available.
The Queensland Government’s package of measures includes:
Putting a freeze on evictions due to rent arrears for 6 months (from 29 March 2020) for Queensland tenants experiencing financial distress due to the impacts of COVID-19. Landlords/lessors/agents and tenants are encouraged to talk about new arrangements.
Ensuring tenants and property owners work together, with conciliation to be mandatory to reach an agreed outcome.
Reinforcing to tenants they have a right to refuse entry for non-essential reasons (including routine inspections), particularly if you or a member of your household has a higher risk profile if exposed to COVID-19.
Ensuring debts don’t accrue for tenants and that they will not be placed on a tenancy database if they are experiencing hardship.
Providing support for Queenslanders experiencing domestic and family violence.
Introducing a cap on break lease penalties.
The above sourced from RTA website 15th April 2020

April 15th 2.55pm Current Status of QCAT Residential Tenancy Disputes

Residential tenancy disputes are dealt with by QCAT under the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008. In regional Queensland, the Magistrates Court deals with these disputes, acting as QCAT.

QCAT is currently receiving many enquiries about the rights of tenants and landlords in relation to evictions under the Act following recent announcements of a “moratorium” on tenancy eviction proceedings.

In that regard, it has been reported that the National Cabinet agreed to a moratorium on evictions over the next six months for residential tenancies “in financial distress who are unable to meet their commitments due to the impact of the coronavirus” (Prime Minister’s Media Statement, 29 March 2020).

Notwithstanding this announcement, no Queensland laws relating to the rights and liabilities of residential landlords and tenants have been repealed or amended at this point in time.

Accordingly, QCAT continues to apply the law as it stands, and QCAT’s process for tenancy matters has not changed.

If and when new laws come into effect, QCAT will immediately apply them as appropriate.

We will notify you of any changes as soon as possible and keep you updated as further information comes to hand.

Sourced from QCAT website 15th April 2020

April 15th 10am FOR immediate use and current information as at this date and time - Draft email template to send to your local state member Queensland - Word document of below here.

A link to find your local state member can be found here.

Dear insert name of your local member here A link to find your local state member can be found here.

The Real Estate Industry like most industries is in turmoil due to Covid19 (Coronavirus). The difference for our sector is the Labor Government have released information without any legislative change which is throwing the industry in further chaos, fear and confusion. All parties (tenants, lessors and property agents) to residential tenancy contracts are being heavily impacted due to this.

We write you to ask for your assistance and understanding as our state representative in the Queensland Parliament and request urgent intervention.

Currently all we have are Government “words” on their new website called the “Hub”. There has been no draft legislation released as at 15th April 2020 10am. The Government released the hub information on the 9th April in the absence of any legislation. The State Government released "HUB" link can be found here. This is leading to confusion, fear, uncertainty and unnecessary disputes in already trying times. We particularly make mention of the Q & A part of the “Hub” relating to what tenants can do, and what lessor cannot. It is of utmost concern and urgent attention is required as a representative of the Government, regardless of political persuasion.

As our state representative, can you please advise when the draft legislation will be released? Will there be public consultation? We can be contacted on the following details set out below and thank you for your urgent assistance and attention to prevent another industry being significantly impacted during these times unnecessarily.

Insert your details etc

Word document of above here.

April 15th 8.50am Real Estate Excellence Academy Members and industry - Queensland

Where do I start ...

Firstly, hang in there.

We actually have no draft legislation so I can’t be specific other than work with current laws.

All we have is government “words” and a new website called the Hub. I’m being cautious given there is no draft legislation to speak to. As per my post and blog update yesterday (and emails to you), a special sitting date has been set for 22nd April for Queensland Parliament. Nothing has been released as draft law at this point.

A link to find your local state member can be found here.

The "HUB" link here.

 

April 14th 11am Queensland Parliament new sitting date - 22nd April

The Queensland Parliament website has just been updated with a new sitting date of 22nd April 2020. I will keep monitoring as they will release the Notice Paper and any draft legislation relating to the RTRA Act.

 

Parliament sitting date as at 14 04 2020 v 2

April 13th 2pm Queensland schools term 2

From 20 April 2020, Queensland students will be moving to a home-based learning model for the first five weeks of Term 2.

During this time all students who are able to learn from home should do so. From the start of Term 2 until 22 May 2020, all students will be learning from home, except for students in the following categories:

  • Children of essential workers on days when they are not able to be supervised at home and no other arrangements can be made. Essential worker means any worker who must continue to attend their workplace for essential business during this time. Click here. to review this information and more.

April 10th 8am - NEW RTA Form 18d - Email sent to RTA expressing concerns and why. Podcast regarding below here.

Real Estate Excellence has written to the RTA this morning expressing concerns and why regarding the temporary NEW RTA Form 18d. 

Good morning RTA

I write noting the Government media release, the new hub and the new RTA approved Form 18d.

The newly released approved Form 18d correctly states  ‘proposed legislation’.

My concerns for the industry whilst there is no legislation is as follows.

Generally speaking, many landlord insurance require a new agreement to be in place for coverage in the event of a claim. Is there information the RTA has relating to an approved variation? My advice to Real Estate Excellence members includes a mutual agreement ending of the existing fixed term agreement, and then a new agreement entered into with the agreed reduced rent including refund of part bond as needed due to the reduction in weekly rent.

Section 93 and 53 are of concern also without any emergency COVID19 exemption legislation being in place.

Rent cannot be increased during a six month period as per section 93 below of the RTRA Act. 

93 Minimum period before rent can be increased

(1) This section applies to rent (the existing rent) payable to a lessor or lessor’s agent by the tenant of premises under a residential tenancy agreement.

(2) The lessor or lessor’s agent must not increase the existing rent less than 6 months since the date the existing rent became payable by the tenant.

Maximum penalty—20 penalty units.

(3) Nothing prevents a lessor or lessor’s agent from giving notice of an increase in rent within 6 months since the last increase provided the increase does not take effect until 6 months or more since the last increase.[s 94]

(4) This section applies whether the increase in the existing rent is to take effect during an existing agreement or from one agreement to the next.

(5) This section also applies—

(a) if at least 1 of the tenants responsible for the existing rent will be subject to the increase in rent; and

(b) whether or not the lessor who increases the rent is the same person as the lessor who last increased the rent.

(6) This section does not apply if—

(a) the lessor is the chief executive of the department in which the Housing Act 2003 is administered, acting on behalf of the State; or

(b) the lessor is the State and the tenant is an officer or employee of the State.

53 Contracting out prohibited

(1) An agreement or arrangement is void to the extent to which it purports to exclude, change or restrict the application or operation of a provision of this Act about the terms of a residential tenancy agreement.

(2) A person must not enter into an agreement or arrangement with the intention, either directly or indirectly, of defeating, evading or preventing the operation of this Act.

Maximum penalty—50 penalty units.

(3) In this section—

agreement includes an agreement that is not a residential tenancy agreement.

April 9th 1.25pm Special COVID-19 Protections for residential tenants and owners Queensland

Real Estate Excellence members, we are emailing you from 3.30pm this afternoon a template email to send to your lessors plus will be at member online in Coronavirus folder 

Coat of Arms

Media Release

JOINT STATEMENT

Deputy Premier, Treasurer and Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships
The Honourable Jackie Trad

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

Special COVID-19 Protections for residential tenants and owners

The Palaszczuk Government has unveiled a package of measures to implement the freeze on evictions.

Deputy Premier Jackie Trad is encouraging tenants, property owners and agents to work together to sustain tenancies during this public health emergency.

“We’ve all heard of stories of too many Queenslanders who are doing it tough right now, and the Palaszczuk Government recognises the hardship they are suffering.

“It’s not in the interest of anyone to have tenants left without a place to go when we are fighting to prevent the spread of a deadly disease.

“We will not allow anyone to be evicted because they can’t pay their rent as a result of this crisis.”

Housing and Public Works Minister Mick de Brenni said that Queenslanders would always rally to support each other when times were tough, and that he was encouraged by the already high number of people resolving issues and supporting each other.

“Neither landlords nor tenants are to blame for this, and now is the time for them to work together to get through this pandemic” Mr de Brenni said.

“The Palaszczuk Government has launched an online rental hub at www.covid19.qld.gov.au/the-hub to provide all of the information and resources to support discussions between property owners and renters.

“For those that can’t reach an agreement, there will be compulsory conciliation for COVID-19  related disputes between tenants and landlords through the Residential Tenancies Authority.

“In asking tenants and property owners to find a solution that works for all parties, the RTA will have clear guidelines that prohibit a requirement to draw on superannuation, or sell basic personal assets.”

Freeze on evictions

Mr de Brenni said the Palaszczuk Government will implement the National Cabinet decision to freeze evictions due to rent arrears for Queensland tenants impacted by COVID-19.

“We’re providing certainty by implementing a retrospective freeze on evictions, as of Sunday 29 March 2020.

New protections now mean that property owners will be prohibited from evicting a tenant if their lease expires during COVID-19 public health crisis.

“This means that a property owner must offer an extension to the lease for at least a further 6 months,” said Mr de Brenni

“Alternatively, if a tenant cannot pay rent due to impacts of coronavirus and wants to end their lease early, they will be allowed to do so.

“Tenants will still be required to demonstrate respect for their property and neighbours by maintaining their home in accordance with their tenancy agreement.”

Rental Support

The Deputy Premier said the Palaszczuk Government had also introduced failsafe measures to support tenants experiencing hardship and unable to access or waiting for other financial support be there for Queensland tenants if all else failed.

“New eligibility criteria is now in place for rental grants of up to four weeks rent, or a maximum of $2,000.

“This is a last resort for Queenslanders in need of support while they are waiting for federal government support to prevent homelessness.”

DFV Protections

Mr de Brenni said the Palaszczuk Government would also implement legislative protections that would  allow Queenslanders experiencing domestic and family violence to leave a rental property in a hurry.

“We want all Queenslanders to be safe at home, but for some people this is just not the case.

“If you need to escape in a hurry, we won’t allow paperwork to stand in your way.

“Immediate support to end tenancies quickly, change locks without seeking approval, access bond and separate from co-tenancies will be introduced.”

