QLD Introduces Housing Legislation Amendment Bill 2021

Friday 25 June 2021 @ 3.01 p.m. | Legal Research

On 18 June 2021, the Housing Legislation Amendment Bill 2021 (Qld) (“the Bill”) was introduced to Queensland’s House of Assembly by Minister for Communities and Housing Leeanne Enoch MP ("the Minister").

The Bill was then immediately referred to the Community Support and Services Committee for consideration.

The Bill seeks to amend the following Qld legislation:

  • Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008 (Qld)
  • Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation (COVID-19 Emergency Response) Regulation 2020 (Qld)
  • Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Regulation 2009 (Qld)
  • Retirement Villages Act 1999 (Qld)

About the Bill

As outlined in the Bill’s Explanatory Notes (“the EN”), the object of the Bill is to implement key objectives of the Queensland Housing Strategy 2017-2027 (“the Strategy”).

The EN elaborates, that the Strategy is:

“… a 10-year framework driving key reforms and targeted investment across the housing continuum. The Housing Strategy seeks to ensure Queenslanders have access to safe, secure, and affordable housing. The Housing Strategy aims to ensure confidence in housing markets, ensure consumers are protected and the housing legislative framework is reformed and modernised”.

The Key Objectives

As outlined in the EN, the Bill seeks to deliver on a number of key objectives, including:

  • "Modernisation - a commitment to reviewing and modernising rental laws to better protect tenants and lessors and improve housing stability in the rental market.
  • Connections - ensuring that vulnerable community members are supported to sustain tenancies in appropriate and secure housing that facilitates social, economic, and cultural participation.
  • Confidence - supporting a fair and responsive housing system through reforms to legislation and regulations that enhance the safety and dignity of all Queenslanders and promote the provision of a range of housing options that meet the diverse needs of Queenslanders."

Overview of the Amendments

The Bill proposes extensive amendments to the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008 (Qld). The main objectives of these amendments include:

  • enabling tenants and residents to better enforce their existing rights;
  • amending the ability of lessors and providers to end tenancies without any grounds;
  • providing additional reasons for both parties to end a tenancy;
  • prescribing minimum housing standards to ensure safety, security and functionality of rental properties;
  • introducing new compliance mechanisms in order to enhance the enforcement of minimum housing standards;
  • strengthening rental law protections for individuals experiencing domestic and family violence; and
  • better supporting individuals that seek to rent with pets.

The Bill also seeks to amend the Retirement Villages Act 1999 (Qld) ("the 1999 Act"). These amendments seek to create a new framework that would exempt freehold resident operated retirement villages from the mandatory buyback requirements under the 1999 Act. These amendments ultimately seek to provide certainty, security and peace of mind to these residents.

The EN explains that the object of the proposed amendments to the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008 (Qld) and Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Regulation 2009 (Qld) seeks to:

“… support tenants and residents to find a safe and stable home in rental accommodation, while protecting the investments of the many lessors who contribute much needed supply to the housing market. The reform package will enhance certainty by better assigning and clarifying risks for all parties in the rental sector covered by general tenancy, moveable dwellings, or rooming accommodation agreements”.

Comment and Reaction to the Bill

Commenting on the Bill in a Media Release, the Minister said:

“The new laws provide a strong, balanced approach that protects the rights of renters and lessors, while improving stability in the rental market … The new laws will ensure all Queensland rental properties meet minimum quality standards, will provide clarity about the end of a tenancy, and will make it easier for renters to have a pet.”

Real Estate Institute of Queensland CEO Antonia Mercorella was also quoted in the Media Release saying that the Government had consulted extensively with various stakeholders. Ms Mercorella said:

“We recognise that tenancy laws in Queensland must be modernised to keep pace with our changing rental landscape. In circumstances where 36% of our community rent their homes, the right regulatory framework is critically important to provide security and certainty to both tenants and owners.”

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