New minimum housing standards to be implemented in all Queensland tenancies from 1 September 2023
The new Minimum Housing Standards are designed to ensure that Queensland rental properties meet certain basic requirements in terms of safety, security, privacy and functionality.
Landlords and property managers are responsible for ensuring that their rental properties meet these minimum standards and are kept in good condition throughout the tenancy. If a property does not meet these standards, tenants may have grounds to make a complaint to the Residential Tenancies Authority (RTA) and seek remedies such as repairs or compensation.
When will the new Minimum Housing Standards be introduced?
There will be a staggered approach to the commencement of the new measures.
This will provide time for renters, property owners and property managers to understand the new rights and obligations, and to prepare for them to come into effect.
A longer transition period for the prescribed Minimum Housing Standards will support rental property owners to plan and budget for any work required for their rental property to comply with the new legislation.
Minimum Housing Standards will apply to new leases entered into from 1 September 2023 and all tenancies from 1 September 2024.
Renters can have confidence their rental property is safe, secure and functional through prescribed Minimum Housing Standards which require:
- the premises to be weatherproof and structurally sound
- fixtures and fittings to be in good repair and not likely to cause injury to a person
- locks on windows and doors
- the premises to be free of vermin, damp and mould
- privacy coverings
- adequate plumbing and drainage
- functioning kitchen and laundry facilities (where supplied).
Does a rental property need to meet minimum housing standards from 1 September 2023 if an existing tenant renews their tenancy after that date?
Yes. The 1 September 2023 introduction of minimum housing standards for new tenancies apply to all new tenancy agreements. This includes tenancy agreements which are being renewed, even if the existing tenants are staying at the property.
What does weatherproof and structurally sound mean?
Weatherproof means the roofing or windows must prevent water from entering the premises when it rains. Structurally sound means the building must be safe for the tenant to live in. The walls, ceiling and roof must be in good condition. They must not be likely to collapse or be affected by significant dampness. Decks and stairs must also be safe and not affected by rot or defects.
Will all external doors and windows need to have locks or latches for the property to meet minimum housing standards?
To meet minimum housing standards, all external windows and doors at a property will need to have functioning locks or latches to secure the premises against unauthorised entry. This applies only to windows and doors a person outside the premises or room (for rooming accommodation) could access without a ladder.
Each property should be assessed on a case-by-case basis. The main focus should be on ensuring the rental property is secure and that reasonable measures have been taken to meet safety and security requirements under the legislation.
Will every room in the rental property need to have a blind, curtain or other privacy covering to meet minimum housing standards?
Privacy coverings must be provided in rooms where the tenant might reasonably expect it, such as in bedrooms. Privacy coverings can include blinds, curtains, tinted windows, and glass frosting. Privacy coverings are not required for windows which are blocked from outside view by a fence, hedge, tree or other feature of the property.
Who is responsible for mould, damp or vermin during a tenancy?
If mould, damp or vermin appears in a rental property during the tenancy, the tenant should notify the property manager/owner as soon as they are aware of the issue.
If the issue is caused by problems with the structure of the property, the property manager/owner is responsible for fixing it and making any necessary repairs. Examples could include mould caused by a leaking roof or a termite infestation in the walls. The property manager/owner is also responsible for fixing any issues that are caused by reasonable use of the property. Examples would include a leaking shower which cannot be turned off or a stove top that does not work.
If the issue is caused by the actions of the tenant, the tenant is responsible for any necessary repairs. Examples could include mould caused by the tenant allowing steam to build up in a bathroom and not properly ventilating or cleaning the area, or a vermin problem which may have been caused because the actions of the tenant attracted the animals to the property.
Watch the webinar released by the RTA for a high-level summary of the upcoming changes.
WATCH: Upcoming rental law changes around minimum housing standards Source: RTA.Qld.gov.au