ENDS

Media contacts:

Deputy Premier’s office:     Geoff Breusch 0417 272 875

Minister de Brenni’s office:  Rosie Gilbert 0466 834 330

Email sent to Queensland mailing list - Stacey Holt 1.40pm

Good afternoon, the above media release has just been released. Please note there are still no specific law changes. The release is a little frustrating as we do not have the detail on specific legislation.  Such as “This means that a property owner must offer an extension to the lease for at least a further 6 months,” said Mr de Brenni. Will there be exemptions such as lessor needing the property. I am still reviewing the information as released and considering but without the actual draft legislation, it is a difficult to formulate best practice.

This release is not overly helpful in my professional view without the draft legislation (devil is in the detail). It does however provide us some insight into Government intentions. We shall continue to keep you up to date the best we can and remind to please keep an eye on the running public blog. 

April 8th 3pm Part of email sent to FREE Queensland mailing list (including Real Estate Excellence members) - IMPORTANT - no laws have changed for residential tenancy in Queensland

Good afternoon,  

As a result of COVID19 (Coronavirus) we wish to remind everyone that to date there have been no law changes for tenancy in Queensland.

Listen to latest information about what is happening, possibly when and more at the podcast here, plus continue to visit the public running blog when you can here. Although we do not specialise in commercial tenancies and matters, as a courtesy to industry, the blog was updated yesterday with commercial tenancy changes and the temporary new code of conduct.

We sincerely wish you a Happy Easter as we all do the best we can during this period. Take care 

April 7th 4.30pm Commericial tenancies and the Federal Government

The National Cabinet agreed that states and territories would implement the attached mandatory Code of Conduct (the Code), including via legislation or regulation as appropriate, to implement the principles agreed on Friday 3 April. The Code builds on the draft codes submitted by landlord and tenant representative bodies in the commercial property sector.

The purpose of the Code is to impose a set of good faith leasing principles for application to commercial tenancies (including retail, office and industrial) between owners/operators/other landlords and tenants, in circumstances where the tenant is a small-medium sized business (annual turnover of up to $50 million) and is an eligible business for the purpose of the Commonwealth Government’s JobKeeper programme.

National Cabinet agreed that there would be a proportionality to rent reductions based on the tenant’s decline in turnover to ensure that the burden is shared between landlords and tenants. The Code provides a proportionate and measured burden share between the two parties while still allowing tenants and landlords to agree to tailored, bespoke and appropriate temporary arrangements that take account of their particular circumstances.
National Cabinet again noted that it expects Australian and foreign banks along with other financial institutions operating in Australia, to support landlords and tenants with appropriate flexibility as they work to implement the mandatory Code.

The Commonwealth Government is also acting as a model landlord by waiving rents for all its small and medium enterprises and not-for-profit tenants within its owned and leased property across Australia.

The Rent Relief Policy will include a mutual obligation requirement on the small and medium sized enterprises and not-for-profit tenants to continue to engage their employees through the JobKeeper initiative where eligible, and if applicable, provide rent relief to their subtenants.

National Cabinet Mandatory Code of Conduct - SME Commercial Leasing Principles during COVID-19 Sourced from pm.gov.au 

Updated 8th April 5pm The Government’s mandatory Code of Conduct: What does it mean for landlords? Sourced article here.

Updated 9th April 1.55pm Government moves to protect retail and commercial tenants

Coat of Arms

Media Release

Deputy Premier, Treasurer and Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships
The Honourable Jackie Trad

Palaszczuk Government moves to protect retail and commercial tenants

Commercial and retail tenants will be protected from evictions under a series of measures to protect businesses and jobs unveiled by the Palaszczuk Government.

Deputy Premier and Treasurer Jackie Trad said the measures would be underpinned by $400 million in land tax relief for property owners, which must be passed on to tenants.

That $400 million comes on top of more than $3 billion in measures already announced by the Palaszczuk Government to support Queensland businesses and jobs.

“We’ve heard loud and clear the concerns of people worried about losing their home or business premises through no fault of their own, so we’ve been working hard to put protections in place to stop that happening,” Ms Trad said.

“Since February, we have announced more than $3 billion in measures to sustain businesses through the coronavirus downturn, but when it’s over, they need to know their shops and tenancies are still there.

“Whether they’ve been required to close their doors or not, many businesses have seen their cash flow dry up, making it harder to pay the rent.

“To ensure commercial or residential property owners don’t face undue hardship on their own, we will be offering a three-month rebate of land tax for 2019-20, followed by a three month deferral of land tax 2020-21 for property owners who agree to provide rent relief for tenants affected by the coronavirus downturn.”

A landowner can apply for land tax relief if they meet criteria including:

  •         the landowner rents all or part of a property to a tenant/s OR all or part of a property is currently available for lease; AND
  •         at least one tenant’s ability to pay their normal rent OR the landowner’s ability to secure a tenant is affected by the COVID-19 pandemic; AND
  •         the landowner provides rent relief to an affected tenant/s commensurate with the amount of the land tax rebate OR if the property is unable to be leased, the landowner requires land tax relief to meet their financial obligations (such as debt repayments); AND
  •         the landowner complies with new leasing requirements, even if the relevant lease is not regulated.

Property Council Queensland Executive Director, Chris Mountford, said the land tax relief was an effective way for the Government to support businesses through this crisis. 

“By granting this relief, landlords will have a greater capacity to support tenants that have been adversely affected COVID-19, taking pressure off their cash flow at this critical time,” Mr Mountford said.

“We know the circumstances that landlords and tenants are finding themselves in vary greatly. A ‘one size fits all’ approach to these challenges simply does not work.   

“Today’s announcements are a demonstration that the State Government is stepping up and supporting tenants and landlords as they work this through.  

“The Queensland Government is rightly encouraging outcomes that ensure the economic impact is shared fairly among tenants, landlords, financiers, and the Government.” 

The Deputy Premier said the ban on eviction would be underpinned by new laws.

“We’ll make changes to legislation that will ban evictions on the grounds of financial distress, prevent rent increases, except in cases where business turnover has increased, and allow leases to be extended for the term of a rent waiver that has been agreed to by property owner and tenant,” Ms Trad said.

“By working together, we can protect homes, businesses and jobs as much as possible through this downturn.”

From next Tuesday (14 April) morning people will be able to apply for land tax relief, by going to qld.gov.au/landtax

The Palaszczuk Government has also announced a package of measures to ensure residential tenants don’t lose their homes as a result of COVID-19 hardship.

Queensland will move quickly to legislate to implement protections for retail, commercial and residential tenants.

The Prime Minister has released the SME Leasing Principles During COVID-19 as outlined in the National Cabinet Mandatory Code of Conduct, as attached here.

The Palaszczuk Government will consult with stakeholders on the development of systems and implementation of the code in Queensland.

Media Contact: Geoff Breusch 0417 272 875

April 7th 3pm RTA update 

Refer to RTA website for any updates to this information www.rta.qld.gov.au 

                  

Are you eligible for a Queensland COVID-19 Rental Grant? Learn more

On 29 March 2020, Australian governments met as the National Cabinet and announced that evictions will be put on hold for six months for residential and commercial tenancies affected by the financial impacts of COVID-19. On 3 April, the Prime Minister noted that further work will be done by the Treasurers on residential tenancies. 

 You can learn more about the proposed measures by:
• reading the Prime Minister’s full address
• downloading the Australian Government’s official Coronavirus Australia app in the Apple App Store and Google Play; or following the Government's WhatsApp channel
• calling our information hotline on 1800 497 161 from 8am to 8pm, Monday to Friday, or from 9am to 5pm, Saturday and Sunday
• texting (SMS) “Hi” to 0480 000 782
• visiting our RTA COVID-19 response page.

 We will update our website and eNews subscribers when more details become available.

The RTA encourages all parties in a tenancy to be understanding and reasonable in their dealings with each other, consider each situation individually, talk to each other to negotiate a suitable outcome, document any decisions made, and adhere to any government and/or health agency requirements.

 If you are a public housing tenant, visit the Department of Housing and Public Works website. For the latest COVID-19 health updates, visit Queensland Health’s website. For details on the State Government’s economic relief package, please visit the Business Queensland website. For official Australian Government information and support in response to COVID-19, please visit Australia.gov.au.

Please note: Due to the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the RTA is currently experiencing longer wait times across our customer and support services. We thank you for your patience.

April 6th 6.30am Eviction bans coming and tenants must keep paying rent (podcast)

Eviction bans coming and tenants must keep paying rent. A new podcast listen here.

 April 5th 8am Platinum PME and Platinum non PME Real Estate Excellence membrs - new best practice forms and more

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April 4th 6.20am The Courier Mail page 7 

Pay rent

April 3rd 1.10pm Code of Practice coming for commercial tenancies - Prime Minister media conference (Real Estate Excellence does not specialise in commerical tenancies, but will be providing information to assist people who may want this information)

It is not yet finalised and is expected in coming days. I will update the blog when more information is available. 

Updated 4.45pm Commercial Tenancies

National Cabinet made further progress on the issue of commercial tenancies. They have agreed that a mandatory code of conduct guided by certain principles will be developed and subsequently legislated by State and Territory Governments to apply for tenancies where the tenant is eligible for the Commonwealth Government’s JobKeeper assistance and is a small- or medium-sized enterprise (less than $50 million turnover).

The principles that guide the code will be:

(a) Where it can, rent should continue to be paid, and where there is financial distress as a result of COVID-19 (for example, the tenant is eligible for assistance through the JobKeeper program), tenants and landlords should negotiate a mutually agreed outcome

(b) There will be a proportionality to rent reductions based on the decline in turnover to ensure that the burden is shared between landlords and tenants

(c) There will be a prohibition on termination of leases for non-payment of rent (lockouts and eviction)

(d) There will be a freeze on rent increases (except for turnover leases)

(e) There will be a prohibition on penalties for tenants who stop trading or reduce opening hours

(f) There will be a prohibition on landlords passing land tax to tenants (if not already legislated)

(g) There will be a prohibition on landlords charging interest on unpaid rent

(h) There will be a prohibition on landlords from making a claim to a bank guarantee or security deposit for non-payment of rent

(i) Ensure that any legislative barriers or administrative hurdles to lease extensions are removed (so that a tenant and landlord could agree a rent waiver in return for a lease extension)

For landlords and tenants that sign up to the code of conduct, States and Territories have agreed to look at providing the equivalent of at least a three month land tax waiver and three month land tax deferral on application for eligible landowners, with jurisdictions to continue to monitor the situation. Landlords must pass on the benefits of such moves to the tenants. In cases where parties have signed to the code of conduct, the ability for tenants to terminate leases as mentioned in the National Cabinet Statement on 29 March 2020 will not apply. Mediation will be provided as needed through existing State and Territory mechanisms.

