Articles in Category: Property Management information

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


Queensland tenancy law - the removal of without grounds provision

The Queensland Government released stage one of the proposed amendments to the RTRA Act 16th November, 2019. I have been keeping a running blog since the laws were first looked at being changed in 2012. View the blog, history, developments and more here.In this blog, I am addressing one of the five proposed changes relating to the removal of without grounds provisions to end a tenancy in Queensland. Listen to podcast on this matter here.

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

8th December 2019 - Part of Real Estate Excellence submission regarding the proposed removal of without grounds.

Anyone is welcome to copy/paste and make any of your own final edits as part of your own submission. Feel free to share this post if you see public and industry benefit.

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.

The option of introducing a penalty for the issuing of a notice to leave without grounds is a win for all parties.
To read my full submission to Government as part of the Queensland RTRA Act rental law reforms, click here, and scroll down to 8th December 2019.
 
Anyone is welcome to copy/paste and make any of your own final edits as part of your own submission. Feel free to share this post if you see public and industry benefit.

17th November 2019

We have been 'fighting' the removal' of the investor/lessor right to have no reason to end a tenancy agreement for at least 20 years. For fear of being political, my understanding is the reason it has not been removed before now, is due to predominantly LNP Governments in Queensland. It appears to be a common Labor policy for the provision to be removed. The Labor Government of Queensland have, and continue to be emotive in their language regarding a 'tenant right to have a home'. I am confident I can speak for the vast majority of investors, property agents and managers when I say they too want tenants to enjoy their home, and to have a home. In every industry, in every sector, there are rogue and unethical people. Most people in the real estate and property management plus investment sector, are good hearted, hard working people. The Housing Minister on 16th November 2019 during media interviews stated that it is the minority of people who do the wrong thing. The reality is yes, of course tenants, being human beings, like all people have a right to a home. The fact is it is not their home, or investment. They are paying to rent a property and do not carry any risk, costs, obligations and more for that property. It is the investor/lessor's property.

When the RTRA Act review was announced in 2018, I personally got quite emotionally involved and impassioned regarding the without grounds removal proposal, and lobbied industry vigorously to get on board, make submissions,  plus tried to invoke media attention. Due to above apparent policies of Labor, I had almost resigned myself to the possiblity that the sector has lost the 'fight'. 

Queensland will go to election October 2020.  Labor Government have the numbers in Parliament to pass this provision (the actual bill has not been released). If the bill is introduced to Parliament in time, it most likely will pass. It would take a number of Labor Members of Parliament to 'cross the floor' and vote against the Labor Policy. 

The bill has not been released, and as per my running blog, the Consultation Regulatory Impact Statement has only been released with a six week consultation period. The bill comes next. IT IS NOT TOO LATE to try to stop this fundamental investor right to end a tenancy without reason. It must be further noted that as part of stage 2 of the RTRA Act review, it has been stated as part of the consultation below that future legislation will look at regulating rent increases.

NTL

The removal of without grounds has long been an emotive topic; it hits to the core of the right of a person who owns a product/property to make a decision about what they can do with their property. Government interference is feared, and most people are fearful of Government taking away fundamental rights, plus concerned, that Government continue to place so many burdens on the property investor whilst not contributing to serious social issues such as public housing.

In recent years, there have been many regulatory burdens imposed on property investors, including increased smoke alarm legislation. Whilst it is difficult to argue the most important priority, which is the safety of people, it is also becoming increasingly difficult to swallow the increased regulatory burdens imposed. Part of the stage one review includes the introduction of minimum housing standards for Queensland rental property. This matter has been on the Government radar and agenda since 2012, as discussed at length at my blog. It is currently proposed for a two year transistion and implementation of the standards. Another regulatory burden, and at the point of writing this blog, the details of what the standards are going to be are not known. As noted below in my past submission as part of the review in 2018; the removal of without grounds is not needed as the tenant is protected through current law with rights to dispute a notice to leave without grounds. Further regulatory burden is not needed. 

Anyone reading this blog are welcome to review my submission from 2018 (below) and copy, paste, make any edits they see fit and give feedback to the Government here. Keep it simple; tenants are already protected due to current legislation. Investors, agents and managers are encouraged to also consider contacting their local state member and voice/write your concerns. Of the 135000 responses the Government received as part of the review period in 2018, 2% came from property managers, with 18% being owners, and 79% coming from tenants. (sourced from "A better renting future Reform Roadmap"). I encourage all to have their say NOW. 

