Longer inspection times, bigger bonds for caravan residents and pet owners and giving lessors the power to charge the full cost of water consumption regardless of a property's water efficiency are among initiatives raised by a government discussion paper on tenancy laws.
Released by state Housing and Public Works Minister Bruce Flegg this week, the paper is designed to encourage debate within the sector before submissions to the review of the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008, due in January.
“The last review of tenancy law was in 2006-07, which introduced some significant changes and it is now appropriate to consider how effectively those changes have worked,” Dr Flegg said.
“We want to hear the views of tenants, landlords, agents, park managers and rooming accommodation providers on important issues that affect them and whether the options in the discussion paper will address these issues.”
In response, Real Estate Institute of Queensland chief executive Anton Kardash said the review would provide an “ideal opportunity” to make the Queensland rental market more balanced and streamlined.
Mr Kardash said almost a third of properties in the state were rented occupied private dwellings, and that it was important tenants and landlords had a strong understanding of their rights and obligations.
“Additionally, we welcome the opportunity to clarify the responsibilities of a property manager, which at times are onerous and poorly defined,” he said.
The discussion paper outlines several options to be considered as part of the review, under the categories “stakeholder interests”, “streamlining service delivery” and “reducing red tape”.
Key options raised in regard to stakeholder interests include prohibiting the taking of any money before tenancy agreements are signed, raising the maximum rental bonds charged at caravan parks from two weeks to four, and allowing the lessor to pass on the full cost of water consumption charges for individually metered premises, regardless of whether the premises are water efficient.
There is also the option to allow for higher bonds to be charged by owners of fully furnished properties or premises with pools, of if the lessee has a pet.
To find out more information or to make a submission, visit www.rta.qld.gov.au.