The proposed code of conduct will be discussed at the next meeting of the National Cabinet on Tuesday 7 April. Sourced from www.liberal.org.au 

 

ASIC has written a letter to the real estate institutes in each state outlining concerns about some real estate agents who are advising tenants to apply for early release of their superannuation.

Read the letter (PDF 103 KB)

 

April 3rd 6.20am What does a coronavirus eviction moratorium mean for Australian renters and businesses? 

What is a moratorium?

We'll back up a moment to explain this.

It's means a temporary hold on something. Often that's a legal obligation, like following a contract and paying your rent.

So that means all evictions have been banned now, right?

As of today, we don't know exactly. Read article here.

 

April 3rd 6am The Courier Mail page 2 "Punted despite bans on evictions"

Courier Mail 03 04 2020 Punted despite bans on evictions

April 2nd 4.25pm Queensland new laws coming - Parliament needs to be recalled - no date yet known

Danielle O’Neal, Jessica Marszalek, The Courier-Mail

PREMIER Annastacia Palaszczuk said Parliament would be recalled to push through legislation protecting renters.

New laws are needed to instate a national moratorium on rental terminations to protect tenants who have lost their jobs.

Ms Palaszczuk said she did not know the date as it would depend on when legislation was ready.

However, she said the Parliament would only be recalled to deal with urgent COVID-19-related legislation.

It comes after Treasurer Jackie Trad said she understood people were “incredibly fearful” that they may not be able to pay their rent and pledged that the government will backdate the eviction moratorium in Queensland to March 29.

In a live Q&A streamed on Facebook, Ms Trad said the state government had set up a grant program that offers an emergency rental assistance payment of up to $500 a week, for up to four weeks, for Queenslanders who cannot make rent.

This coronavirus article is unlocked and free to read in the interest of community health and safety. For full access to our journalism – and to download the digital edition of the newspaper as it is printed every day – subscribe here or couriermail.com.au/subscribe (currently a 28-day free trial)

“That is pretty obvious out there in the community that people are incredibly fearful about having an income and being able to make rent, being able to put food on the table, being able to make other sorts of cost-of-living obligations like utility bills,” Ms Trad said.

“We have in fact set up a grants system for those people in the private rental market, so where you’ve lost your job, you’re not going to get any income support from Centrelink until at least the 27th of April.

“The Queensland government has an assistance program where we will provide you $500 a week to help you with your rent payment and it’s a really simple process.”

The payments can be accessed by calling the Residential Tenancies Authority on 1800 497 161.

Ms Trad also acknowledged the state government would be writing the eviction moratorium into law “for tenants who can’t make rent because they’ve lost their job due to coronavirus or the impacts, either directly or indirectly, of coronavirus”.

“There will be an absolute moratorium, prohibition, written into law around evicting renters because they can’t pay their rent and that will be backdated to the day the Prime Minister announced that out of the national cabinet,” she said.

However, she said the eviction moratorium is for people who have been “genuinely impacted” by a coronavirus.

“For tenants that do the things that would ordinarily see them evicted – if they significantly damage the property or the owners themselves move in because of financial distress – then that will still occur, this isn’t a blanket prohibition,” Ms Trad said.

“But where you have lost your job, your hours have been cut, and where you genuinely cannot make your rent, you will not be evicted and we will guarantee that by law and we will also help you make up the shortfall in terms of your rent payments until you start getting some income support, or hopefully get another job.”

Ms Trad said the government is considering renting out hotels to house the homeless.

“We are looking at every option, including hotels for those who find themselves homeless,” she said.

“We are looking at absolutely everything, including head leases in hotels or motels to make sure that we can properly look after those who are most vulnerable in our community.”

April 2nd 1.45pm Prime Minister annoucement - National Cabinet is also considering short-term intervention for commercial tenancy arrangements - National Cabinet meet again tomorrow.

Around one million families are set to receive free child care during the coronavirus pandemic under a plan from the Morrison Government that will help deliver hip pocket relief and help the early childhood education and care sector make it through to the other side of this crisis. Read more here.

 

April 2nd 8.15am Are you eligible for a Queensland COVID-19 Rental Grant? 

Are you eligible for a Queensland COVID-19 Rental Grant? Learn more

Funding is available for Queenslanders who have lost their job due to the impacts of COVID-19 and who do not have access to other financial assistance.

This grant is only available to Queenslanders who need it the most and have exhausted all other options.

The COVID-19 Rental Grant is a one-off payment of up to 4 weeks rent (maximum of $2000) available to those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic who do not have access to other financial assistance.

The grant is paid directly to your lessor.

 Before you apply

You must have had a conversation with your lessor and be able to provide evidence that the lessor has declined all attempts for you to make a payment arrangement. Learn more

 

April 2nd 7.15am Emergency accommodation and Homelessness support

If you’re experiencing homelessness or are housed but at risk of homelessness—including experiencing domestic and family violence you can call:

  • Homelessness Hotline: 1800 474 753
  • DVConnect: 1800 811 811; Men's line: 1800 600 636
  • Click here for more information and assistance

The following information sourced from here.

Preparing your budget

A budget is a simple way to keep track of your money. It may help you save for upcoming bills or unplanned expenses. Try out the interactive budget planner.

No Interest Loan Scheme

The No Interest Loan Scheme (NILS) provides individuals and families on a low income access to safe, fair and affordable credit. Programs are run by local community organisations at over 600 locations across Australia.

To qualify you must:

  • have a Health Care Card/Pension Card or be on a low income
  • reside in your current premises for more than 3 months
  • show a willingness and capacity to repay.

In certain circumstances, the community organisation may consider amending the eligibility criteria upon loan application. Find your local provider.

Concessions

Visit the Smart Savings website to find concessions and rebates or access information about concession cards.

Rent or mortgage assistance

You may be eligible for rent or mortgage assistance through:

Financial advice

Financial counsellors can provide you with advice about your finances, which may include:

  • assessing your financial position
  • choosing products to suit your financial position and needs
  • identifying your financial goals
  • helping you with decisions about how to better use your money.

If you need help to improve your financial situation you can:

Financial and emotional support

  • Centrelink delivers a range of payments and services for people at times of major change.
  • Newstart Allowance offers financial help if you are looking for work. It supports you while you do activities that may increase your chances of finding a job.
  • Youth Allowance offers financial help for people aged 16 to 24 years who are studying full-time, undertaking a full-time Australian Apprenticeship, training, looking for work or sick.

If you are out of work, financial and emotional support is also available from these community organisations:

Support from charities

Charity organisations provide a range of support directly to people in need. 

April 2nd 6.30am QCAT - Department of Justice Facebook page post (made 1st April 2020)

Justice Department Qld FB page 01 04 2020

April 2nd 4am Rent assistance payment of up to $500 a week - Queensland - Download PDF version of below statement to use and send to tenants, and lessors as needed and you see fit here. Listen to podcast here.  I will update the blog when more information (other than The Courier Mail article posted) comes to hand.

STATE Treasurer Jackie Trad says she understands people are “incredibly fearful” that they may not be able to pay their rent and pledged that the government will backdate the eviction moratorium in Queensland to March 29.

In a live Q&A streamed on Facebook, Ms Trad said the state government had set up a grant program that offers an emergency rental assistance payment of up to $500 a week, for up to four weeks, for Queenslanders who cannot make rent.

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“That is pretty obvious out there in the community that people are incredibly fearful about having an income and being able to make rent, being able to put food on the table, being able to make other sorts of cost-of-living obligations like utility bills,” Ms Trad said.

“We have in fact set up a grants system for those people in the private rental market, so where you’ve lost your job, you’re not going to get any income support from Centrelink until at least the 27th of April.

“The Queensland government has an assistance program where we will provide you $500 a week to help you with your rent payment and it’s a really simple process.”

The payments can be accessed by calling the Residential Tenancies Authority on 1800 497 161.

Ms Trad also acknowledged the state government would be writing the eviction moratorium into law “for tenants who can’t make rent because they’ve lost their job due to coronavirus or the impacts, either directly or indirectly, of coronavirus”.

“There will be an absolute moratorium, prohibition, written into law around evicting renters because they can’t pay their rent and that will be backdated to the day the Prime Minister announced that out of the national cabinet,” she said.

However, she said the eviction moratorium is for people who have been “genuinely impacted” by a coronavirus.

“For tenants that do the things that would ordinarily see them evicted - if they significantly damage the property or the owners themselves move in because of financial distress - then that will still occur, this isn’t a blanket prohibition,” Ms Trad said.

“But where you have lost your job, your hours have been cut, and where you genuinely can not make your rent, you will not be evicted and we will guarantee that by law and we will also help you make up the shortfall in terms of your rent payments until you start getting some income support, or hopefully get another job.”

Ms Trad said the government is considering renting out hotels to house the homeless.

“We are looking at every option, including hotels for those who find themselves homeless,” she said.

“We are looking at absolutely everything, including head leases in hotels or motels to make sure that we can properly look after those who are most vulnerable in our community.” Download PDF of this article here.

April 1st 6.15pm Help for renters and landlords: what we know so far

There have been several major announcements in the past week, some of which impact landlords and renters – but the details remain sparse. The lack of information has created confusion for all those concerned, including the property managers who are trying to help them. 

While we wait for further clarification and information from governments, here’s a wrap of what we know so far. Read sourced article here.

 April 1st 6.20am Queensland - RTA statement from their website - no changes to any laws have been made.

