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Tenancy databases laws given green light

Apr 2016

The Queensland Government has adopted changes to tenancy database laws to give greater protections for tenants while maintaining property owners’ right to protect their investment.

The amendments were passed as part of the Plumbing and Drainage and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2015 in state Parliament on Thursday 18 March 2016.

RTA CEO Darren Barlow said Queensland led the way with tenancy database laws which are now adopted nationally.

"Tenancy databases are legitimate tools used by property owners as an extra line of defence to protect their investment," Mr Barlow said.

"However, unfair and old listings can disadvantage tenants in trying to secure private housing. These amendments strengthen existing laws to ensure that we get the balance right and make renting work for everyone in Queensland."

Some key changes include limiting the time a listing can be kept on a database to 3 years, requiring property managers and owners to disclose to prospective tenants if they are listed on a database, how they can obtain the details of the listing and how to have the information amended or removed if they disagree with it.

Queensland will now be in line with uniform laws on tenancy databases across Australia.

The amendments around tenancy databases will commence on 1 July 2016. The RTA will ensure the sector is informed about the changes. Check the RTA website in the coming weeks for updates on when changes commence and for materials to help inform your clients about the changes.

What this means for tenants

  • Limiting the time a listing can be kept on a database to 3 years.
  • Requiring property agents and owners to disclose which databases they use to check the rental history of prospective tenants. 
  • Disclosing to the prospective tenant:
    • that they are listed on a tenancy database
    • how they can obtain a copy of the listing
    • how to have the information amended or removed if they disagree with it 
  • On request by the tenant, the property manager or owner who made the listing is to provide a copy of the listing (a reasonable fee may be charged for providing a request).
  • Protecting victims of domestic and family violence by allowing the Tribunal to order that the personal information of victims is not listed on tenancy databases where the breach of the tenancy agreement is due to the actions of their partner. However the perpetrator of violence can be listed (as long as they are a co-tenant).
  • New safeguards to protect against listings on databases for relatively small amounts. This will only apply where no bond has been taken and is restricted to listings for amounts greater than 1 week’s rent.