Smiling Hispanic family outside rental home
Smiling Hispanic family outside rental home

Clarity for renters and landlords

After a campaign from the Real Estate Institute of Queensland to clarify the terms of the no eviction moratorium in Queensland the state government has worked with the institute, renters and landlords and released a new practice guide on how to handle COVID-19 rental response in Queensland.

REIQ Zone Chair for Ipswich and Owner of Action Realty Ipswich Glenn Ball said that the new practice guide would provide more concrete information for tenants and landlords.

“Since the initial notice, we have finally had some clarity and we know what we need to do,” he said.

“Now we know the rights tenants have and the rights landlords have whereas it was a bit vague before.

“People put through letters to the premier and their local MP’s and it has had the effect of creating a really good outcome in the practice guide.”

The initial concern by many landlords was that people could potentially skip paying rent altogether, however, under the new practice guide that won’t be the case.

The new practice guide by the Queensland governments includes a threshold criteria to qualify for the COVID-19 rental response. The rental response only applies to people that have had a 25 per cent reduction in income or where the rent exceeds 30 per cent of the tenant’s income.

The Residential Tenancies Practice Guide also provides detail on:

  • 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.

Minister for Housing and Public Works Mick 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,” he said.

“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.

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