On 29 March 2020, Australian governments met as the National Cabinet and announced that evictions will be put on hold for six months for residential and commercial tenancies affected by the financial impacts of COVID-19 with more information to come this week. The Queensland Government is working through ways to implement the Commonwealth Government’s proposed changes to rental arrangements as quickly as possible. www.rta.qld.gov.au 

31st March 2pm Anzac Day and Real Estate - Lest we forget

Real estate offices,  may open only for the purpose of rental transactions and must not sell real estate or conduct open house inspections. More information here.

The Trading (Allowable Hours) Act 1990  (Qld) prohibits the real estate industry from conducting the business of selling real estate on Anzac Day.

Section 34 is set out below. 

34 Real estate sales prohibited

A person must not conduct the business of selling real estate on Anzac Day.

Maximum penalty—40 penalty units.

31st March 1pm Office of Fair Trading update Queensland

Property agents - Some restrictions have been placed on property licensees regarding social distancing and open houses, and auctions. We have developed a fact sheet  that answers your frequently asked questions about your obligations under the Property Occupations Act 2014 and complying with social distancing rules.

31st March 11.45am Real Estate Excellence Platinum PME and Platinum non PME member offices 

Refer to Member online to access the many resources in the Coronavirus template folder. I will be updating the resources, and creating more when needed. 

member shot 1

Member shot 2

Member shot 3

 

31st March 11.25pm (should be 11.25am....) National Cabinet agreed to meet again on Friday 3 April 2020

We may not have any further information regarding rental law changes until the next Cabinet meeting. As per earlier posts and podcasts, if the Queensland Government release any information earlier, and or when they do, Real Estate Excellence members will be advised via email as per the "as it happens" membership update service. 

 

31st March 10.20am RTA update Queensland

RTA responds - COVID-19 (novel coronavirus): Information for the Queensland residential rental sector Latest information Updated 31 March 2020 www.rta.qld.gov.au 

In response to the global novel coronavirus (COVID-19) situation, the Residential Tenancies Authority (RTA) appreciates this is a difficult and uncertain time for many in the Queensland residential rental sector.

The situation and advice from government authorities on the COVID-19 situation is evolving with the emergent nature of the pandemic.

The RTA is unable to give specific direction from a legislative perspective as the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008 does not specifically address pandemic situations. However, we are in uncertain times and will await direction from the Federal and State Governments.

All parties in a tenancy should be aware of their rights and responsibilities under the Act, which have not changed at the time of publication.

However, the RTA suggests all parties be understanding and reasonable in their dealings with each other during this unprecedented situation.

Where a tenancy is impacted by the evolving situation, all parties – tenants, property managers and owners – are encouraged to consider each situation individually, talk to each other to negotiate a suitable outcome, document any decisions made, and adhere to any government and/or health agency requirements.

For the latest health information and advice regarding COVID-19 (coronavirus), please visit the Queensland Health website or the Australian Government Department of Health website, which includes coronavirus resources such as a home isolation and care fact sheet.

On the latest government announcements

On 29 March 2020, Australian governments met as the National Cabinet and announced that evictions will be put on hold for six months for residential and commercial tenancies affected by the financial impacts of COVID-19, with more information to come this week.

The Queensland Government is working through ways to implement the Commonwealth Government’s proposed changes to rental arrangements as quickly as possible.

You can learn more about the proposed measures by:

The Prime Minister announced on 24 March 2020 that real estate auctions, auction houses and gatherings of people in auction rooms, and open house inspections are no longer permitted as of midnight on 25 March. Private appointments for inspections are allowed.

With regards to specific circumstances that may occur in a tenancy at this time, the RTA acknowledges the Prime Minister's announcement on 29 March that indoor and outdoor gatherings are to be limited to two persons only, excluding household members. All Australians are advised to social distancing and self-isolation guidelines.

All parties to a tenancy agreement are encouraged to follow the advice of the National Cabinet and the social distancing measures that have been announced or are enforceable in Queensland when considering the following activities:

Routine inspections

If there is an opportunity to postpone or reschedule inspections to a time where all parties are comfortable that social distancing and self-isolation measures are being satisfied, this is the best way to minimise risk. Alternatively, parties could discuss the possibility of conducting virtual inspections via photos or video calls, but any decisions should be mutually agreed and documented. All parties should advise each other early of any health, safety or financial impacts if the inspection does or doesn’t occur.

Entry to the property

Property managers/owners must comply with the rules of entering rental premises under the RTRA Act. Penalties apply for unlawful entry.

Before organising for anyone to enter the property, all parties need to ensure that social distancing and self-isolation measures are being met. Ask if any person planning to enter the property, or any person they are close to, is self-isolating, has been out of the country within the last 14 days, or is generally unwell.

All parties should adhere to Queensland Health’s directives as listed on its website.

If the tenant indicates that they have been overseas in the last 14 days, are feeling unwell or are self-isolating, it is recommended entry does not take place.

If an agent/tradesperson/potential buyer indicates the same, they should reconsider the need to enter the property.

If relevant persons indicate they are not at risk, normal entry notice periods apply. A tenant is not required to be present during the entry. All parties should consider how to minimise the potential for tension or stress on each other by communicating openly, understanding each other’s circumstances and developing an acceptable solution

For emergency repairs, consideration should be given to safety or impact to the tenant or owner should the repairs not be carried out. 

Paying rent

The Act doesn’t address pandemic situations, but we are in uncertain times and will await direction from the Federal and State Governments.

It is suggested that all parties ensure that social distancing and self-isolation measures are being addressed, proactively advise each other of any health, safety or financial impacts that may impact the tenancy, and be understanding and reasonable in their dealings with each other.

Parties are encouraged to act reasonably, communicate and mitigate loss or inconvenience to each other.

It is important to be clear in all communications, document any agreements made, and keep each other updated if circumstances change.

All parties should consider how to minimise the potential for tension or stress on each other by communicating openly, understanding each other’s circumstance and developing an acceptable solution.

Getting contracts signed or handing over keys

All parties need to ensure that social distancing and self isolation measures are being addressed. It is suggested that agents and prospective tenants protect themselves in accordance with Queensland Health’s advice, which includes social distancing to at least 1.5 metres, avoiding physical contact such as shaking hands, practicing good hygiene measures, and avoiding anyone who is unwell or self-isolating.

For tenancy information or support services, please explore our website or contact the RTA on 1300 366 311.

Quick links: Related RTA tenancy information

Other resources that may be helpful to the Queensland residential rental sector

31st March 8.30am Queensland Rental update 31 March 2020. A new podcast link below

Click here to listen. 

30th March 4.25pm Job keeker allowance for businesses

The Morrison Government will provide a historic wage subsidy to around 6 million workers who will receive a flat payment of $1,500 per fortnight through their employer, before tax. Read more here.

 Updated 5pm Read a fact sheet from Federal Government treasury for employers here. Fact sheet for employees here.

30th March 9.30am Body Corporate information Queensland

 COVID-19 LOT OWNER BEST PRACTICE GUIDE

Whether you’re a landlord, owner occupier, committee or a building manager, here’s what you need to know about preparedness, communication and resident safety during the COVID-19 outbreak. The guide answers many questions unique to strata communities including:

  1. Are residents required to disclose to the Strata Community if they are self quarantined or infected?
  2. Should I disclose to the Strata Community that I am self-isolating and/or have been ordered to self-isolate?
  3. Should I disclose to the Strata Community that I have been infected with COVID-19?
  4. What type of Policies may the Committee create?
  5. What if I have pets?

Click Here to download the full guide now.

Alternatively, if you are a Building Manager, the following version has further information applicable to your role:
Apartment Living & COVID-19 Best Practice Guideline BUILDING MANAGERS

This guide was prepared by Strata Community Association (Qld)

30th March 8.10am RTA update

Refer to RTA website for any updates to this information www.rta.qld.gov.au 

On 29 March 2020, Australian governments met as the National Cabinet and announced that evictions will be put on hold for six months for residential and commercial tenancies affected by the financial impacts of COVID-19 with more information to come this week. The Queensland Government is working through ways to implement the Commonwealth Government’s proposed changes to rental arrangements as quickly as possible.

 You can learn more about the proposed measures by:
• reading the Prime Minister’s full address
• downloading the Australian Government’s official Coronavirus Australia app in the Apple App Store and Google Play; or following the Government's WhatsApp channel
• visiting our RTA COVID-19 response page.

 We will update our website and eNews subscribers when more details become available.

The RTA encourages all parties in a tenancy to be understanding and reasonable in their dealings with each other, consider each situation individually, talk to each other to negotiate a suitable outcome, document any decisions made, and adhere to any government and/or health agency requirements.

 If you are a public housing tenant, visit the Department of Housing and Public Works website. For the latest COVID-19 health updates, visit Queensland Health’s website. For details on the State Government’s economic relief package, please visit the Business Queensland website. For official Australian Government information and support in response to COVID-19, please visit Australia.gov.au.

Please note: Due to the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the RTA is currently experiencing longer wait times across our customer and support services. We thank you for your patience.

30th March 7am There is not a rent moratorium Queensland

Listen to podcast here.

30th March 3.40am Queensland Housing Minister Facebook comment regarding tenancy law changes

The below post is from the Queensland Housing Minister Facebook page (an extract of a comment made publicly). Please review my posts following as to how the changes to Residential tenancy law have to be made.  Any change are going to take some time. In the meantime, it is the status quo noting blog post below regarding QCAT hearing changes. Real Estate Excellence Members the existing rent arrears best practice suggested policy for now is recommended.

Mick DeBrenni

29th March 8.50pm

It was extremely irresponsible and disappointing of the Federal Government to announce rent moratorium without any detail.

Note below from my blog

27th March
Prime Minister stated rental payment matters cannot be dealt with nationally (by the Federal Government) due to the Constitution. Residential tenancy matters must be dealt with by the relevant state/territories. "Commercial tenancies are easier to deal with".

I urge the industry to stay calm the best you can and wait for the detail and facts.

Until tomorrow...

29th March 8.30pm Part of Prime Minister Media Conference statement - Commercial and residential tenancies

As part of its work on helping businesses hibernate, National Cabinet agreed that short-term intervention is needed for commercial tenancies. Work on this has begun, but there is more to do, including for residential tenancies.

