How will the changes to Queensland rental laws from 30 September 2020 affect me?
Starting from 30 September 2020, Queensland will begin to transition back towards normal residential tenancy arrangements.
How does this affect me?
If your income was affected by COVID-19 and an agreement was made between you and your landlord to:
reduce your rent OR
extend your fixed term rental agreement that was ending OR
not evict you and let you continue staying at the property,
these agreements will end on 29 September 2020.
You will potentially need to renegotiate for a new agreement if you still want to stay at the same property.
What if I cannot afford the original rental amount?
You can still attempt to negotiate with your landlord/agent. If they are not willing, start searching for a cheaper place to live. There are many cheaper rentals available. If you are not able to find one, contact the QUT Accommodation office for assistance.
QUT’s Accommodation office is able to support you through the steps above but if you prefer to seek help from a Queensland Government funded community support service, we can refer you to Tenants Queensland (https://tenantsqld.org.au/) directly
Applying for your rental bond refund If QCAT’s ruling allows you to end your lease early legally, it will include a date after which your contract will be considered ended. Once this date arrives, head to the RTA website and complete the process for Rental Bond refunds.
We recommend that you perform this step as soon as possible (the last day of your contract OR the last day indicated by a QCAT Ruling). This puts you at an advantage when dealing with rental bond disputes.
I signed a rental contract but I can no longer enter Australia because of COVID-19. How can I cancel my rental contract?
If you are unable to travel due to the Australian Government's travel restrictions, it is not your fault that you can no longer stay at your accommodation and you have the right to ask for your rental contract to be terminated.
The first step is to contact your landlord and update them on your situation. Inform them that you are no longer able to arrive in Australia and that you want to terminate your rental agreement with them.
Some landlords are going to be understanding and will allow you to terminate your rental contract. Discuss what you have to do to complete the paperwork involved. Always remember get all agreements in writing (email is ok).
If your landlord insists that you still have to fulfil the contract and pay rent, despite the situation, you can apply to QCAT for "Excessive Hardship" by following the instructions in Step 3 and Step 4 of this other question.
I am employed casually and I am about to lose my income because of COVID-19. I will not be able to pay the rent for my accommodation very soon. What can I do?
It’s always best to see if you can make an agreement to catch up with your rent before any action is taken by the lessor. If you reach an agreement, don’t forget to put it in writing. When you rent a property, you are required to pay the rent on time in accordance with the agreement.
If you’re affected by the impacts of the COVID-19 crisis you may wish to seek additional financial assistance from Centrelink. Additionally if you require assistancepaying your electricity bill you may try approaching your electricity retailer for a payment plan or seek assistance through the Home Energy Assistance Scheme for an emergency payment.
Please keep in mind that if you fail to pay rent, it may be considered a breach of your tenancy agreement. You may request an agreement from your lessor to not pay rent for a period of time due to the impacts of the COVID-19 crisis.
In severe circumstances, you might even be able to apply to the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) to have your rental contract terminated due to "Excessive Hardship". QCAT will evaluate your circumstances and decide if you can be legally "released" from your rental obligations.
There have been many scamming incidents recently and we strongly urge everyone to be careful when renting. If you come across any suspicious activities or were asked to pay money before arriving in Brisbane, please check with us at email@example.com before paying.
Attention tenants and landlords! Please visit our Scam Alert page.
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