REIQ says Overriding Rental Agreement Terms is Absurd

 

The Real Estate Institute of Queensland (REIQ) has expressed concerns over the State Government’s decision to treat rent control separately from stage two rental reforms without following a transparent legislative process as expected. The Deputy Premier announced that reform to limit rent increases to once a year will be implemented starting from July 1, 2023. However, the transitional arrangements will invalidate contractually agreed rent increases after this date.

REIQ CEO Antonia Mercorella finds this retrospective nature of the new laws absurd and questions their legality. She highlights the impact on property investors who had negotiated and planned for rent increases that are now being stripped away. Introducing rent control from a specific date is one thing, but retroactively creating laws that override previously agreed contractual arrangements is a different matter altogether.

In addition, as the second stage of rental law reforms is open for public consultation, the REIQ cautions the State Government against being heavy-handed. Mercorella emphasises that this reform should be seen in the context of previous extensive rental reforms and warns against underestimating the cumulative impact of these changes.

The constant stream of legislative interventions has gradually eroded property investor rights and confidence, with COVID-19 eviction moratoriums, stage one rental reforms, rent control measures, and the launch of stage two rental reforms.

Mercorella believes this approach is dangerous because it fails to recognise private investors’ vital role in providing housing for the 1.5 million people renting their homes in Queensland. With Queensland’s higher rental population, it is crucial to maintain adequate levels of property investment to address the housing needs of residents. If investors decide to sell or withdraw their properties from the rental market due to the erosion of their rights, the rental crisis in the state will worsen.

Mercorella emphasises the need to balance tenancy legislation and carefully avoid tipping the scales too far in favour of either party. Providing adequate protections for tenants is essential, while ensuring investors remain confident in investing in Queensland.

What is Rental Agreement in QLD

In Queensland, rental agreements are governed by the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008 (the Act) and regulated by the Residential Tenancies Authority (RTA). Rental agreements in QLD, also known as tenancy agreements, outline landlords’ and tenants’ rights and responsibilities in a residential property.

Key points regarding rental agreements in Queensland:

1. Types of Rental Agreements: The Act covers general tenancy agreements (for houses, units, townhouses) and rooming accommodation agreements (for boarding houses, shared accommodation, etc.). The type of agreement depends on the nature of the rental property.

2. Written Agreement: It is advisable to have a written rental agreement to make sure everything is understood. A written agreement ensures clarity and provides a reference for both parties. While oral contracts are legally binding, a written agreement is preferred.

3. Essential Terms: A rental agreement in Queensland should include crucial terms such as the names of the parties involved, property address, duration of the tenancy, rent amount and payment details, bond amount and lodgement, and any special terms or conditions agreed upon.

4. Bond: Landlords can request a bond, a security deposit paid by the tenant, to cover any potential damages or unpaid rent. The bond amount should be four weeks’ rent for a general tenancy agreement. The bond must be lodged with the RTA within ten days.

5. Rent Payment: The agreement should specify the rent amount, payment frequency (e.g., weekly, fortnightly), and acceptable payment methods. It is common for rent to be paid in advance.

6. Rights and Obligations: The rental agreement outlines the landlord’s and tenant’s rights and responsibilities. This includes maintenance and repair responsibilities, entry conditions for the landlord, and obligations related to cleanliness, noise, and proper use of the property in Mackay.

7. Changes to the Agreement: Any changes to the rental agreement should be agreed upon by both parties and documented in writing. Both the landlord and tenant should retain a copy of the amended agreement.

8. Termination: The Act specifies the grounds and procedures for terminating a tenancy agreement. It covers situations such as non-payment of rent, breach of agreement, or mutual agreement to end the tenancy. The notice periods required for termination differ depending on the circumstances.

9. Dispute Resolution: In the event of a dispute between the landlord and tenant, the RTA provides a dispute resolution service to help resolve conflicts through negotiation, conciliation, or tribunal hearings.

                         

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