There’s a mood for change in Queensland. The new state government is moving quickly with its restructuring and plenty of legislation is being revisited. For better and worse. So we want property investors to tell us what should be changed to help you.
The current tenancy act was adopted in 2008 but was largely seen by landlords as a photocopy of the 1994 legislation, with further concessions to tenants and watering down of investors’ rights.
If this new government is prepared to rewrite the act what would you like changed? Here’s some thought-starters:
Currently there’s mandated maximum bonds of 28 days rent. If a tenant stops paying rent the arrears and eviction process cannot be done in this timeframe, so a landlord will always come out behind. Most tenants do the right thing (we’re told only 2% of tenancies end with a dispute) but why couldn’t the arrears notice periods be changed, or the bond amount be negotiable between the parties? A landlord could say – You don’t have a strong rental reference, no problem, just pay 6 weeks bond and we’ll give you a go.
Pets are a controversial topic and the law right now is stopping more tenants from being able to have one. If a landlord is okay with a pet being kept provided there’s a higher bond paid, why should the law prevent the tenant from doing so? This current act is over-prescriptive in so many ways.
By the way the usefulness of tenant default databases is slowly being watered down by government (although the new state government has paused a current proposal). These used to be a valuable tool for agents to check if a tenant had a history we needed to know about, but there’s now tight time-frames that previous defaults can be left on them and only limited events are ever recorded. Balance and fairness is needed but where this increases a landlord’s risk, it’s inevitable they need a return to compensate and that will come at a cost to tenants.
Tenants’ advocates argue Notice to Leave periods shouldn’t be equal because tenants need 2 months lead time to find a new place. But why is it fair that the landlord can be given 14 days notice by the tenant? It’s scarcely enough time to get the place readvertised and the hunt for a new tenant underway. Landlords usually have a bank manager as master, who isn’t patient with late payments. Wouldn’t one month’s notice from either side be fairer?
We’re real estate agents, paid by landlords to manage their properties. But in our office we have team members as both tenants and property investors, so we can see the world from all perspectives. We’d argue there’s plenty of important protections for tenants in the current laws. But we also need to recognise that investors are not rushing back to property in any big numbers and if we don’t provide a balanced legal framework there will be less supply of rental homes available.
Please give us your comments – we’d love to hear what you’d like changed?