For more information regarding what is proposed regarding the removal of without grounds, click here.

 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

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

Property Management Excellence half day training events 2020

All sessions below are 9.30am to 12.30pm with morning tea

Click here to view all upcoming training and special events. 

Register at the link below, or email us with name and email address of attendee/s wishing to attend to save the online booking fee;  contact us for more information if required. Terms and conditions of events - Please read here,  or email us prior to booking.

Session topic for below events - Breaches of agreement during the agreement – negotiate, communicate and educate

Property managers must master the art of effective communication, negotiation and education during tenancies with their lessor client and tenants. Knowledge of the tenancy laws and procedures is part of effective management and a necessity for today’s property manager.

This education and training event will focus on breaches during the tenancy including not keeping the property clean, damage to property and more. We shall discuss effective communication skills, laws and procedures.

An update on the RTRA Act review will also be included.

All sessions 9.30am to 12.30pm with morning tea included. Register online as per links below (next to location below), or email us name and email of attendees for us to register you manually to save the online booking fee). Scroll down to terms and conditions prior to making a booking.

Bundaberg – 26th May | Bundaberg Enterprise Centre | Register online here

Brisbane – 12th May | Kedron-Wavell RSL | Register online here                                                                                

Cairns – 20th May | Shangri-la Hotel | Register online here

Fraser Coast –27th May | Hervey Bay Coat Club | Register online here

Gladstone – 4th June | Yaralla Sports Club | Register online here

Gold Coast – 14th May | Parkwood Golf Club | Register online here

Ipswich – 2nd June | Brothers Club Raceview | Register online here

Mackay – 22nd May | Ocean International Hotel | Register online here

Rockhampton – 3rd June | Rockhampton Leagues Club | Register online here

Sunshine Coast – 28th May | Oaks Oasis, Caloundra | Register online here

Toowoomba –13th May | Clive Berghofer Stadium | Register online here

Townsville – 21st May | Oaks Metropole Hotel | Register online here

Another half day event will be scheduled and will be released in due course.

Terms and conditions of events - Please read here,  or email us prior to booking.

 

Tips for growing the rent roll

The following information has been sourced from the PME manual (part of the PME system).

PME manual Chapter 2 - Paragraph 2.2 Recommended tasks to carry out to grow the rent roll – working with the sales team. Suggestions below with the consent of the licensee.

 

  • Carry out written rental appraisals for all current sales listings (and all future listings). The aim of the agency is to generally sell the property however, renting is another option for the client if the property is not selling for many reasons. The main reason to carry out a rental appraisal is in the event the future buyer is an investor, the rental appraisal is ready immediately.
  • Attend sales meeting for ten minutes each meeting to receive any leads and share information and generally discuss market conditions.
  • Attend sales open homes where able and work with the sales team to promote the property management business.
  • Ensure sales open home and sales marketing information includes brochures and marketing about the property management department.
  • “Work” with the sales team and encourage open communication and team work.
  • Ensure a lead generation system from the sales team is implemented and maintained in the office.

Contact all current residential sales listing sellers, with the permission of the licensee (plus implement a system to ensure that all future listings also receive an appraisal).

More scripts, tips and information for growing the rent roll can be found at folder/chapter 2 of the PME manual (part of the PME system)

Landlord fined $2000 for illegal entry and quiet enjoyment breaches

Sourced from www.rta.qld.gov.au 26th September 2019

Real Estate Excellence members;  please email us  for best practice support on this matter, or any other matter. For more information regarding RTA investigations, click here or visit www.rta.qld.gov.au

Landlord fined $2000 after RTA probe uncovers illegal entry offences

 

A Brisbane landlord has been fined $2,000 after a Residential Tenancies Authority (RTA) investigation found he flouted Queensland’s tenancy laws by repeatedly entering his tenants’ home illegally, and interfering with their peace, comfort and privacy.

Mark Petroff, who owns four rental properties including one at Fenton Street, Fairfield, inserted a special clause into the Fenton St lease which he claimed gave “perpetual notice” for him to enter the tenants’ home whenever he wanted.

He pleaded guilty at Holland Park Magistrates Court to four counts of unlawful entry and one count of interfering with reasonable peace, comfort or privacy under the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008  (RTRA Act). No conviction was recorded.

