RTA Act Implementation July 2009
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RTA Act Implementation July 2009

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RTA Act Implementation July 2009 RTA Act Implementation July 2009 Presentation Transcript

  • Residential Tenancies Authority About this Presentation • The aim of this session is to outline the changes to tenancy law in Queensland • We will have a quick look at the legislative review process. • Go over the key changes to be aware of. • Discuss what the changes mean for you.
  • The New Act – Commenced 1 July 2009 The Residential Tenancies & Rooming Accommodation Act 2008 • The new Act commenced on 1 July 2009. • It combines the Residential Tenancies Act 1994 and Residential Services (Accommodation) Act 2002. • It covers general tenancies, moveable dwellings and rooming accommodation agreements. • Generally, it works in the same way, however a number of important changes have been made reflecting the findings from the legislation reviews.
  • The New Act – Commenced 1 July 2009 The Key Changes Key changes you need to be aware of and understand when renting the following premises: - Houses - Apartments, Flats & Units - Caravans - Moveable Dwellings - Rooming Accommodation We will look quickly at rooming accommodation before moving onto general tenancies.
  • The New Act – Commenced 1 July 2009 What is Rooming Accommodation? • Rooming Accommodation is where a person rents a room as the main place they live and: - they do not have the right to occupy the whole premises, and - they share other rooms or facilities with other people (e.g a kitchen or bathroom) • The Act does not apply if the provider lives on-site and rents three rooms or less. However, if a rental bond is taken it must be lodged with the RTA. • The Act does not apply to holiday accommodation.
  • The New Act – Commenced 1 July 2009 Changes to Rooming Accommodation • A provider that operates rooming style accommodation can choose to “opt-in” and use the general tenancies provisions, instead of the rooming provisions. • House rules can be made about smoking and visitors. • Some form names have changed, but the number and purpose of the form are the same. • Some disputes can now go directly to a Tribunal. • From 1 January 2010, on-campus student accommodation providers must lodge any bonds taken with the RTA. • More information can be obtained through the fact sheets on the RTA website.
  • The New Act – Commenced 1 July 2009 Rental premises must be offered for rent at a fixed amount A lessor/agent must not advertise or offer a premises for rent, unless a fixed amount is stated in the advertisement. This is intended to prohibit such things as: • Rental auctions • Advertising with a rent range • Advertising as “make an offer” • Inviting bids or tenders.
  • The New Act – Commenced 1 July 2009 Giving Documents to a Prospective Tenant • The lessor/agent must give the prospective tenant a copy of the proposed agreement, including the standard and special terms for that tenancy. • These documents enable the tenant to make an informed choice when deciding if the property and the terms of the agreement are suitable for them. • The proposed agreement must be given before the prospective tenant is committed to enter the tenancy.
  • The New Act – Commenced 1 July 2009 Requiring an Amount From a Prospective Tenant A lessor/agent can only take an amount of money from a prospective tenant that is for: • A key deposit. • A holding deposit. The Act does not allow for a lessor/agent to take an application fee from the tenant.
  • The New Act – Commenced 1 July 2009 Deposits are Holding Deposits • Any amount taken to “hold” a property is a holding deposit. • A holding deposit can now only be taken from one prospective tenant for the premises. • When a lessor/agent takes a holding deposit, the tenant is being given the right to take the property. • The lessor/agent must hold the property for the agreed period. • The deposit has to be refunded if, during the agreed period, the tenant decides against taking the property. • The lessor/agent must ensure the property is available if the person decides to proceed with the tenancy.
  • The New Act – Commenced 1 July 2009 General Tenancy Agreement (Form 18a) • There is a “new look”, General Tenancy Agreement (Form 18a). • It appears pretty much the same, with only a few changes. • The new form must be used for tenancies entered into from 1 July 2009. • People who have an existing agreement in place, do not need a new agreement. • The new Act will automatically apply to ALL existing agreements.
  • The New Act – Commences 1 July 2009 Entry Condition Report (Form 1a) • Only one copy of the report is now required to be given to the tenant on, or before the day the tenant occupies the premises. • The tenant must be given a copy of the final report which has been signed by all parties.
  • The New Act – Commenced 1 July 2009 Maximum Bond • The rent limit applied for the maximum bond has increased from $500 per week to $700 per week. For Example: If the rent is $700 per week or less, the maximum bond which can be held for the property is four times the weekly rent.
  • The New Act – Commenced 1 July 2009 Rent Increases Limited • Rent can only be increased once every six months. • The lessor/agent must now give two months written notice to the tenant of a rent increase during the term of an agreement. • This applies whether the agreement is fixed term or periodic. • There can be no increase in rent during a fixed term agreement unless the agreement explicitly allows for it in the special terms.
  • The New Act – Commenced 1 July 2009 What if rent is requested to be paid in a way not listed in the Act ? • If a lessor/agent requests rent to be paid in a way that is not listed in the Act, they must also give the tenant the option of two other ways that are listed in the Act (e.g. cash, cheque, deposit into an account, credit card, EFTPOS or direct debit). • Also, if rent is requested to be paid in a way that is not listed in the Act such as: ‘rent card’ ‘rent pay’, or other ‘third party’ system the lessor/agent must advise the tenant of any extra charges, joining fees or service fees that may be payable by the tenant.
