Queensland landlords will no longer be allowed to refuse pets in rental properties without a reason deemed valid by the state government.
The Housing Legislation Amendment Bill has passed in Parliament after two days of debate.
The state government said the changes would modernise current laws for the 34 per cent of Queenslanders living in a rental property.
But the Real Estate Institute of Queensland said the bill could be “the final straw” for some investors and might prompt them to sell.
The bill, presented by Housing Minister Leeanne Enoch, brings in a raft of changes to Queensland rental laws, including protections for those experiencing domestic violence.
Under the bill:
- Tenants can have pets unless landlords provide a valid reason to refuse
- Tenants experiencing domestic violence can end a lease with just seven days’ notice
- No evictions without grounds evictions
- Added reasons for landlords and tenants to end tenancies
- Strengthening housing standards by fining landlords up to $6,850 if repairs aren’t completed
Pets in rentals
Tenants can now apply to have animals and landlords can only say no for a reason deemed valid by the government.
Some of those reasons include a lack of fencing or appropriate space for the pet, health and safety risks, or if the pet is likely to cause damage beyond repair.
If a landlord does not respond to a tenant’s request to have a pet on their property within 14 days, the tenant can assume the application has been approved.
Opposition housing spokesperson Tim Mander raised concerns about making it easier for renters to own pets, arguing landlords should not need a reason to refuse animals.
“We all know that animals cause damage and we all know that you can enter a house and know immediately that a dog’s been in this house or a cat’s been in this house because of the odour,” Mr Mander said.
“The landlord, the property owner, the lessor deserves to retain the right for that not to happen.”
DV protection added
The legislation gives tenants experiencing domestic violence (DV) the right to end a lease with a week’s notice.
They will also be able to change the locks on a property without consent from the landlord.
Mr Mander told Parliament the LNP “wholeheartedly support” the DV protection measures added in the bill.
Minimum housing standards
While landlords will not be allowed to end a tenancy without grounds, the bill adds a suite of new reasons tenancies can be terminated by either landlords or tenants.
Landlords can end a lease agreement if significant repair works need to be done, the property is subject to redevelopment, or if the owner or an immediate family member needs to move into the property.
The landlord must give tenants at least two months’ notice of termination and a tenancy cannot end before the lease is up without the tenant agreeing to it.
‘Swings the pendulum’
Renters have new reasons to leave a property, including if it is in disrepair and does not meet minimum housing standards.
Real Estate Institute of Queensland CEO Antonia Mercorella said while the bill is a vast improvement and represents a more balanced position on the tenancy reforms first proposed by the ALP, it still “swings the pendulum distinctly in favour of the tenant”.
“The REIQ welcomes the greater statutory clarification the bill provides in relation to minimum housing standards,” she said.
But she said some property owners would see the bill as “the final straw”.
“We will see some investors making the decision to sell.
“The ripple effect of this could see renters struggling to find suitable housing under already tight conditions.”
Source: Thanks msn.com