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DESIGN & STYLE

These Potential Rental Reforms Could Make it Slightly Less Painful to Rent a Home in Brisbane

Hanging a picture on your wall or welcoming a pet into your home might soon become much easier.
By Sarah Ward
December 09, 2018
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These Potential Rental Reforms Could Make it Slightly Less Painful to Rent a Home in Brisbane

Hanging a picture on your wall or welcoming a pet into your home might soon become much easier.
By Sarah Ward
December 09, 2018
  shares

For many folks, renting is one of life's unpleasant necessities, and it comes with plenty of grief. If you've ever been forced to beg your landlord to fix faulty lighting (you know, so you can see at night and just generally live in a safe environment), then you'll understand. But in good news, the Queensland Government looks set to shake up the state's tenancy laws.

After a nine-week tenancy legislation review — the first step in the first major examination of existing laws since the 70s — the government has announced the key findings from more than 130,000 responses. Given that 34 percent of Queensland households are rentals, the main points shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone.

Pets and making minor changes were hot topics, as everyone who has ever rented would expect. From those surveyed, many tenants reported that it was difficult to find a property that accepted four-legged creatures. Many also said that they'd like to be able to hang pictures or affix their furniture to the wall without it being a huge hassle. From the landlords' perspective, they'd like to approve changes to their properties, make sure any modifications were safe, and have their houses returned to their original condition when a tenant leaves.

Another frequent issue of contention, rental bonds, inspired a range of answers. Tenants would like to transfer bonds from one place to the next if they move, while owners flagged that bonds weren't always sufficient to cover rental arrears, or if a tenant damages a property but won't pay for it.

On the issue of wear and tear, folks living in rentals asked for expectations to be clarified around what's fair, and also around the standard of cleaning required when they vacate the premises. The situation where a tenant receives clear quarterly inspections, only to be penalised — and lose their bond — for wear and tear when they move out, was also raised.

Regarding applications, renters requested standardised and simplified forms, and suggested that supplying bank statements as part of the process was an invasion of privacy. Payment processing fees, ranging between 60 cents and $5 whenever someone pays their rent, were also mentioned.

Overall, half of respondents stated that existing rules seemed weighted in landlords' favour, compared to just under a quarter who thought the opposite. And nearly 87.6 percent of participants thought that the quality of their rental property was good or excellent.

Other than continuing to analyse the feedback, the exact next steps haven't been revealed, and nor has a timeline for implementing changes. That said, reviewing the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008 and looking at legislative amendments is the overall aim. Earlier this year, the Victorian Government passed its own rental changes, which the Queensland Government notes in its statement. Many of the same matters are set to be enshrined into law down south, including no less than 100 reforms aiming to increase Victorian renters' rights and protect tenants in vulnerable positions.

Image kgbo via Wikicommons.

Published on December 09, 2018 by Sarah Ward

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