Landlord Rights and Obligations (Qld)
Landlord rights and obligations in Queensland are governed by the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008. This article describes rules that apply to a landlord at each stage of a tenancy.
Beginning of tenancy
If the landlord employs a real estate agent, the landlord must ensure the agent is licensed and understands their obligations. The two parties should have a formal agreement in place, governed by the Property Occupations Act 2014.
A prospective tenant can be asked to pay holding deposit, to reserve the property for a specific amount of time. If no time is agreed, the period is 48 hours. Only one holding deposit can be taken at a time. If a prospective tenant decides to rent the property, the holding deposit becomes part of the bond. If they choose not to rent, the holding deposit must be refunded within 3 days. The deposit may be retained if the prospective tenant fails to notify the landlord or agent within the agreed period that they will not proceed with the tenancy, or if the prospective tenant confirms they will proceed with a tenancy but then fails to enter into an agreement.
The rented property should be vacant, clean and in good repair. All floors should be clean and all rubbish should be removed from the premises. There must be nothing in the premises that causes any danger or injury or illness to the tenant. All locks should work properly and a key supplied for each lock. All appliances and equipment need to function and work as they should.
The premises must comply with any health and safety regulations of the local council, and state and federal governments. This includes having smoke alarms and an electrical safety switch in the premises.
The landlord must pay all charges, levies, premiums, rates and taxes for the property. They must also lodge all bond money with the Residential Tenancies Authority (RTA) within 10 days of receipt.
The tenant must be given the name and address of the landlord or of the agent managing the property. They should also be given a contact list for emergency repairs.
If the landlord plans to place the property on the market, this must not be done within the first 2 months of the tenancy, and if the property sells, the tenant can stay until the end of the fixed term agreement.
The tenant must be given:
- the proposed General Tenancy Agreement (Form 18a);
- a Pocket Guide for Tenants (Form 17a);
- a copy of any body corporate rules or by-laws
- a bond lodgement form (Form 2);
- an entry condition report (Form 1a);
- a periodic agreement if the tenant agrees to rent the property for an unspecified length of time.
The landlord or agent must keep a ledger of rent paid and retain it for one year after the tenancy has ended.
The landlord must respect the rights of the tenant to quiet enjoyment of the property. The landlord can enter the property, with an Entry Notice (Form 9) usually required to be issued to the tenant and appropriate notice given.
Other lawful purposes for entry include:
- to inspect the premises;
- for a follow-up inspection to ensure a significant breach (such as the use of the property for an illegal purpose, or keeping a pet without permission) has been resolved;
- to show the property to a potential buyer or tenant;
- to allow a valuation;
- in an emergency;
- by order of the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal.
Repairs are considered to be routine unless they are emergency repairs such as when there is a gas leak, flooding, or the failure or breakdown of an essential service such as hot water.
A landlord cannot charge for water usage unless the property is individually metered. The full cost of water consumption can be passed on to the tenant if the premises is individually metered and water-efficient, and the lease states the tenant must pay for water consumption.
If a tenant breaks any part of the tenancy agreement, a Notice To Remedy Breach (Form 11) can be issued to them, giving them 7 days to rectify the breach. If the breach is not rectified, a Notice to Leave (Form 12) can be issued, giving the tenant 14 days to leave the property for a general breach, or 7 days for failing to pay rent.
If the landlord breaks any part of the tenancy agreement, a Notice To Remedy Breach (Form 11) can be issued to them by the tenant. If the breach is not rectified within 7 days, a Notice of Intention to Leave (Form 13) can be issued by the tenant, giving the landlord at least 7 days’ notice to end the agreement. Alternatively, the tenant can engage the RTA’s dispute resolution service.
For repeated breaches, either party can apply to QCAT to have the tenancy agreement ended.
End of tenancy
A tenancy can be ended by either the landlord or the tenant in situations such as:
- when a fixed term agreement has ended;
- by mutual agreement;
- when there is a serious unremedied breach;
- when one party has not complied with a QCAT order;
- when the tenant has abandoned the property;
- when a mortgagee is to take possession of the property;
- when a sole tenant dies;
- when QCAT orders the agreement is ended.
An Exit Condition Report (Form 14a) is completed by the tenant on or about handover day. The report is compared to the Entry Condition Report (Form 1a) to determine whether the condition of the property is different to when the tenant moved in, considering fair wear and tear. If there are no issues, the bond is refunded via submission of a Refund of Rental Bond (Form 4) to the RTA. If there is disagreement, the Authority or QCAT can be engaged to resolve the dispute.
For advice or representation in any legal matter, please contact Armstrong Legal.