Minimum Housing Standards (Qld)
During 2023, the Queensland government legislated Minimum Housing Standards for residential tenancies. These standards are the basic requirements that residential rental properties must fulfil. They seek to ensure that rental properties are safe, secure and functional. This page deals with Queensland’s Minimum Housing Standards.
The Minimum Housing Standards are contained in Schedule 5A of the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Regulations 2008.
Commencement of Minimum Housing Standards
The Minimum Housing Standards apply to all new residential leases entered into after 1 September 2023. They will apply to all other tenancies from 1 September 2024.
What standards must be met?
Under the Minimum Housing Standards, all residential properties must:
- be weatherproof and structurally sound
- be in good repair and not likely to cause injury
- have functional locks or latches on all doors and window
- be free from vermin, damp and mould
- have privacy coverings for windows
- have adequate plumbing and draining
- have hot and cold water connected
- provide privacy in the bathroom
- have a toilet that flushed and refills
- have a functioning cooktop in the kitchen
- provide fixtures for washing machine to be connected in the laundry
What if the standards are not met?
If a tenant believes that a property falls short of the Minimum Standards either when they first take up occupancy, or during the tenancy, there are a number of things they can do.
Firstly, if a tenant believes that a property does not meet the standards when they first move in, they can end the tenancy by serving the landlord with a Form 13 Notice of intention to leave. This can be done within seven days. The tenant must give the landlord at least 14 days notice.
If the landlord disagrees and believes that the property does meet the standards, they may treat this as a breach of the lease. The dispute can be taken to the Residential Tenancy Authority (RTA), and if not resolved, through the RTC, to QCAT.
Secondly, a tenant can apply to QCAT for a termination order on the basis that the landlord made false or misleading representations about the condition of the property. This application must be made within three months.
Thirdly, the tenant can seek emergency repairs to rectify any defects in the property that render it noncompliant with the Minimum Housing Standards. If the tenant pays for the repairs to be carried out, they may subsequently request reimbursement from the landlord. If the landlord does not comply with this request, the tenant may make an urgent application to QCAT.
Finally, the tenant can go directly to QCAT for a repair order. QCAT may make the orders it considers appropriate, including what must be repaired, when the work must be done by and who is to pay for the work. If a party does not comply with a repair order, they may be fined up to 50 penalty units.
Where standards are not met because of tenant’s actions
If a tenant is responsible for damage to a property that renders the property noncompliant with the Minimum Housing Standards, the landlord may issue a Form 11 Notice to remedy breach seeking that the tenant pay for the repairs.
Other recent changes
Several other changes to residential tenancy law have been introduced recently.
On 1 July 2023, new laws came into effect limited rental increases to no more than once in a 12-month period. Landlords can increase the rent at the end of a lease only if it has been at least 12 months since the last rental increase.
If a tenant feels that a rent increase is excessive, they may apply to the RTA for dispute resolution or to QCAT for a decision.
On 1 October 2022, new laws commenced regarding renting with a pet. Under the new laws, a tenant who wishes to keep a pet must seek written approval from the landlord. If the landlord does not respond within 14 days, the request is automatically approved.
A landlord may refuse a request to keep a pet only for a reason set out in section 184E of the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008. These reasons include that the property is not suitable for the pet or that the pet is likely to cause damage to the property.
A landlord may approve a request to keep a pet but impose conditions if the conditions are reasonable, relate only to the keeping of the pet and are set out in the written approval given to the tenant.
If you require legal advice or representation in any legal matter, please contact Go To Court Lawyers.