TenantsTips / Australia / Tenancy Laws applying to Property Maintenance under Review in Queensland

Tenancy Laws applying to Property Maintenance under Review in Queensland

For Australian people receiving some form of Government assistance, paying the rent can often be difficult. Many individuals can find the cost of renting very daunting, and it is something that is becoming increasingly expensive.

The Queensland State Government is currently conducting a review into tenancy laws to ensure that landlords and estate agents properly maintain premises they are renting to tenants and that urgent maintenance is actually carried out urgently. Some lawyers are calling for the review to be broadened so that the Government's review does not just look at balancing the interests of landlords and tenants through changes to the law but also puts in significant new measures to back up any changes.

It is important to realise that, as the Queensland Housing Minister stated, there is already an obligation under common law for landlords and estate agents to ensure that they are leasing properties to tenants that are safe. In fact this common law obligation underpins parts of Queensland's tenancy laws which apply to maintenance and particularly to urgent repairs.

This review comes in the wake of the tragic case of a baby who died recently at a house in Yeppoon when the baby's father (who was holding the baby in his arms) put his foot through the floorboards of his home. Gino Andrieri, a lawyer acting for the family stated that they are currently “considering their options”.

Another recent case that highlights the need for changes to the law is that of a stairway which collapsed with a number of people on it during a Halloween party in Brisbane. Both were rental houses.

A Queensland lawyer has pointed out that nothing in the Government review examines the issue of safety aspects surrounding decks or stairs. Fortunately there were some discussions in the review about mandatory inspections. These inspections are important in Queensland because of the high humidity which can lead to wood rot, something which is hard to detect.

The lawyer referred to above has also stated that other measures which will help could include better training of landlords and particularly real estate agents, and a system that records complaints.

The legal requirement for landlords and estate agents to make sure tenants are signing leases to properties that are safe is paramount.

Properly carrying out measures such as inspections, repairs, and attending to urgent maintenance immediately is a common sense approach. Landlords and estate agents should not need to be reminded about their common law obligations, or any other specific tenancy laws that address the issue. And tenants should be confident that the premises they are moving into are safe and will continue to remain so for the length of their tenancy.


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