National Cabinet agreed to a moratorium on evictions over the next six months for commercial and residential tenancies in financial distress who are unable to meet their commitments due to the impact of coronavirus.

Commercial tenants, landlords and financial institutions are encouraged to sit down together to find a way through to ensure that businesses can survive and be there on the other side. As part of this, National Cabinet agreed to a common set of principles, endorsed by Treasurers, to underpin and govern intervention to aid commercial tenancies as follows:

  • a short term, temporary moratorium on eviction for non-payment of rent to be applied across commercial tenancies impacted by severe rental distress due to coronavirus;
  • tenants and landlords are encouraged to agree on rent relief or temporary amendments to the lease;
  • the reduction or waiver of rental payment for a defined period for impacted tenants;
  • the ability for tenants to terminate leases and/or seek mediation or conciliation on the grounds of financial distress;
  • commercial property owners should ensure that any benefits received in respect of their properties should also benefit their tenants in proportion to the economic impact caused by coronavirus;
  • landlords and tenants not significantly affected by coronavirus are expected to honour their lease and rental agreements; and
  • cost-sharing or deferral of losses between landlords and tenants, with Commonwealth, state and territory governments, local government and financial institutions to consider mechanisms to provide assistance.

National Cabinet will meet again on Monday 30th March 2020. www.pm.gov.au 

29th March 5.45 Prime Minister Media Conference

My notes - The Prime Minister stated the states and territories have agreed in principle to a moratorium on terminations/evictions of commercial and residential property. More information will come in coming days relating to commercial tenancies.  As per my blog posts below 29th March 10.10am and 27th March 1.45pm, more information is still to come for residential tenancies due to the complexities and own state/territory laws. The moratorium could be for six months. 

Updated 6.05pm Definition of moratorium

1aa legally authorized period of delay in the performance of a legal obligation or the payment of a debt
ba waiting period set by an authority
2suspension of activity

The above definition sourced from here.

Updated 7.45pm - The transcript and media release from this media conference have not yet been released. I will update the blog when the information is available. 

News article -  Coronavirus Australia: PM announces six-month moratorium on evictions as renters and landlords pushed to breaking point. Read article here.

29th March 5pm Prime Minister media conference transcript

Extracts from transcript from media conference 10am 29th March

"So I would say to employers, who I know are going through very difficult times, these changes will be announced soon and I would ask that before you make any further decisions that you take the opportunity to see the further measures that the government will be announcing, and we will be seeking to enlist you in that process. And we will be ensuring also that those who have already gone into this very devastating situation where they have had to stand down workers, that any measures we are announcing will be taking them on as well and we will be working with them to that end. "

"Now later today the National Cabinet will be meeting, as we flagged. If there is a need for me to provide further information following that National Cabinet tonight we will do that in the Blue Room later this evening, we are meeting this afternoon, not in the evening, so you can expect any press conference to be held a little earlier in the evening than we did last Sunday. And we will consider those further matters before us and if that requires me to come back to you again today then I will be doing so". 

Sourced from www.pm.gov.au 

29th March 11.40am Information for businesses and employees and resources for General Public

Information from the Australian Government for businesses and employees here.

Information from the Australian Government for general public (resources) here.

 

Below are some quick links provided by the Minister for Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business that outline the measures available to small and medium businesses, sole traders and households under the $189 billion economic support package announced by the Prime Minister:

Small or medium business with reduced cash flow?
Here’s what we’re doing to boost your cash flow. 

Is your business financially distressed?
This is what we’re doing to support you.

Assisting the economic recovery
Here’s how we’ll support you to grow.

Employ an apprentice or trainee? 
This support is for you.

Are you a sole trader that has lost business?
This is what we’re doing to support you and your business.

Household finances hit by reduced work?
Here’s what we’re doing to help support your family budget.

Payments to support households.

Business.gov.au support line: 
13 28 46

29th March 11.15am Limits on public gatherings for coronavirus (COVID-19)

Venues where a large number of people are in one place can increase the risk of spreading viruses. Find out what limits apply to public gatherings to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Read more here.

29th March 10.10am $1.1 Billion to Support More Mental Health, Medicare and Domestic Violence Services - Federal Government media release

More help will be given to millions of Australians battling the devastating impacts of coronavirus with a $1.1 billion package which boosts mental health services, domestic violence support, Medicare assistance for people at home and emergency food relief.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said more support would be rolling out immediately to deal with the secondary effects of the health and economic crisis caused by coronavirus.

“As we battle coronavirus on both the health and economic fronts with significant support packages in place and more to come, I am very aware many Australians are understandably anxious, stressed and fearful about the impacts of coronavirus and what it brings,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison said. Read the full announcement here.

29th March 8.40am New Zealand news story Covid-19 coronavirus: Tenants found moving house during lockdown warned by police

Renters moving to a new house during the first day of the coronavirus lockdown have been told by police to stop.

"We are now starting to hear stories of tenants who are moving, armed with the advice from the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development," Bindi Norwell, chief executive of the Real Estate Institute, said.

"But they are being warned by the police for unnecessary travel - again adding to the confusion around the situation. Read more here.

 

29th March 8.30 Reblog from blog post here. COVID-19 for bodies corporate

Email received by Real Estate Excellence 18th March 2020 - Update 1 www.bccm.qld.gov.au

Image

COVID-19 Communication update 18 March 2020

General information

Our office is receiving enquiries about how bodies corporate can carefully consider the impact of COVID-19 on their body corporate. This is not surprising given the nature of living in a community titles scheme.

Bodies corporate and residents should consider what steps may be appropriate within their scheme to look after the interests of all residents and workers in the scheme.

Bodies corporate and their committees have a statutory obligation to act 'reasonably'.  Actions taken in response to the COVID-19 pandemic need to balance the rights of individuals with the needs of other owners and occupiers and the broader community. 

Considerations may include:

  • Reminding all residents, workers and guests of the importance of practising appropriate hygiene (such as handwashing) and social distancing.
  • Asking residents diagnosed with COVID-19—or who are required to self-isolate—to alert the body corporate so other residents can be informed and take appropriate precautions. You need to balance the requirement for reducing others’ exposure with the individual’s right to privacy.
  • any restrictions on the use of common areas (including facilities such as pools and gyms), particularly for anyone who is diagnosed with COVID-19 or is required to self-isolate.
Committee meetings
  • It may be prudent for committees to avoid face-to-face meetings unless they are essential, and to practice appropriate hygiene and social distancing when meetings are held.
  • There is no legislative reason why meetings cannot be held remotely; for example, by telephone, video conference, skype and similar technologies.
  • The need for a quorum at meetings does not mean that committee members need to be present in the same room.
  • A committee can also decide to vote outside committee meetings.
General meetings
  • Bodies corporate, particularly in larger schemes, can consider deferring calling general meetings unless there is urgent or essential business to consider.
  • Bodies corporate are able to seek approval from an adjudicator for annual general meetings to be held outside the legislative timeframe, and this may be an option to consider. Please read Practice Direction 19 for further information.
  • Where meetings are held, it may be appropriate to encourage owners to only submit voting papers (or vote electronically in those bodies corporate that have approved electronic voting) rather than attending the meeting personally.
  • While the legislation requires a minimum number of persons to be 'present personally' at a general meeting to form a quorum, this will generally only be one or two persons (depending on the size of the scheme).
  • All other voters could submit written votes and potentially also participate in the meeting remotely (for example, by telephone, video conference, skype or similar technologies) if the body corporate is able to facilitate such participation.
  • Provided that bodies corporate make reasonable endeavours to comply with the legislative requirements for holding general meetings, instances of non-compliance that do not affect the voting outcomes will be unlikely to affect the validity of meetings.
  • The statutory capacity to approve expenditure above the committee spending limit with the written consent of all owners, may reduce the need to call a general meeting in some cases, particularly in smaller schemes.
  • In schemes registered under the Small Schemes and Commercial Modules there is also a capacity to approve any general meeting motion with a vote outside a meeting.
Maintenance of common property
  • A body corporate must maintain common property in good condition.
  • The body corporate may need to consider the need for additional cleaning of common areas and facilities if necessary.
Our Office

As a temporary measure, the Office of the Commissioner for Body Corporate and Community Management will conduct all conciliations via telephone to prevent any face to face contact or the need to travel on public transport for our clients. Otherwise it is business as usual and any changes to the status of the Office will be communicated via our Common Ground e-newsletter subscription , website and DJAG social media accounts

29th March 8.10am Article sourced from the Sunday Mail Landlord tax breaks for keeping tenants - scoll down to blog post 27th March 1.45pm for more information. 

Landlord tax breaks rents

29th March 8am Article sourced from the Sunday Mail - Cost incurred for working from home

Costs incurred for working from home

 

 

29th March 8am Article sourced from The Sunday Mail - Foreign students, Backpackers, Migrant financial supportForeign students

27th March 5pm Electrical safety office - Electrical safety working from home tips received by Real Estate Excellence

Electrical safety when working from home

COVID-19 is rapidly changing the way we live and work every day, and telecommuting (working from home), is becoming the new reality for many of us.

Home based offices are considered a workplace under work health and safety laws so it’s important for workers and employers to work together to identify and minimise work health and safety risks at home.

You must consider the following to ensure your safety at home when using electrical equipment:

  • Check to see if you have a safety switch installed and that it is operational by pressing the test button before you initially start work from home and every three months thereafter
  • Carry out a visual inspection of all electrical equipment in your home office.
    • Check for cuts, nicks or exposed conductors on any cords.
    • Check equipment for visible damage (broken covers, overheating discolouration).
    • Either discard any damaged equipment or have it repaired by an appropriately licensed electrical worker. Do not attempt to repair faulty equipment yourself.
  • Ensure leads and power boards are placed where they will not get damaged by moving furniture, chairs, foot traffic or other activities.
  • To avoid overheating and fire risks, don’t place papers or other items against air vents of equipment or cover equipment such as power boards or power supplies.
  • Don’t cover or stack up equipment under charge (e.g. phones to laptops).
  • Don’t permit children to touch or play with electrical cords and make sure electrical cords are not dangling from benches or within your child’s reach.
  • Ensure power boards and outlets are not overloaded (e.g. don’t plug in several room heaters into one power board) and are not placed where they may be splashed with liquids.

