Rental law changes - Ending tenancies

10 Oct 2022

In this episode, we’ll focus specifically on the tenancy law changes around ending a tenancy.

Transcript

Speakers: 

Host – Belinda Heit – Communication and Education – RTA  

Guest – Lynn Smith – Housing and Legislation Implementation – RTA 

Host: Welcome to the Talking Tenancies podcast. Brought to you by the Residential Tenancies Authority, I'm your host, Belinda Heit. Join me as we explore everything you need to know about renting in Queensland with experts from the RTA and industry. We're here to help make renting work for everyone.  

Queensland tenancy laws have changed from 1 October 2022, providing property managers, owners and tenants with a greater number of reasons to end a tenancy; the introduction of a framework for negotiating renting with pets; repair orders; as well as a few other amendments. 

In this episode, we’ll focus specifically on the tenancy law changes around ending a tenancy. Today's expert from the RTA is Lynn Smith, welcome Lynn. 

Guest: Thanks Belinda.

Host: Now, can you tell us about your role at the RTA?

Guest: I'm a Senior Community Education Officer at the RTA. I've worked in both areas of dispute resolution and also community education. I'm currently working with the project team that's responsible for implementing the tenancy law changes and to deliver relevant education and information on these new changes. We also work with our key stakeholders and, also provide information support for the rental sector through the changes. 

Host: Now as we know, Queensland tenancy laws have changed from 1 October 2022, and we are focusing on the changes around ending a tenancy today. Let's talk about the tenants first. What's different for them? 

Guest: Sure. Apart from the reasons they have prior to 1 October 2022, tenants now have four new reasons to end their tenancy. Now that's going to include: the property is not in good repair; the property owner has not complied with a repair order; a co-tenant has passed away; or it could be that they are no longer a student, which is the reason that only applies if they are a resident for student accommodation. 

In addition to these new reasons for ending a tenancy, tenants will have the ability to apply to the Tribunal for a termination order for misrepresentation, meaning if they have been given false or misleading information about the property or its inclusions by the property manager or the owner, and again, different timeframes for giving notice to end the tenancy for all these reasons do apply. 

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Host: Now you mentioned misrepresentation just now, Lynn, can you tell us what that is and walk us through the process around this? 

Guest: Absolutely. Misrepresentation is where the owner or the property manager has provided false or misleading information about the property condition or its inclusions, or it could be the services provided, or something that may affect the tenant’s quiet enjoyment of the property. If this has occurred, a tenant will be able to apply to the Tribunal to terminate the tenancy, but the application must be submitted within the first three months of the tenancy starting. 

Host: So can you give us an example of that? 

Guest: Sure. So, as an example, say the owner has agreed to install air conditioning in the property, say within the first few weeks of the tenant moving in and they have confirmed that in writing. The tenant then signs the agreement after getting the confirmation from the owner, expecting that the air conditioning will be installed within that time frame. 

If within the three months the air conditioning has not been installed, the tenant then can talk to the property manager or the owner first to get an update or try to reach an agreement, but if that doesn't work they can apply to the RTA's free dispute resolution service and may have the option to apply to the Tribunal to end the tenancy. 

Host: And as always, we recommend self-resolution first where possible, but we've talked about changes around ending a tenancy for tenants—so what's changing for property managers and owners? 

Guest: There have been two key changes for managers and owners around ending a tenancy. The first one is that the property owner or manager must specify a reason when ending a tenancy, because the ending of a tenancy without grounds, meaning that without giving a reason is no longer available. But all other existing reasons to end a periodic or fixed term tenancies such as not rectifying a breach, or non-liveability, or non-compliance with the tribunal order, still remain in place. 

The second one is that, just like tenants, property managers and owners have new additional reasons they can provide to end a tenancy, so one of those new reasons is that the fixed term tenancy is ending or expiring. 

Host: What are the other new reasons? 

Guest: So other new reasons available from 1 October include: that significant repairs or renovations are being done to the rental property; there are planned demolition or redevelopment; there is also a change in how the properties to be used—so for this one it could be that the property will be turned into a holiday let instead of a long-term rental. It could be that the owner or their relative is moving into the rental property; the property is required for a state government programme; and for providers of student accommodation, if the tenant is no longer a student. 

Host: So what else should we be aware of relating to rental law changes on ending tenancies? 

Guest: So do keep in mind that notices to end a tenancy need to be in writing, and you can find the appropriate forms of this on our website.  

With the expanded list of reasons, there are still minimum notice periods that you must provide when ending a tenancy, and again it depends on the reason that is given. More importantly, tenants, property owners and managers can still negotiate to end tenancy through mutual agreement. So if the tenancy is ended by way of mutual agreement, again, make sure that you have this agreement in writing. 

For the list of reasons available to end a tenancy under the new laws, you can check out our ending a tenancy factsheet available on the RTA’s website, there's one for tenants and residents, and also one for property managers and owners

Host: So, where can we find more information on the rental law changes around ending tenancies? 

Guest: There's a range of information and resources on our website to help everybody understand their new rights and responsibilities. We do have a short animated video that walks you through the changes, as well as a webinar, some quick guides with more details to help you understand the changes. Our website has also been updated with the new information and also new forms since 1 October 2022. 

Host: There is so much information on our website, jump onto rta.qld.gov.au for more information.  

Thanks Lynn for helping us to get a greater understanding of what the changes to Queensland tenancy laws are around ending a tenancy. 

Thank you for listening to the Talking Tenancies podcast. For more information about the Residential Tenancies Authority, visit rta.qld.gov.au. 

Original publication on 10 Oct 2022
Last updated on 10 Oct 2022

Note: While the RTA makes every reasonable effort to ensure that information on this website is accurate at the time of publication, changes in circumstances after publication may impact on the accuracy of material. This disclaimer is in addition to and does not limit the application of the Residential Tenancies Authority website disclaimer.

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