The Queensland Government has introduced changes to some COVID-19 arrangements for residential tenancies from 30 September 2020.
The amendments are designed to help the Queensland residential rental sector transition back to normal tenancy arrangements and processes under the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008.
Laws for tenants and property owners affected by COVID-19 were introduced on 24 April 2020. The changes from 30 September will continue until 31 December 2020. These changes affect all general tenancies and rooming accommodation, including social housing.
Read more about the laws at covid19.qld.gov.au/the-hub.
You can also access the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation (COVID-19 Emergency Response) Regulation 2020, Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation (COVID-19 Emergency Response) Amendment Regulation 2020, and the related explanatory notes.
Our role at the RTA is to administer the law, and to provide information and free support services to tenants, property owners and managers. We are impartial and independent and can help you understand your tenancy rights and obligations. We can also help you to negotiate an agreement through our free dispute resolution service.
For more information, call our 24/7 COVID hotline on 134 COVID (13 42 68). Or to speak with an RTA Customer Experience Officer, call 1300 366 311, Monday to Friday, 8.30am to 5pm.
What has changed from 30 September 2020
The six-month eviction moratorium, and measures implemented to support it, will cease to apply from 30 September 2020, including:
- fixed term agreement extensions for COVID-19 impacted tenants
- ending agreement provisions that prevent property owners ending tenancies with COVID-19 impacted tenants without grounds and provide additional grounds for parties to end tenancies (owner occupation and sale of premises which require vacant possession)
- adjusted rent and bond processes that support parties to negotiate arrangements to manage COVID-19 impacts on their tenancies
- mandatory conciliation of COVID-19 related tenancy disputes through the RTA.
What will continue until 31 December 2020
Other protections will continue to apply until 31 December 2020, including:
- provisions allowing tenants experiencing domestic and family violence to end their tenancies quickly
- protections for tenants against being listed in a tenancy database for rent arrears caused by COVID-19 impacts
- limits on reletting costs for eligible tenants who end their fixed term tenancies early
- short term tenancy statement extensions for moveable dwellings
- entry restrictions and requirements to support COVID-19 social distancing measures
- relaxed repair and maintenance obligations.
Voluntary RTA conciliation continues
Tenants, property owners and managers are encouraged to agree on solutions together.
If this is not possible, they may use the RTA’s conciliation service to help come to a workable agreement.
The RTA can assist with conciliation for the following COVID-19 issues:
- Rent variation
- Ending agreements
- Managing tenancies (e.g. entry, repairs and maintenance).
The parties will be able to apply to QCAT if conciliation is unsuccessful.
Tenants should continue to pay rent and meet their tenancy obligations.
Step 1 – Try to reach an agreement
Tenants, property owners and property managers should try to work together and negotiate any changes to a rental agreement first.
Step 2 – Apply for conciliation
If you can’t come to an agreement, you may choose to apply for RTA Dispute resolution. Learn more about the conciliation process.
The RTA will confirm your dispute resolution request as soon as possible, and then arrange a date and time for the conciliation to occur either via a teleconference or phone shuttle.
An RTA officer will:
- contact you from a private number
- notify parties that a dispute resolution request has been submitted
- assess the dispute resolution request
- determine the most suitable method for conciliation.
Step 3 - Prepare for conciliation
You’ll need to be prepared. It’s recommend you have copies of relevant documentation available to support the conciliation process. It is up to all parties to determine what documents they are comfortable sharing with each other to demonstrate their change in circumstances.
Step 4 – At conciliation
The RTA conciliator will open the discussion and invite each party to make an initial statement. They’ll acknowledge the statements, identify issues, encourage open discussion and explore the options.
If a decision is reached during conciliation, it will be formalised into a conciliation agreement that is binding. Parties may also be provided information through conciliation and then come to an agreement at a later date. It is important to ensure that any agreements reached are documented in writing for your records.
Step 5 – Go to QCAT if a resolution isn’t reached
If you are unable to reach agreement, you will be issued with a Notice of Unresolved Dispute to facilitate an application to QCAT for a formal decision.