Tips to manage work health and safety telecommuting risks

  1. Consult
  • Discuss equipment, hours of work, communication methods and any concerns with the arrangement.
  • Discuss how scheduling breaks, daily routines and regular movement can minimise sedentary work.
  • Agree how to keep in touch to minimise the impact of working in isolation.
  1. Prepare
  • Use equipment and IT resources for safe and productive work.
  • Use a telecommuting checklist for workers to self-assess their home-based work area.
  • Ensure workers understand how to safely set up their workstations.
  • Use a reporting process for early intervention – injuries, hazards, incidents and changes in circumstances.
  1. Communicate
  • Implement a consultation, monitoring and review process.
  • Encourage workers to stay connected with their colleagues through team meetings, or during their breaks (e.g. have a Zoom lunch or dial-a-friend coffee break).

Resources

Further information


Further electrical information can be found at electricalsafety.qld.gov.au

 

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Follow us on Facebook for up to the minute safety news, updates and events for the electrical industry.

27th March 4.20pm Lessor wanting to offer rent free period

A number of  Real Estate Excellence members are asking the question what to do if lessor wants to openly offer tenant free rent period. Our response posted in the FB private Real Estate Excellence member group, or if not on FB as a member, please email us. Queensland member office private group here (Members only). Updated 4am 30th March A best practice suggested policy for this occurence has now been uploaded to Member online.

 

27th March 1.45 pm Notes Prime Minister media conference 1.25pm 27th March 2020

Brief notes taken by Stacey Holt from the Prime Minister media conference. 
We need to Hibernate Australian businesses – and innovate
Businesses must close their doors – either by having to keep them closed due to Government rules or simply having no business.
Support is coming from state and territories – dealing with commercial tenancies and ultimately residential tenancies. Further announcements coming. I will email members significant information. Note essential services for Queensland in the blog post below.  Added note 2.10pm - Prime Minister stated rental payment matters cannot be dealt with nationally (by the Federal Government) due to the Constitution. Residential tenancy matters must be dealt with by the relevant state/territories. "Commercial tenancies are easier to deal with". Added note 3.20pm National Cabinet will meet again on Sunday, 29 March 2020 and consider issues including responses to address Commercial and residential tenancies and health  supply arrangements.

27th March 12.45pm Email received by Real Estate Excellence by Worksafe Queensland

Prevent COVID-19 spreading when performing essential work

This week Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Education Minister Grace Grace announced that while all Queensland schools will be student-free, they’ll remain open to allow children of essential workers and vulnerable children to remain at school. These essential service workers include health workers, supermarket staff, and all other workers required in the workplace. If your work is essential, please ensure your workers are observing social distancing and good hygiene practices to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Ensure all required WHS controls are being adhered to, including the use of PPE, and if anyone is sick, send them home. Social distancing measures at work include:

  • stop shaking hands to greet others
  • keep 1.5 metres away from others as much as possible
  • avoid gatherings and meetings that aren’t essential
  • hold essential meetings outside in the open air if possible
  • promote good hand, sneeze and cough hygiene
  • provide alcohol based hand rub for all staff and workers
  • eat lunch at your desk or outside rather than in the lunch room
  • regularly clean and disinfect surfaces that many people touch
  • limit food handling and sharing of food in the workplace
  • avoid non-essential travel
  • promote strict hygiene among food preparation (canteen) staff and their close contacts.

Watch this film on social distancing: 

Coronavirus video - Social Distancing

Support and advice

27th March 9.40am QCAT hearings update QCAT COVID-19 Update www.qcat.qld.gov.au 

Last updated 27 March 2020

Summary of QCAT Practice Directions 2, 3 and 4 commencing Monday, 30 March 2020*

Three new practice directions have been issued to set out procedures across the guardianship, urgent minor civil dispute (MCD) and other QCAT jurisdictions to minimise the spread of COVID-19 virus, particularly to:

  • Provide for telephone and, in exceptional circumstances, in person hearings.
  • How material is filed, that would otherwise be filed in person at hearing.
  • Types of matters to be adjourned, until further notice.

NOTE: THESE ARRANGEMENTS DO NOT APPLY TO QCAT MATTERS HEARD BY MAGISTRATES IN REGIONAL CENTRES.

Arrangements for Guardianship matters (please refer to QCAT Practice Direction No. 2 of 2020 (Opens in new window) for more detailed instructions):

  • All hearings will be by phone or videoconferencing except in exceptional authorised circumstances.
  • Any person authorised to appear in person must sign a COVID-19 personal statement.
  • All documents to be relied on at hearing must be filed by email.

Arrangements for urgent Minor Civil Dispute Tenancy matters (please refer to QCAT Practice Direction No. 3 of 2020 (Opens in new window) for more detailed instructions):

  • Urgent MCD Tenancy hearings heard by QCAT adjudicators at 259 Queen St Brisbane and at south east Queensland Magistrates Courthouses are to be conducted by telephone except in exceptional authorised circumstances.
  • Any person authorised to appear in person must sign a COVID-19 personal statement.
  • Applications must include:
    • all material to be relied on at the hearing. (Any necessary supplementary material, eg up to date rent ledger, must be emailed to the relevant Registry by 4.00 pm on the afternoon before the hearing.)
    • the respondent’s last known address and telephone number.
  • If the respondent intends on participating in the hearing, the respondent must email the relevant Registry advising of their best contact number and attach all material they wish to rely on.

Arrangements for ALL other QCAT matters (please refer to QCAT Practice Direction No. 4 of 2020 (Opens in new window) for more detailed instructions):

  • All non-urgent Minor Civil Disputes listed for hearing are adjourned to a date to be fixed. This includes:
    • Non-urgent residential tenancy disputes
    • Minor debt disputes
    • Consumer disputes
    • Dividing fence disputes
  • In the week commencing 30 March 2020, all other hearings, including appeals, listed for hearing at 259 Queen Street, Brisbane will be by telephone or adjourned until further notice.
  • Any other hearing, including an appeal, listed for hearing at 259 Queen Street, Brisbane from 6 April 2020 will be adjourned to a date to be fixed.
  • All other hearings by QCAT members or adjudicators at south east Queensland Magistrates Courthouses from 30 March 2020 are to be adjourned to a date to be fixed.
  • Any adjourned matters will be reviewed and assessed to see if an urgent telephone hearing is required, a non-urgent telephone hearing is needed, can be decided on available material (“on the papers”), or placed on a list awaiting a new hearing date.
  • All Directions Hearings and Compulsory Conferences will be by telephone.
  • Any mediations conducted by the Dispute Resolution Branch will be by telephone. All other mediations will be adjourned to a date to be fixed.
  • To file an urgent application OTHER than a Guardianship or Urgent Minor Civil Dispute Tenancy application, first email the Registry This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to make arrangements for the filing of the application.
  • To file a non-urgent application, file in the usual manner as described on QCAT’s website: www.qcat.qld.gov.au/applications/lodging-your-application-and-forms (Opens in new window)

The changes for the current week, 23 March to 27 March, and covered by QCAT Practice Direction No. 1 of 2020 (Opens in new window) are still in place but will be superseded from 30 March 2020 by Practice Directions 2, 3 and 4.

*These changes do not apply to matters heard before Magistrates in Queensland courts. Please refer to the Queensland Courts website (Opens in new window)for information about particular locations as they may change between courts.

Health advice

For the most up to date information about COVID-19 please visit the Queensland Health website www.health.qld.gov.au (Opens in new window)

27th March 745am Communication strategy Members of Real Estate Excellence emailed 8am or  listen to podcast here.

I will no longer be posting publicly on social media moving forward at this time, and will only be posting in the private Facebook (FB) members private group. I will be updating this blog as information comes to hand for the benefit of all of industry. Real Estate Excellence Members - I will email you significant events, plus if you are on Facebook, join  Real Estate Excellence member offices FB group  Queensland member office private group here as I will be posting there to advise when I have updated the blog. Members are encouraged to keep an eye on this blog and emails which will be sent only when I deem significant matters have occurred. I will be updating best practice guides, templates and information at Member online (Platinum PME and Platinum non PME member offices) as the situation evolves and as required. We are available as per 'usual' with our best practice services. Please email us for support. NEW service delivery hours for now Monday to Friday 9am to 6pm. Saturday and Sunday 10am to 2pm via email. If you need your office login, please email. There is one login per office. Take care. 

26th March 5.20pm RTA update - COVID-19 (novel coronavirus): Information for the Queensland residential rental sector www.rta.qld.gov.au 

In response to the global novel coronavirus (COVID-19) situation, the Residential Tenancies Authority (RTA) appreciates this is a difficult and uncertain time for many in the Queensland residential rental sector.

The situation and advice from government authorities on the COVID-19 situation is evolving with the emergent nature of the pandemic.

The RTA is unable to give specific direction from a legislative perspective as the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008 does not specifically address pandemic situations. However, we are in uncertain times and will await direction from the Federal and State Governments.

All parties in a tenancy should be aware of their rights and responsibilities under the Act, which have not changed at the time of publication.

However, the RTA suggests all parties be understanding and reasonable in their dealings with each other during this unprecedented situation.

Where a tenancy is impacted by the evolving situation, all parties – tenants, property managers and owners – are encouraged to consider each situation individually, talk to each other to negotiate a suitable outcome, document any decisions made, and adhere to any government and/or health agency requirements.

For the latest health information and advice regarding COVID-19 (coronavirus), please visit the Queensland Health website or the Australian Government Department of Health website, which includes coronavirus resources such as a home isolation and care fact sheet.

On the latest government announcements

The Prime Minister announced on 24 March 2020 that real estate auctions, auction houses and gatherings of people in auction rooms, and open house inspections are no longer permitted as of midnight on 25 March. Private appointments for inspections are allowed

The Prime Minister also announced that there will be another National Cabinet meeting on 25 March 2020 and this meeting would consider other issues including leases. When further information regarding residential tenancies in hardship due to COVID-19 is available, the RTA will update its website and eNews subscribers.

