17 Dec 2019

Rent reforms will lead to a backlog of claims

Media Release

Queensland and Victoria’s proposed rent reforms will see tenancy disputes escalate under recommended new laws likely to sweep the country, according to the Real Estate Buyers Agents Association (REBAA).

REBAA president Cate Bakos said landlords and investors needed to be properly informed about potential changes affecting residential tenancies, particularly in Queensland and Victoria.

Currently public consultation is underway in both Queensland and Victoria on rent reforms which are expected to be implemented in 2020.

Ms Bakos said many of the proposed new laws were open to interpretation making it harder for tenants and landlords to navigate and more ‘shades of grey’ for property managers.

She said the references to ‘prescribed minor modifications’; ‘significant repair and renovations’; and ‘reasonable pets’ were too subjective.

“These terms are too loose and what may be considered sensible for one person can be alarming to another,” said Ms Bakos.

“For instance, an asthmatic landlord who doesn’t want pets in a property they may choose to one day inhabit could struggle with this law.

“Likewise, an installation in the house may be deemed suitable to the tenant but could cause irreparable damage for the landlord.”

She said while some of the proposed legislative changes were positive and offered increased safety and protection for tenants and property managers alike, there still needed to be more clarity around the proposed reforms.

“Another significant proposed change relates to the abolition of the 120-day ‘no reason notice to vacate’ in Victoria and the abolition of the ‘without grounds notice to leave’ in Queensland,” said Ms Bakos.

“While we recognise that tenants deserve a stable home and a fair deal, we do question the appropriateness of an agreement that leaves one party in position where they are bound while the other party has more discretion.

“The danger is that the rules are too subjective, leaving uncertainty for tenants and landlords, when the only clear parameters need to be determined by an independent third party in a tribunal hearing.”