Following industry lobbying, the Queensland Government recently released residential rent guidelines to support landlords and property managers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The guidelines aim to provide a fairer negotiation between landlords and tenants. For example, prior to the amendments, the guidelines were in favour of the tenant whereby a landlord was not entitled to request proof of the reduction of tenant income levels. As such, landlords were at the mercy of their tenants. BDO has prepared a summary of the amendments below.
COVID-19 rental response
To qualify for the application of the COVID-19 rental response, tenants must have recorded a 25 per cent reduction in income. Alternatively, they will be eligible where their rent exceeds 30 per cent of their income. In addition, tenants must record a 75 per cent loss of income before they can end a tenancy with a 7-day cap on lease-breaking fees.
Tenancy agreement extensions
According to the guidelines, the extension on the term of a tenancy agreement has a limit of 30 September 2020, unless an alternative arrangement has been reached between the owner and tenant.
Tenant’s proof of income
While much has been said about a property manager’s ability to request proof of income from their tenants, the guidelines specify tenants can only be asked to provide the same proof of finance to property managers as they normally would when starting a tenancy.
Access for sale of property
The guidelines specify property managers can access the property in the event of a sale, conduct virtual rental inspections, and access the property for essential repairs and maintenance.
The amended guidelines above should allow for landlords and tenants equitability negotiate their way through this unprecedented time.
The Residential Tenancies Practice Guide for navigating the requirements and protections for residential tenancies impacted by COVID-19 pandemic can be found on the Queensland Government website.
To determine which COVID-19 rental assistance package option best suits your needs, please contact Hung Tran or a member of our national Real Estate and Construction team.
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