As noted above, open house inspections are no longer permitted as at midnight of 25 March. With regards to other specific circumstances that may occur in a tenancy at this time, the RTA offers the following suggestions.

Routine inspections

If there is an opportunity to postpone or reschedule inspections to a time where all parties are comfortable, this is the best way to minimise risk. Alternatively, parties could discuss the possibility of conducting virtual inspections via photos or video calls, but any decisions should be mutually agreed and documented. All parties should advise each other early of any health, safety or financial impacts if the inspection does or doesn’t occur.

Entry to the property

Property managers/owners must comply with the rules of entering rental premises under the RTRA Act. Penalties apply for unlawful entry.

Before organising for anyone to enter the property, ask if any person planning to enter the property, or any person they are close to, is self-isolating, has been out of the country within the last 14 days, or is generally unwell.

All parties should adhere to Queensland Health’s directives as listed on its website.

If the tenant indicates that they have been overseas in the last 14 days, are feeling unwell or are self-isolating, it is recommended entry does not take place.

If an agent/tradesperson/potential buyer indicates the same, they should reconsider the need to enter the property.

If relevant persons indicate they are not at risk, normal entry notice periods apply. A tenant is not required to be present during the entry. All parties should consider how to minimise the potential for tension or stress on each other by communicating openly, understanding each other’s circumstances and developing an acceptable solution

For emergency repairs, consideration should be given to safety or impact to the tenant or owner should the repairs not be carried out. 

Paying rent

The Act doesn’t address pandemic situations, but we are in uncertain times and will await direction from the Federal and State Governments.

It is suggested that all parties proactively advise each other of any health, safety or financial impacts that may impact the tenancy, and be understanding and reasonable in their dealings with each other.

Parties are encouraged to act reasonably, communicate and mitigate loss or inconvenience to each other.

It is important to be clear in all communications, document any agreements made, and keep each other updated if circumstances change.

All parties should consider how to minimise the potential for tension or stress on each other by communicating openly, understanding each other’s circumstance and developing an acceptable solution.

Getting contracts signed or handing over keys

It is suggested that agents and prospective tenants protect themselves in accordance with Queensland Health’s advice, which includes social distancing to at least 1.5 metres, avoiding physical contact such as shaking hands, practicing good hygiene measures, and avoiding anyone who is unwell or self-isolating.

For tenancy information or support services, please explore our website or contact the RTA on 1300 366 311.

Quick links: Related RTA tenancy information

Other resources that may be helpful to the Queensland residential rental sector

  • The Federal Government’s economic response is on the Treasury website, as outlined by the Prime Minister on 22 March.
  • For details of the State Government’s economic relief package, please visit the Queensland Government’s website.
  • The State Government announced a $24.7 million housing and homelessness package on 25 March, and confirmed their Homeless Hotline is available to vulnerable Queenslanders.
  • See this update for details of new arrangements at the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) from the week commencing 23 March 2020.
  • For Queenslanders in self-isolation, advice, information and support can be accessed on Queensland Health’s website and through the Queensland Government’s Community Recovery Hotline.
  • For student support resources, please visit Study Queensland or contact your university/education provider’s student services team.
  • For updates and resources for the community sector, please visit the QCOSS website Community Door
  • For tenants and residents who would like more information, Tenants Queensland has published a fact sheet on its website.
  • For information on how housing providers and homelessness services can best support their staff, clients and tenants, please visit the The Deck by Q Shelter.

26th March 1.45pm Coronavirus: Australians demand freeze on rent, mortgage payments

Hundreds of thousands of concerned Australians have called on the government to suspend household payments during the coronavirus pandemic.

In a Change.org petition addressed to Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Melbourne man David Buchler urged the government to follow Italy’s lead by suspending mortgage repayments, rent and utility bills to “soften the economic blow” facing households and small businesses. Read the article here.

26th March 10.45am Update from the Residential Tenancies Authority Queensland RTA www.rta.qld.gov.au 

The RTA acknowledges the Prime Minister’s announcement on 24 March 2020 that the National Cabinet would meet on 25 March to discuss issues including rent. This follows the Prime Minister’s announcement on 20 March 2020 regarding residential tenancies in hardship due to COVID-19.

Unfortunately, we do not have any further information at this time. We encourage you to visit our COVID-19 information page for the latest updates and helpful resources. You can also subscribe to our eNews.

On 24 March, the Prime Minister also announced that real estate auctions, auction houses and gatherings of people in auction rooms, and open house inspections are not to continue from midnight 25 March 2020. Private appointments for inspections are allowed.

 For the latest COVID-19 information, visit Queensland Health’s website or the Australian Government’s website.

For details on the State Government’s economic relief package, please visit the Queensland Government’s website. For details on the Federal Government’s economic support package for workers, households and businesses, visit the Australian Government website.

 Please note: Due to the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) situation, the RTA is currently experiencing longer wait times across our customer and support services. We thank you for your patience.

26th March 9.45am Are banks freezing mortgages? Here are the banks putting payments on hold amid coronavirus

With many businesses and services forced to close under the latest Federal Government restrictions to try to curb the spread of coronavirus, many Australians are feeling the pinch when it comes to finances. Especially those with a mortgage.

At least 1 million Australians are facing unemployment as a result of the crisis.

It has many wondering what the banks are doing when it comes to home loans.

Will mortgages be put on hold?

The big four banks have all announced that their customers will be able to pause mortgage payments. Read the article here.

26th March 9am Sydney Morning Herald article - rental properties and rent

Landlords will be blocked from evicting tenants in a rental rescue package aimed at protecting people who struggle to pay their rent during the coronavirus crisis.

State governments are working on extraordinary interventions to protect up to eight million Australians in rented homes, as the property sector warns of a "disastrous" outcome if rental payments come to a halt. Read article here.

26th March 2.30am National Cabinet Meeting update

The Prime Minister, state and territory Premiers and Chief Ministers continued their meeting on 25 March as the National Cabinet to discuss enhanced health measures to support our efforts to quickly test and contact trace coronavirus in our community. Read the update here.

There is no information in the update regarding any tenancy law changes. New South Wales have made amendments to tenancy law. Read more here. Tasmania have proposed laws. Read more here.  The National Cabinet meet again Friday 27th March 2020.

25th March 11am PRIME Minister media

The Australian Prime Minister just spoke at a media conference and has advised the National Cabinet are meeting again tonight regarding matters they did not get to last night, and other matters. He does not expect to make any announcement tonight after the meeting. This means that most likely further announcements and changes will be made tomorrow. The National Cabinet is a newly formed cabinet made up of all Premiers, Chief Ministers and includes the Prime Minister making these national decisions.  I will update my running blog as more information comes to hand. 

25th March 5am Prime Minister announcement re open homes

Information sourced from Australian Prime Minister website. Link below. Private appointments are currently exempt. Real Estate Auctions and open house are not permitted. Private inspection are permitted. Industry and Members continue to practice usual social distancing rules and protocol for inspection. More information at Member online.   Listen to short podcast here. Watch short video here. These provisions apply from 11.59pm 25th March 2020. Essential services is still not defined but the Prime Minister stated verbally “if you have a job, you are an essential service”.   The Prime Minister website states Australians should stay at home, unless shopping for essentials, travelling to and from work - where you cannot work from home, going to school and exercising. Keep visitors to your home at a minimum. In outdoor spaces do not congregate in groups. 

Review PM statement here.

Not Permitted

Real estate auctions and open house inspections

   Exempt

   Private appointments    for inspection

24th March 3.30pm - Email sent to Queensland free mailing list - essential services - proposed tenancy laws and more

Part of email sent below

Good afternoon

I am writing to all of our Queensland mailing list – Real Estate Excellence member offices and non-members.

The newly formed national cabinet is meeting tonight and we are expecting an update after this meeting regarding possible tenancy laws for this challenging period. My running blog has some information you may wish to review for now.

Please note attached given to you all and Real Estate Excellence members, I have just loaded to member online in the NEW Coronavirus best practice folder (as per below and other emails sent to member offices). It is the Prime Minister statement regarding stage one and all we all know as Australians regarding the lockdown and so called essential services. Attachment here.

24th March 1.30pm Real estate industry demands more government support for renters, landlords amid coronavirus crisis

Renters will need much more support through the coronavirus pandemic, real estate industry experts have warned, foreshadowing that many may not be able to afford keep a roof over their head.

Many want much more offered in the rental assistance package due to be handed down on Tuesday night when the national cabinet meets. Read the article here.

24th March 1pm Queensland Government unveils $4 billion package to support health, jobs, households and Queensland businesses

The Palaszczuk Government will invest an additional $4 billion in measures to support Queenslanders’ health, their jobs and businesses. Read more here.

24th March 8.30am  New Zealand tenancy law changes

Some of New Zealand's 1.5 million tenants in about 600,000 properties are about to get huge support from the Government because landlords will be banned from increasing rents and their rights to evict tenants will be severely limited. Click here to review the article. 

23rd March 4.15pm Rent reduction best practice suggested policy updated to version 2

Real Estate Excellence Platinum PME and Platinum non PME Member offices

I’ve just updated the rent reduction suggested best practice policy (now version 2) to include Queensland law which states rent cannot
Be increased in a six month period. The updated suggested guide is uploading now and will be live soon (or email us).

If rent is decreased and a new fixed term agreement entered into (which is recommended), rent cannot be increased for six months.

 23rd March 3pm What tenancy advocates in Australia are requesting

To: Prime Minister, Premiers, and Chief Ministers
From: [Your Name]

The COVID19 epidemic is a public health crisis that will be made worse by evictions.

The COVID19 epidemic is causing significant economic harm through the cancellation of events, the disruption of supply chains, and a general reduction in public activity and commerce. Many workers, especially contractors and casual workers, will suffer from lost incomes. Many will fall into rent arrears and be at risk of termination and eviction. People facing eviction are less able to take actions required to minimise transmission of COVID19, particularly where they become homeless, and will become more vulnerable to illness.

An eviction into homelessness at this time puts great pressure on families and communities in overcrowded homes, crisis accommodation and people sleeping rough. Support services will already be struggling to deal with increased demand and as a community we cannot afford to make it worse.

