Natural disasters

Cyclones, severe storms, bushfires and other natural disasters can cause major damage to a rental property. Know your options and the next steps for your tenancy if your rental property is damaged or destroyed during a natural disaster.  

Queensland floods 2022 

The RTA has created two guides to support tenants and property managers/owners affected by the 2022 flooding: 

Find out more about State and Federal Government financial support for tenants and property managers/owners affected by the 2022 floods using the links below: 

If you’re a property manager, the REIQ Disaster and Flood Relief Toolkit is also a useful flood recovery resource. 

Please read on for general information about the rights and responsibilities of tenants and property manager/owners following a natural disaster and to download the RTA’s natural disaster factsheet.

Repairs and cleaning after a natural disaster

After a natural disaster, property managers/owners and tenants should talk to each other as soon as possible to discuss the state of the property and work out if any action needs to be taken.

The property manager/owner is responsible for any maintenance and repairs needed to bring the property back to a liveable condition (including fences, gardens and pools). These repairs need to comply with health and safety laws.

The tenant is responsible for removing or cleaning their possessions.

It is usually the property manager/owner’s responsibility to organise and pay for repairs of the rental property. They should negotiate with the tenant to find a suitable time for the repairs to be done, entry rules apply.

Natural disasters fact sheet

Download the natural disasters fact sheet for important information including tenancy rules, what to do if the property is unliveable, fixing repairs, bond refunds, and more.

You can also watch our free Natural disasters and storm season webinar for information about:

  • tenancy rules and natural disasters
  • what to do when rental properties become unliveable
  • an overview of the support provided by the State Emergency Service (SES) in natural disasters.

Natural disasters fact sheet

A tenancy agreement does not automatically end as a result of a natural disaster (e.g. flooding, cyclone, bushfire), even if the property is damaged or non-liveable.

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Ending a tenancy after a natural disaster

A tenancy does not automatically end when a property becomes unliveable after a natural disaster. A tenancy agreement will only end if one of the following occurs:

  • the property manager/owner and tenant mutually agree in writing
  • the tenant gives the property manager/owner a Notice of intention to leave (Form 13), or Resident leaving form (Form R13) for rooming accommodation, on the grounds of non-liveability 
  • the property manager/owner gives the tenant a Notice to leave (Form 12) or Notice to leave (Form R12) for rooming accommodation on the grounds of non-liveability, or 
  • QCAT makes an order. 

The Notice to leave or Notice of intention to leave, on the grounds of non-liveability, must be given within 1 month of the natural disaster.

Sometimes the tenant may feel it is better to stay in the property, even if it is damaged. This should be negotiated with the property manager/owner. Health and safety laws should be considered when making this decision.

If the tenant has been given a Notice to leave by the property manager/owner, and they believe the property is liveable and meets the health and safety requirements, they may lodge a request for dispute resolution via RTA Web Services or by submitting a Dispute resolution request (Form 16). Remember, the health and safety of a person residing in the property is priority.

The rental market can become competitive after a natural disaster but the rent cannot be increased outside the normal rules for rent increases.

The property owner or manager is not allowed to evict the tenant in favour of another tenant who will pay higher rent (penalties apply).

RTA services impacted by natural disasters

During a natural disaster, there may be postal service disruptions across Queensland. These disruptions can cause delays in processing Notices of claim and Notices of unresolved dispute, as well as bond refunds and lodgements. If an extension applies, we will contact you directly. You can also access useful contacts who may be able to assist during or after a natural disaster.

Important links 

In the event of a life-threatening emergency, please call Triple 0 (000). 

Disaster management 

Your local council will also provide up to date information relating to adverse weather and natural disasters in your area. Visit their website to access their disaster management page and to sign up for automated alerts. 

Other information and assistance 

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