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Landlords and Tenants in Queensland
Understanding the rights and obligations of landlords and tenants in Queensland is key to the smooth operation of a lease agreement. These rights and obligations arise before, during, and after a residential tenancy agreement.
What are landlords and tenants in Queensland?
When leasing a residential property in Queensland there are two parties involved. The landlord is the person who owns the property and the tenant is the person leasing the property.
Am I in a landlord and tenant relationship?
The rights and obligations of landlords and tenants in Queensland arise when two (or more) parties enter into a landlord and tenant relationship. This relationship is created when the right to occupy a property is given to a tenant by the landlord. The right to occupy a property can be given in the form of a written, oral, or implied agreement.
Although a written Residential Tenancy Agreement is required by law, if no written agreement has been given to the tenant, both parties are still bound by the rights and obligations found in the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008 (the Act).
Landlords’ rights and obligations
The general obligations of the landlord include:
- complying with entry/privacy requirements
- complying with safety laws
- carrying out repairs and maintenance to the property
- lodging bond with the Residential Tenancies Authority (RTA).
The general rights of the landlord include:
- inspection of the property once every three months
- rent to be paid on time
- property to be kept clean and maintained by tenant (excluding repairs)
- tenant to leave the property in a condition similar to the start of the tenancy. At the end of the tenancy an exit report is used to determine whether any deductions from the bond will be made for cleaning or repairs. The RTA provides a general guide for cleaning at the end of the tenancy.
Tenants’ rights and obligations
The general obligations of the tenant include:
- pay rent on time
- keep property clean and undamaged
- maintain the yard (except for large trees requiring expert knowledge)
- general maintenance of the pool if the property has one. This includes removal of leaves and general pool maintenance where instructions are left.
- act in accordance with the tenancy agreement and any special arrangements made prior to moving in.
Although each tenancy agreement will vary slightly depending on the terms agreed and the property type, the general rights of the tenant include:
- privacy – the landlord is obliged to give notice when they require entry to the property. There are different time frames depending on the entry purpose. A general property inspection cannot occur more than once every three months.
- maintenance of the property – while it is the responsibility of the tenant to keep the property clean and maintained, any major repairs are the responsibility of the landlord. The tenant must notify the landlord or property manager of any repairs required. The tenant may be responsible for the cost of repairs where the damage is their fault or the fault of a guest.
- liveable condition of the property – the tenant has the right to live in a safe and maintained property. Where the property becomes unliveable (for example, where significant damage has resulted from a natural disaster, or there is a health and safety concern) a notice to end the tenancy must be given to the landlord. If the landlord does not agree with the tenant’s assessment, the matter will need to be resolved either by agreement or using the dispute resolution services offered by the RTA.
How to resolve disputes
Where the rights and obligations of landlords and tenants in Queensland are unclear, or a residential tenancies problem or dispute arises during the tenancy, the RTA can assist. The RTA is able to provide information regarding your options and rights under the Act, as well as practical suggestions to resolve disputes without formal proceedings.
Where a dispute occurs between the landlord and the tenant, the following steps are recommended to resolve the issue:
- Both parties should discuss the issue and attempt to agree on an outcome.
- If no outcome can be agreed upon, the RTA will provide a free dispute resolution service. The conciliator will make sure both parties understand their rights and assist the parties to resolve the issue; however the conciliator cannot force either party to agree to an outcome.
- Where dispute resolution is unsuccessful, a claim can be lodged with the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) to hear the dispute. A tribunal member (similar to a judge) will hear the dispute and make a decision. A QCAT decision is final regardless of whether the parties agree with the outcome.
In Queensland, residential tenancy laws are contained in the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008 and the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Regulation 2009.
This article reflects the state of the law as at 22 February 2016. It is intended to be of a general nature only and does not constitute legal advice. If you require legal assistance, please telephone 1300 636 846 or request a consultation at gotocourt.wpengine.com.