COVID-19 Changes For Property Investors

The Queensland Government has tabled regulations to provide relief under Residential Tenancy Agreements both for the Covid-19 pandemic and also where a Tenant is experiencing domestic violence.

Both Buyers and Sellers will need to be aware of the new measures and the rapid and significant impact they may have on a conveyancing matter where the property is tenanted.

The Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation (Covid-19 Response) Regulation 2020 (Qld) provides the following relief for Tenants:-

  1. A moratorium on Landlords evicting Tenants who have suffered “excessive hardship because of the Covid-19 emergency” for failure to pay rent from March 29th, 2020 during Covid-19 emergency period.
  2.  A moratorium on Landlords giving a Notice to Leave Without Grounds for Tenants who have suffered “excessive hardship because of the Covid-19 emergency”.
  3. An obligation on Landlords to offer an extension to Tenants who have suffered “excessive hardship because of the Covid-19 emergency” to continue expiring tenancies until at least 30 September 2020 on the same terms and conditions.
  4. A process for the parties to negotiate tenancy variations and payment plans for rent, including a conciliation through the Residential Tenancies Authority.
  5. A cap on the re-letting costs that a Landlord can claim from a Tenant in some circumstances; and
  6. Limitation of the Landlord’s powers to enter and inspect the premises.

For Landlords, the same Regulation provides the following Covid-19 related changes:-

  1. Suspension of some repair and maintenance obligations where premises cannot be entered because of Covid-19;
  2. Amended rights to terminate Tenancy Agreements where the premises are to be sold or are needed for occupation by the Landlord or their immediate family; and
  3. A requirement for mandatory conciliation before a Tenant can seek QCAT Orders terminating a residency tenancy on the basis of excessive hardship.

The Regulation also provides greater rights for Tenants at risk of domestic violence including the right to exit a Tenancy Agreement if they can no longer safely occupy the premises because of domestic violence.

This article was written by David Madsen, LLB, Acc. Spec. (Fam.)

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