Compliance Corner with Simon Kinsey | November 2021

New Queensland Legislation Changes

Somehow its nearly December, which means that Christmas and New Year are not far away! This month I’ll be taking you through some changes in Queensland rental law and reminding you that as we are near the end of the year, there are significant changes to smoke alarm legislation as of 1st Jan 2022!

Over the past couple of years there have been legislation changes throughout the property industry in states including NSW and Victoria. These changes are aimed to offer more protection to the consumer.

It is now QLDs turn to roll out changes under the Housing Legislation Amendment Bill 2021. In late October the Bill was passed and became law, but not all changes will commence immediately. In fact most changes don’t have a commencement date as of yet.

A high level overview of these changes are outlined below along with when they are due to be rolled out:

1. Domestic and family violence protections – Commenced 20th October 2021
2. Framework for the negotiation for renting with pets – date yet to be set
3. Changes to approved reasons to end a tenancy – date yet to be set
4. Minimum housing standards – date yet to be set 
 
Domestic and family violence protections


As a result of the increase in the cases of domestic violence throughout the country, other state and territories have updated their legislation to provide victims of domestic violence greater rights and options to ensure their safety. The changes that have been rolled out provide tenants who are experiencing domestic violence the ability to end the tenancy, change locks without consent and minimise the associate costs for the tenant. In order for these protections to be given to the tenant, they must provide evidence of the domestic violence, in the form of a Domestic and family violence report, that is provided to the agent.

Renting with Pets


The changes that relate to negotiating renting with pets, changing approved reasons to end a tenancy and the minimum housing standards, are all aimed to provide more freedoms and protections for the tenant.


Giving the tenant more rights to keep pets and introducing prescribed reasonable grounds for refusing a request to keep a pet will make it more difficult for a property owner to refuse the tenant to have a pet. While this can be viewed as a negative for property owners, there is some upside. If a tenant is happy in their property, then they will be more likely to continue to rent that property. Allowing the tenant to keep a pet can mean that they may rent the property longer, which ultimately means that there is less risk of having the
property untenanted. If the tenant is allowed to keep the pet and it is a condition of the tenancy agreement that it is their responsibility to keep the property clean in regard to keeping the pet, this can be a win for both the tenant and property owner.

As with allowing the tenant to keep a pet can lead to a happier tenant, keeping the property in a good condition will also keep them happier and potentially stay longer.

Minimum housing standards

The minimum housing standards are designed to ensure that the property that the tenants live, meet a minimum set of standards. The standards will ensure the property is fit for habitation, and repair and maintenance obligations are adhered to – a well kept property can lead to a longer tenancy and also can reduce overall repair and maintenance costs over time as issues are resolved before they get out of hand and more costly.

As with the other changes to the legislation, minimum housing standards have already been introduced in other states and is a great step forward for the industry as it ensures properties are fit for habitation, which is a win for both the tenant and property owner.

Ending a Tenancy


Finally, there will be changes to the reasons for ending a tenancy. While this can make it more restrictive for property owners to end a tenancy without reasonable grounds, it will ensure that properties are being kept within the minimum housing standards. If properties are not being kept within the minimum housing standards, the tenant may have reason to end the tenancy. New grounds (reasons) for owners/managers to end tenancies will include the end of a fixed-term agreement, to undertake significant repair or renovations, change of use or sale or preparation for sale of the rental property requires vacant
possession. 


QLD Smoke Alarm Compliance 2022 - IMPORTANT


As everyone should now be aware, the smoke alarm legislation in QLD is changing as of 1st January, 2022.
We have been working with Smoke Alarms Australia to ensure that properties meet the new requirements. If you have a property in QLD, you would have received a number of emails from Smoke Alarms Australia alerting you to these changes and offering their services to upgrade your rental property so they meet
the minimum standards.


If you are not sure if your property is compliant, reach out to your CX Manager to confirm.

Or to get Smoke Alarms Australia to upgrade your rental property simply click the below link to get compliant with Smoke Alarms Australia:


Get Compliant Now


The changes to the smoke alarm legislation is as follows:


From 1 January 2022, at the commencement of a new lease or lease renewal, you must ensure your dwelling /unit meets the requirements of the domestic smoke alarm legislation. This may involve installing interconnected photoelectric smoke alarms into the bedrooms in addition to the currently required smoke
alarms.

All homes or units being sold or leased, or existing leases renewed, will require hardwired photoelectric, interconnected smoke alarms. Non-removable 10-year battery smoke alarms can be installed in place.

Smoke alarms in the dwelling must:


 Be photoelectric (AS3786-2014); and
 Not also contain an ionisation sensor; and
 Be hardwired to the mains power supply, if currently hardwired. Otherwise, smoke alarms can be either hardwired or powered by a
 Non removable 10 yr battery or a combination of both.
 Be interconnected with every other smoke alarm in the dwelling so all activate together.

The legislation requires smoke alarms must be installed in the following locations:
 
 on each storey
 in each bedroom
 if there is no hallway, between the bedroom and other parts of the storey; and
 if there are no bedrooms on a storey, at least one smoke alarm must be installed in the most likely path of travel to exit the dwelling.

If you are not compliant by the time your property is up for lease or your tenants renew their lease, and refuse to update your property to meet the compliance, then we will be unable to continue to manage your property.

Please work with us and our partner, Smoke Alarm Australia to get your property
compliant NOW so its not a rush when the property is up for lease renewal or on the market for rent.

Simon Kinsey 
Head of Compliance
Yabonza Smart Property Management
simon@yabonza.com

SiKinsey

 

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