Wed. Oct 27th, 2021

Queensland landlords are no longer allowed to refuse pets in rental housing without a reason deemed valid by the state government.

The bill on housing legislation has been passed in parliament after two days of debate.

The state government said the changes would modernize existing laws for the 34 percent of Queenslanders living in a rental property.

But the Real Estate Institute of Queensland said the bill could be “the last straw” for some investors and perhaps get them to sell.

The bill, introduced by Home Secretary Leeanne Enoch, entails a number of changes to Queensland tenancy laws, including the protection of those experiencing domestic violence.

According to the bill:

  • Renters can have pets unless landlords state a valid reason for refusing
  • Tenants who experience domestic violence can terminate a lease with only seven days notice
  • No evictions without justification evictions
  • Added reasons why landlords and tenants terminate leases
  • Strengthening housing standards by fining owners up to $ 6,850 if repairs are not completed

Pets for rent

Tenants can now apply for animals, and landlords can only say no for a reason that the government considers valid.

Some of these reasons include lack of fencing or adequate space for the pet, health and safety risks, or if the pet is likely to cause damage without repair.

A small dog is lying in the grass
The bill means Queensland landlords cannot reject a tenant’s request to have a pet for no good reason.(ABC News: Kristian Silva)

If a landlord does not respond to a tenant’s request to have a pet on their property within 14 days, the tenant may assume that the application has been approved.

Opposition housing spokesman Tim Mander raised concerns about making it easier for tenants to own pets, arguing that landlords should not need a reason to refuse animals.

“We all know that animals cause harm and we all know that you can enter a house and immediately know that a dog has been in this house or a cat has been in this house because of the smell,” he said. Mr. Mander.

“Landlord, the property, the owner, landlord deserves to retain the right that it does not happen.”

DV protection added

The legislation gives tenants who experience domestic violence (DV) the right to terminate a lease with one week’s notice.

They will also be able to change locks on a property without permission from the landlord.

Sir. Mander told Parliament that the LNP “wholeheartedly” supports the DV protection measures added to the bill.

Minimum housing standards

Worn bathroom in Lamb House at Kangaroo Point
Tenants have the right to terminate a lease if a property is in default.(ABC News: Jessica Rendall)

Although landlords are not allowed to terminate a lease for no reason, the bill adds a number of new reasons why leases can be terminated by either landlords or tenants.

Landlords can terminate a rental agreement if significant repair work is to be carried out, the property is under renovation, or if the owner or a close family member needs to move into the property.

The landlord must give tenants at least two months’ notice, and the lease can not be terminated until the lease has been terminated without the tenant accepting it.

‘Swinging pendulum’

Tenants have new reasons to leave a property, including if it is in disrepair and does not meet minimum housing standards.

The director of the Real Estate Institute of Queensland, Antonia Mercorella, said that although the bill is a huge improvement and represents a more balanced approach to the tenancy reforms first proposed by the ALP, it still swings “the pendulum clearly in favor of the tenant”.

“REIQ welcomes the greater statutory clarification that the bill provides in relation to minimum housing standards,” she said.

But she said some property owners would see the bill as “the last straw”.

“We will see some investors make the decision to sell.

“The ripple effect of this could cause tenants to struggle to find suitable housing under already tight conditions.”

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