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
The online survey can be found at www.getinvolved.qld.gov.au or you can email firstname.lastname@example.org or share your thoughts on social media using the hashtag #rentinginqld.