Alistair Walsh | 8 November 2012

Queensland tenants with pets face higher rental bonds under mooted tenancy laws that follow WA’s lead

Queensland tenants with pets face higher rental bonds under mooted tenancy laws that follow WA’s lead

Pet-owners in Queensland could face higher rental bonds than regular tenants if options in a new discussion paper are passed.

If the option of one extra week's rent is passed it will join WA where pet owners can be slugged with an extra $260 in bond to pay for fumigation sometimes required when pets move out. The WA pet charge limit was upped from $100 in 2011.

The Queensland government has released a discussion paper on tenancy laws to review changes to legislation introduced in 2008.

The paper introduces many options to for review including increasing the bond required for tenants with pets, or tenants moving into houses that are fully furnished or have a swimming pool.

The discussion paper lists four main areas of concern – balancing stakeholder interests, streamlining service delivery, reducing red tape and technical and minor changes.

The review is not examining the procedures and practices of QCAT or public housing policies and procedures.

Some other options the paper looks at include:

  • Increasing deposits for fully furnished property and those with pools
  • Ensuring tenants have a fee-free way of paying rent
  • Outlawing key deposits
  • Increasing bond amounts for caravan tenants
  • Increasing the window agents have to inspect properties to three hours
  • Reducing frequency of inspections for long term tenants
  • Removing immediate eviction provisions for rooming accommodation providers
  • Ensuring lessors can only end a tenancy for specific grounds
  • Remove short term tenancies which currently allow tenancies without paperwork for up to 42 days for moveable dwellings.
  • Giving lessors permission to charge the full water consumption cost regardless of water efficiency of the property

Housing and Public Works Minister Bruce Flegg says the laws are due for a review.

“The last review of tenancy law was in 2006-07, which introduced some significant changes and it is now appropriate to consider how effectively those changes have worked,” Flegg says.

The Real Estate Institute of Queensland (REIQ) says it welcomes a review of tenancy laws by the state government but says the review it should be expanded.

REIQ chief executive Anton Kardash says the review could better streamline the residential tenancy transaction process.

“In a tenancy relationship it’s important both parties, namely the tenant and landlord, understand their rights and obligations and that these are fairly balanced,” he said.

“Additionally, we welcome the opportunity to clarify the responsibilities of a property manager which at times are onerous and poorly defined.

“It is disappointing to note however, that the review does not extend to the procedures and practices of the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT).

“The Institute, in consultation with its members, is aware of inefficiencies relating to QCAT procedures and inconsistencies in decision making and as such would encourage the State Government to widen the scope of the review.”

“We want to hear the views of tenants, landlords, agents, park managers and rooming accommodation providers on important issues that affect them and whether the options in the discussion paper will address these issues.

‘We need to ensure the Act is balanced and there are no legislative barriers to improved service delivery by the RTA.”

The 2013 deadline for submissions is January 2.


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