RTA Acting Chief Executive Officer Juliet McKenzie said the RTRA Act sets out clear requirements about entry notices for landlords and property managers.

“The rules of entry are implied in every tenancy agreement and special clauses that suggest otherwise and conflict with the RTRA Act are null and void,” said Ms McKenzie.

“Ignorance of the law is no excuse and this sentencing shows our courts take tenancy law offences seriously.”

For most of the tenancy, which ran between 2013 and 2017, the tenants believed the special clause allowed Mr Petroff access to the yard to carry out maintenance. He also parked his car on the property when he went to work.

Between October 2017 and March 2018 Mr Petroff entered the property on a near-daily basis to undertake painting and other general work.

On several occasions the tenants arrived home to find him there unannounced, and on one Sunday morning in April 2018, one of the tenants only discovered that Mr Petroff was on the rear balcony of the property after she walked out of the shower.

The tenants contacted the RTA in April 2018 and were informed that any special terms conflicting with the RTRA Act was void, but when they passed this information to Mr Petroff, he told them he would continue to undertake work in the yard and downstairs area.

He told the tenants: “Unrestricted access means exactly that, ‘unrestricted access’…”

Magistrate Simon Young noted the instance of the tenant seeing Mr Petroff on the back deck “unannounced and unexpected” would have been particularly confronting for her.

He told Mr Petroff: “It did not put you in a particularly good light that you wanted to impose your will on tenants who otherwise had rights protected by law, and when you were challenged about it, you overrode their concerns.

Fining Mr Petroff $2,000, Magistrate Young noted: “The example that is made of you here today must serve as a warning to other landlords about how they conduct themselves around tenants.”

Entry condition report - agency fined

Sourced from www.rta.qld.gov.au 24th September 2019

Property Management Excellence (PME)  system member offices; refer to PME manual chapter 6, paragraph 6.4 for best practice and legislation advice regarding the entry condition report. Real Estate Excellence members;  please email us  for best practice support on this matter, or any other matter. For more information regarding RTA investigations, click here or visit www.rta.qld.gov.au 

Agent fined over ‘predatorial’ behaviour towards tenants

A Brisbane real estate agency has been fined after preventing a tenant from moving into their new rental home, despite them having signed the lease and paid the rental bond plus two weeks’ rent in advance.

Ray White Annerley was prosecuted by the Residential Tenancies Authority (RTA) after they refused to hand over keys to a Fairfield rental property until the new tenant signed an Entry condition report without viewing the property first.

The Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008 (RTRA Act) prescribes that the owner/manager must complete, sign and give a tenant a copy of the completed Entry condition report at the start of a tenancy, after which the tenant has 3 days to sign, mark up and return it.

RTA Chief Executive Officer Jennifer Smith said it was essential for all parties to follow the correct process as set out in the tenancy legislation.

“The Entry condition report is designed to protect a tenant from unsubstantiated claims on the bond at the end of a tenancy, and to support a property manager/owner’s claim for compensation if the property is damaged by the tenant,” said Ms Smith.

“A property owner or agent has no right to force a tenant to complete an Entry condition report prior to viewing the property, or to prevent them from accessing their home.

“Where the RTA uncovers these types of offences we will take action.”

In this case, Ray White Annerley told the tenant it was “office policy” to have two Entry condition reports – one of which needed to be signed immediately by the tenant before they could receive the keys. Office staff told the tenant they would keep this report on file in case the tenant failed to return the second report.

When the tenant advised he would not sign the Entry condition report without first viewing the property, Ray White Annerley refused on multiple occasions to give him the keys to his new rental home. He did not receive the keys until the following day, after signing the report as demanded by Ray White Annerley.

The agency pleaded guilty at Brisbane Magistrate’s Court to interfering with the tenant’s reasonable peace, comfort and privacy in using the rental premises by refusing to allow them access to their new rental home, in contravention of section 183(2) of the RTRA Act.

Magistrate Jacqui Payne said Ray White Annerley’s policy to have a tenant sign every single page of an entry condition report prior to viewing the rental property “would be of overwhelming concern to a potential tenant”.

Magistrate Payne noted the concept seemed “particularly predatorial” where an agent should be endeavouring to protect customers’ rights.

Ray White Annerley was fined $1300.