Following on from the announcements made in relation to commercial tenancies, the Queensland Government has taken steps to enact similar provisions in the Residential Tenancies legislation. There are four elements to the recent announcement which aims to introduce rules to prevent evictions, compulsory conciliation for Tenants and Landlords in circumstances where a Tenant is unable to pay rent due to COVID-19, measures to ensure the safety and security of those who are at risk including those who are victims of domestic violence and also providing support to those in financial hardship.
Generally speaking there is a 6 month freeze on evictions where a Tenant is unable to pay rent due to a loss of income as a result of COVID-19. In addition, where a tenancy agreement expires during the 6 month freeze period leases must be extended for a further 6 months. This is not a new agreement but rather an extension of the existing tenancy agreement.
It is important to note though that evictions are not frozen for those Tenants who are in serious breach of the terms of their tenancy agreement such as by causing damage to a property or illegal activity. Further, it does not apply to those Tenants who were in arrears of rent prior to COVID-19. This means that in some circumstances you would still be able to evict a Tenant who has failed to comply with the terms of their tenancy agreement or who were in arrears of rent prior to 29 March 2020. You may also issue a notice to leave for an approved reason. Primarily this would extend to giving notice to vacate due to the sale of a property. However if a Tenant raises concerns about challenges they will face to comply with any notice to leave and an agreement cannot be reached between the parties, compulsory conciliation through the Residential Tenancies Authority will be required to resolve the issue.
If you are concerned in relation to your rights under the new residential tenancies legislation or would like to discuss options, please do not hesitate to contact our office 4153 0000 to speak with our dedicated team and to obtain further advice based on your circumstances.