  • The New Act – Commenced 1 July 2009 Entry to The Property – New two hour Time Period • On the Entry Notice (Form 9), the lessor/agent must now state a two hour time period during which they intend to enter the premises. • The lessor/agent must enter the premises during that two hour period. • The Act does not prohibit the lessor/agent from staying in the property past the two hour period to complete the purpose for entry. • However, this provision does not apply to an entry by a lessor/agent if another person such as a tradesperson is entering with them.
  • The New Act – Commenced 1 July 2009 Changed Entry Times • The lessor/agent cannot enter the property between the hours of 6:00pm and 8:00am, unless the tenant agrees. • The lessor/agent can only enter the property on a Sunday or Public Holiday if the tenant agrees. • Where a premises is to be sold or re-rented the lessor/agent can only hold an open house, or on-site auction if the tenant agrees in writing.
  • The New Act – Commenced 1 July 2009 New Grounds for Entry by a Lessor/Agent in relation to a “Significant Breach” • The lessor/agent can now re-enter the property to check that a significant breach has been remedied. • This entry must be done within a two week period following the expiry date on the Notice to Remedy Breach (Form 11).
  • The New Act – Commenced 1 July 2009 What is a “Significant Breach” The Act lists the meaning as: • exceeding the number of occupants allowed, • using the premises for an illegal purpose, • keeping a pet on the premises, if pets were not allowed in the agreement, or • another matter, if the reasonable cost of rectifying the matter exceeds one week’s rent for the premises.
  • The New Act – Commenced 1 July 2009 New Grounds for Entry by a Lessor/Agent in relation to Repairs • The lessor/agent can also now re-enter the property following a repair, to check on the work done. • This entry must be done within a two week period from the date of a repair. • To re-enter on the grounds of a significant breach or a repair, the lessor/agent must still give an Entry Notice (Form 9) to the tenant allowing 24 hours notice and observe the two hour window for entry.
  • The New Act – Commenced 1 July 2009 Changes to Notices • Notice To Remedy Breach (Form 11) has been changed to include information such as: - when rent has been paid to - the number of days rent is overdue - the amount required to be paid.
  • The New Act – Commenced 1 July 2009 Changes to the Process of a Sale of Premises • Tenants are able to end a tenancy agreement, if: - within the first two months of signing an agreement the property is put up for sale, and - the tenant was not informed of the prospective sale at the time of signing the agreement. Privacy for Tenants • Where a property is being sold or re-let, photos used in advertising which shows tenant’s possessions, can only be used if the tenant agrees in writing.
  • The New Act – Commenced 1 July 2009 Changes in Notice Periods • A lessor/agent must now give a tenant two months notice to leave “without grounds”. • This applies whether the agreement is for a fixed term or periodic. • However, you cannot require a tenant to leave “without grounds” before the end date of a fixed term agreement. • Tenants in a caravan park or other moveable dwelling must be given three months notice for a voluntary park closure.
  • The New Act – Commenced 1 July 2009 Capacity to Dispute Significant Changes Between Subsequent Agreements • The new Act allows a continuing tenant to dispute significant changes to terms, between subsequent agreements, for the same property. • The Act lists a significant change as: - a change to the special terms - an excessive increase of rent - a change to the way rent must be paid - a change to terms about pets - a change to the number of persons allowed to occupy the property.
  • The New Act – Commenced 1 July 2009 Capacity to Dispute Significant Changes Between Subsequent Agreements • Tenants can only dispute a significant change in their tenancy agreement after signing the new agreement. • A Dispute Resolution Request (Form 16) must be lodged with the RTA within 30 days of signing the agreement. • The normal process of RTA conciliation will be entered into and if unsuccessful, the matter may proceed to the Small Claims Tribunal.
  • The New Act – Commenced 1 July 2009 Offences • A number of the provisions in the Act carry penalties. • Selected offences in the Act are infringement notice offences. • The infringement notice penalty will be 10% of the maximum penalty for the offence. • A person can challenge the infringement notice, by choosing to have the matter dealt with in a Magistrates court.
  • The New Act – Commenced 1 July 2009 What do the changes mean for you ? • The new Act is effective from 1 July, 2009. • The new Act applies now to all new agreements and existing agreements. • Any process already commenced before 1 July continues under the previous rules until its finalisation. • The ‘new look’ RTA forms have the same numbers and purpose as their previous numbered form. • You can order or print copies of the new forms through the RTA website, or pick them up from most Australia Post outlets in Queensland.
  • The New Act – Commenced 1 July 2009 Contact the RTA if you require further information • Website: www.rta.qld.gov.au • Sign up for our E-Bulletins • Client Contact Centre: 1300 366 311
  • The New Act – Commenced 1 July 2009 Additional Contacts for Lessors: • Property Owners Assoc. of Qld www.poaa.asn.au 3378 7411 Additional Contacts for REIQ Members: • REIQ www.reiq.com.au 3249 7347
  • The New Act – Commenced 1 July 2009 Additional Contacts for Tenants: • Tenant’s Union of Qld www.tuq.org.au 3257 1108 • Tenancy Advice & Advocacy Services www.tuq.org.au/taas_contacts.asp Look under ‘Tenancy Advice’ in the white pages for your nearest TAAS office.