Covid-19 Update - Landlords to Fear QLD's Proposal for Residential Tenancies

Covid-19 Update - Landlords to Fear QLD's Proposal for Residential Tenancies
Posted on 20 Apr 2020

Last week the Queensland Government announced a proposed package of Covid-19 protections for the Queensland residential tenancies market to minimise unnecessary movements within the community.

A link to the statement can be found here:   

http://statements.qld.gov.au/Statement/2020/4/9/special-covid19-protections-for-residential-tenants-and-owners

The purpose of the proposed package is to lessen the hardship being faced by tenants in Queensland and encourage landlords and tenants to reach an agreement and, if they cannot, a compulsory conciliation will be required through the Residential Tenancies Authority (RTA).

The RTA will have clear guidelines for renters and landlords to follow.

Summary of Proposals

  • Prevention of evictions for the next six (6) months;
  • Automatic extensions of tenancy agreements by six (6) months (if the tenancies expire during the six (6) month freeze on evictions);
  • Rent reductions – which may not require any proof as to the financial hardship of the tenant;
  • Protection for renters from accruing ‘crippling debt’ – once a rent reduction is negotiated between the tenant and the landlord, it is proposed to be a permeant rent wavier meaning that the landlord is not able to demand payment at a later date for the difference;
  • Improvement of safety and security for domestic and family violence victims;
  • Financial support for payment of rent for those suffering economic hardship;
  • No right of entry – tenants may refuse access to the landlord and do not have to participate in virtual property inspections. It is unclear whether prospective purchasers can inspect the property for sale; and
  • Tenants may break the lease with only seven (7) days’ notice.

Notably for landlords, the majority of terms of insurance policies will not cover rent reductions if it is by mutual agreement between the landlord and the tenant. As such, landlords’ insurances may not cover them for the reduction in rental income.

The proposed legislative changes are very much in favour of tenants and landlords are seeking a more balanced approach by opposing many of the proposals. As such, there may be significant changes to the proposed package which is due to go to Parliament and be finalised on 22 April 2020.

We will provide a further update as and when new information comes to light.

 

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E: info@croninmiller.com.au

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