The Housing Legislation Amendment Bill 2021 was last year passed by the Queensland Parliament and the changes cover a number of reforms to the existing legislation. Ending a tenancy has changed and it is important whether you are a tenant or a landlord that you are across the changes and what this will mean for you moving forward.
YOU CAN NO LONGER END A TENANCY WITHOUT GROUNDS
This provision exists to ensure that the property owner still preserves the right to end a tenancy after the culmination of a fixed term agreement. While the lessor no longer has the ability to end a tenancy without grounds, new grounds for termination have been established in this provision.
GROUNDS FOR ENDING A TENANCY:
– The fixed term agreement is ending
– The property is going to be sold
– The owner wants to move back into the property
– The property is going to be renovated
– The property is going to be developed
Note: The tenancy still needs to be coming to an end before these grounds can be used.
CHANGES TO PERIODIC TENANCIES
Property owners can no longer end a periodic tenancy by providing notice, without prescribed grounds. In other words, they won’t be able to terminate the tenancy. Tenants will however retain this right.
This is a retrograde step and will almost certainly result in the demise of periodic tenancies in Queensland. This reform will detrimentally impact tenants who are seeking maximum flexibility and would prefer not to commit to a fixed term tenancy.
ENDING FIXED TERM AGREEMENTS
Fixed term agreements can still be ended with at least two months’ notice however, a lessor will no longer be able to end a tenancy without grounds from 1 October 2022. Instead, if a lessor wishes to end a tenancy at the end of the agreed fixed term (and not renew), a Form 12 Notice to Leave must be given on the grounds that the tenancy is ending or on some other available grounds for ending a tenancy. If the Form 12 Notice to Leave is not given with the correct notice period (having regard to delivery times as well) then the fixed term agreement will automatically convert to a periodic tenancy at the end of the fixed term.
OTHER CHANGES TO ENDING TENANCIES
– If a Form 12 Notice to Leave is issued on grounds and the grounds are not complied with i.e., the property is not sold, developed or renovated there are hefty penalties and fines.
– There are new grounds for a tenant to end a tenancy within the first 3 months by applications to QCAT for false or misleading information given by a property manager or lessor about certain matters.
– Expansion of grounds for tenant’s right to issue a Form 13 Notice of Intention to Leave.
– New grounds for a lessor to make QCAT application to end tenancy.
New reasons for a tenant to end a tenancy and prescribed notice periods
The grounds for a tenant to issue a notice of intention to leave have now been expanded. Within the first 3 months of a tenancy, the tenant can now apply to QCAT for a termination order if the lessor or property manager gave the tenant false or misleading information about:
- the condition of the property or its inclusions; or
- the services provided for the property; or
- a matter relating to the property that is likely to affect the tenant’s quiet enjoyment of the property; or
- the tenancy agreement or any other document the lessor must give the tenant under the RTRA Act – such as body corporate by-laws; or
- the rights and obligations of the tenant or lessor under the RTRA Act.
The grounds for a tenant to issue a Form 13 Notice of Intention to Leave have also been expanded. Within the first 7 days of a tenancy, the tenant can issue a Form 13 Notice of Intention to Leave to the lessor because:
- the property is not fit for the tenant to live in; or
- the property and inclusions are not in good repair; or
- the lessor is in breach of a law dealing with issues about the health or safety of persons using or entering the property; or
- the property or inclusions do not comply with the prescribed Minimum Housing Standards which come into effect 1 September 2023 for new tenancies and 1 September 2024 for existing tenancies.
Please note the above is subject to change when the minimum housing standards come into effect from 1 September 2023.
New grounds for a lessor to end tenancies by making an application to QCAT
A non-urgent application can be made for a serious breach. This includes if lessor reasonably believes tenant or guest has:
- used the property for an illegal purpose (for example drug activity);
- intentionally or recklessly destroyed or damaged the property;
- endangered another person in the property; or
- significantly interfered with the reasonable peace, comfort, or privacy of another tenant by a tenant, occupant or guest.
The lessor may also make an urgent application to end a tenancy if there has been repeated breaches of by-laws or park rules by the tenant.
If you would like a detailed Guide breaking down all the new QLD Legislation reforms download a copy HERE.
For the new reforms relating to Pets in rental properties you can read the following blog article: Renting with Pets.