We call on the Australian Commonwealth, State and Territory governments to ensure no evictions happen during this crisis.

* Police and court officers should be directed not to carry out or allow any evictions
* Public and community housing providers should immediately cease eviction
proceedings against their tenants
* All relevant Commonwealth, State and Territory Ministers should make public
statements calling on landlords not to begin proceedings to evict any tenant and to
offer leniency on arrears
* Housing departments and councils need to work with shared accommodation
providers, including boarding and rooming house operators, to ensure residents are
not evicted into more severe homelessness and that their accommodation is healthy
* This would not apply to individuals removed for perpetrating violence.

A temporary eviction moratorium is a necessary measure to prevent the spread of COVID19. The economic costs will need to be shared across the community. Before the stop on evictions is lifted, governments must have a plan to ensure the whole community can recover, and not leave some burdened with debt.

Australia is in crisis. We need to come together and ensure no one loses their home.

Read more here.

23rd March 3pm  How to ensure business continuity during social isolation 

The escalation of COVID-19 means social distancing is a necessity and Australian business owners are looking at how their operations will survive. But how can you enact continuity plans to allow staff to work from home so business can continue as usual?

The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends business owners develop contingency and business continuity plans to prepare for employees being required to work from home. Working from home may be necessary due to local travel restrictions, illness or at-risk health conditions. Continue reading this article here.

23rd March 1.45pm RTA announcement

The RTA acknowledges the Prime Minister’s announcement on 20 March 2020 regarding residential tenancies in hardship due to COVID-19. Unfortunately, we do not have any further information at this time. As soon as more information is provided, we will update our website and eNews subscribers. You can subscribe here.

 On 22 March, the Prime Minister announced an economic support package for workers, households and businesses. Learn more and see if you’re eligible.

For the latest COVID-19 information, visit Queensland Health’s website or the Australian Government’s website.

Due to the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) situation, the RTA is currently experiencing longer wait times across our customer and support services. We thank you for your patience.

We are a state government statutory authority that helps make renting work for everyone.  www.rta.qld.gov.au (Source) 

23rd March 11.30am Novel coronavirus small business support (QLD)

For information regarding Queensland small business support from the Government, click here. 

23rd March 10.30am - Changes to rental laws

I will update my blog as more information regarding possible and or changes to Queensland tenancy legislation comes to hand.

Quote from Australian Prime Minister 20th March Media conference

"States also agreed today, and further work will be done on this, are working to identify how relief can be provided for tenants in both commercial tenancies and residential tenancies to ensure that in hardship conditions there will be relief that will be available and ensuring the tenancy legislation is protecting those tenants over the next six months at least. That work will be done by states and territories as it is a state and territory matter, and that work will be led by Western Australia, together with New South Wales, working with all the other states and territories to bring back some model rules that can be applied in hardship cases. So understanding what the trigger might be and how in those circumstances that tenants would be able to maintain their tenancies. Now I know that will mean something for landlords, just as the decision taken today means something for banks, just like the decisions we have already taken as a Commonwealth Government means things for our balance sheets and as a people for the Commonwealth Government as it does for the states. It will also mean something for those, who sadly, might be stood down from their employment and have to look at their annual leave arrangements and sick leave arrangements. All Australians are going to be making sacrifices obviously, in the months ahead, and everyone does have that role to play and that will include landlords, at the end of the day for people who are enduring real hardship." Read more here.

22nd March 1.30pm Email sent to our free Queensland mailing list

As per my email Friday 1pm.  I am going to continue updating my running blog here. The blog now includes what is happening with QCAT hearings, the Federal Government packages for individuals (such as tenants) and businesses like your as released at 11am today.  Keep an eye on my running blog as these days go by as I will continue updating here. (At this blog) There is information for you personally, links to share with tenants, lessors, buyers, sellers and more.  

Real Estate Excellence member offices ( as this email is being sent to all of our mailing list in Queensland)

Over the weekend I have updated the Member Online new folder in the latest member update folder. Coronavirus best practice templates to includes a contractor template. More will come as needed and able.

Take care, and please I hope my words assist, we will get through this. It is ok to have a meltdown, just do not stay there.  I am not too proud to say I have had a little cry here and there, and it is ok. It is ok to not be ok but hope dies last. We will get through this, together.  You may wish to follow my social media pages as well during this time. Instagram @staceyholtrealestateexcellence 

 Real Estate Excellence member offices FB group  Queensland member office private group here

Listen to Property Management Excellence PME free podcasts 

Facebook page links below

Property Management Excellence  

  Stacey Holt Real Estate Excellence 

Queensland property management training - Stacey Holt

 

PART of Email sent to all of our mailing list Friday 1pm

The Government has released a special Coronavirus assistance package for people affected. Click here to access the information and link to give to tenants and or people in need. 

It’s tough days for all of us. Property managers are facing difficult times with their legal duty to act for their lessor client and taking their instructions relating to tenant and arrears.

It’s truly dreadful and uncertain times. If lessors instruct to follow normal procedures, property managers of course must act accordingly.  Rent reductions are an option if able. As per my email to Real Estate Excellence members at noon today, please refer to suggested policy fact sheet on this matter (and more as provided). Ensure new tenancy agreement are entered into and procedures are followed to end the existing agreement. Refer to member fact sheet or seek advice from your preferred advisor.

Tenants (and others) who are losing jobs and income should be advised to urgently contact Centrelink and other Government organisations to assist them financially. The Government has released a special Coronavirus assistance package for people affected. Click here to access the information and link to give to tenants and or people in need. 

Continue reading the above article and more here.

22nd March 1pm QCAT hearings update

QCAT hearing update - more information here. NON Urgent hearings postponed. Click on the link above for more information from QCAT.

22nd March 11am Australian Government Economic Response to the Coronavirus

To review below, click here.

government response 22

 

To review above, click here.

Coronavirus Supplement - Australian Government

On 22 March 2020, the Government announced it will provide a temporary Coronavirus Supplement of $550 a fortnight to new and existing income support recipients from 27 April 2020 for six months. People will receive their usual payment plus $550 each fortnight for the six month period.
The Coronavirus Supplement will be provided to people receiving:

  • JobSeeker Payment
  • Sickness Allowance
  • Youth Allowance for jobseekers
  • Parenting Payment Partnered
  • Parenting Payment Single
  • Partner Allowance
  • Sickness Allowance
  • Farm Household Allowance.

Click here for more information. 

21st March 6am  Mortagee affected people and the big 4 banks

The big four banks are letting borrowers hit pause on their payments, but this is no mortgage holiday. Read article here.

As announced by our Prime Minister, and as advised in my blog at 1pm yesterday (and emailed to our free mailing list), there is some announcement coming over the weekend regarding rent relief for tenants.

After watching the ABC "The Drum" last night and listening to a consumer lawyer, it was indicated there may be a possible amendment made to all tenancy laws in Australia regarding the 'rent relief'. As we all know, there are individual tenancy laws in all Australian state and territories. It was interesting to hear this and of course is now just a matter for us all to see what happens next in this regard. 

20th March 1pm Rent arrears and property management 

The Government has released a special Coronavirus assistance package for people affected. Click here to access the information and link to give to tenants and or people in need. 

It’s tough days for all of us. Property managers are facing difficult times with their legal duty to act for their lessor client and taking their instructions relating to tenant and arrears.

It’s truly dreadful and uncertain times. If lessors instruct to follow normal procedures, property managers of course must act accordingly. Rent reductions are an option if able. As per my email to Real Estate Excellence members at noon today, please refer to suggested policy fact sheet on this matter (and more as provided).

Tenants who are losing jobs and income should be advised to urgently contact Centrelink and other Government organisations to assist them financially. The Government has released a special Coronavirus assistance package for people affected. Click here to access the information and link to give to tenants and or people in need. 

As hard as it is, lessors have insurance and their own mortgages to pronk. tect. Leniency with rent arrears could jeopardise any future insurance claims of default. 

Very few lessors could afford to sustain their own mortgages and costs by waiving rent. If they could, I’m sure most would.

There’s no winner here for now. Hoping the 2nd Federal Government stimulus package offers some consideration during this crisis which will end. The question is not knowing when it will end. (Not known at time of writing this blog at 1pm March 20 2020). UPDATED 2pm 20th March 2020 - Rental relief coming for tenants, read here.

 Thoughts with all. Tough times, tough decisions and what makes it tougher, is we are dealing with fellow human being going through terrible times.

As of today, and during this time,Real Estate Excellence members best practice support services are 7 days per week, 7am to 7pm. I kindly ask and remind as per membership agreement terms to email for best practice advice and support. Phone if need for emergency. Thank you for your understanding. I hope you are not working these hours and have made this decision to cater for members working different hours and with differing needs.

We will get through these uncertain times. The uncertain includes just not knowing when that will be. It will end.

Short podcasts rent arrears and another rent reductions – listen here or search Stacey Holt or Property Management Excellence on your preferred podcast platform.

Real Estate Excellence members

Please refer to our rent arrears suggested best practice policy and templates if needed, and as per email sent to all Members at noon 20th March 2020, the rent reduction suggested policy. 

www.realestateexcellemce.com.au/memberonline - access at Member Online. Login and go to Latest Member Update folder and then NEW folder call Coronavirus best practice templates (Platinum PME and Platinum non PME member offices). More will come as needed. Screen shot as at 20th March 2020.

Coronavirus best practice

Disclaimer

The information provided by Real Estate Excellence is of a general nature only and is not intended to constitute legal advice under any circumstances. Individuals should consider their own circumstances before proceeding to rely upon any information provided by Real Estate Excellence. Whilst care has been taken in best practice advice provided, and the information contained in it has been obtained from sources that Real Estate Excellence believe to be reliable, Real Estate Excellence (including its directors, officers, employees and contractors) does not warrant, represent or guarantee the accuracy, completeness or fitness for purpose of that information. Real Estate Excellence (including its directors, officers, employees and contractors) accordingly does not accept any responsibility, liability, loss or damage whatsoever resulting from the use of the information provided. By using the services of Real Estate Excellence, Clients acknowledge that they have read, understood and accepted this disclaimer of liability.