Queensland tenancy law - tenant right to make minor modifications to rental property

November 17, 2019 - author Stacey Holt

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 tenant right to make 'minor modifications' to a rental property. Again, there is no need to make further legislation given this matter is already covered in the RTRA Act as outlined in the current provisions below. Listen to podcast on this matter here.

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.

Anyone reading this blog are welcome to 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 right for tenants to make minor alterations to a rental property, click here.

My submission to Government during the 2018 review is below. Copied from my blog here.

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