Proposed reforms may make pet-friendly renting easier
TENANTS would be given more freedom to keep pets and modify rental properties to make them feel more like a “home” under sweeping reforms being proposed in Queensland.
The Courier-Mail can reveal property owners wouldn’t be allowed to refuse pet applications unless they had sufficient grounds and tenants may be required to pay a bond for an animal, under the biggest rental reforms in 40 years to be announced today.
Renters would be allowed to install grab rails in bathrooms, furniture anchors, child safety gates and dead locks – without seeking permission – to upgrade the security and safety of a property.
If they wanted to hang pictures, install light shades, window coverings or use water-saving taps and shower heads, tenants would need permission.
However if the owner does not respond within seven days, permission would be granted.
Domestic violence victims would also be allowed to leave with seven days’ notice.
The proposed reforms, which the Government admits may increase rent from between $5 to $18 a week, follow community consultation last year when more than 135,000 responses were received during nine weeks.
- Owners would be required to provide their contact details and a repairer’s for emergency repairs.
- Victims of domestic and family violence would be allowed to leave with 7 days notice if they have evidence.
- Tenants would be allowed to modify rental properties for disability, security, and health and safety reasons without the owner’s permission. The owner would still need to be told.
- Owners would be required to respond to requests for other modifications such as hanging photo frames and small gardens within seven days, otherwise permission is granted.
- Owners may ask tenants to revert a property back to how it was.
The Palaszczuk Government will today announce that the proposed changes, which aim to protect both tenants and owners, will be rolled out across two stages.
Stage 1 recommends several amendments to the current Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act, which the Government hopes to pass in 2020.
Housing and Public Works Minister Mick de Brenni said three areas were identified as part of the consultation including safety and security, protection against domestic violence and protection if renting with pets.
“It’s a sign of how strongly the community feels about renting that we’ve seen over 135,000 responses to our request for feedback through Open Doors to Renting Reform,” he said.
Stage 1 recommends introducing minimum housing standards that would require owners to provide contact details for themselves or a representative and a repairer for emergency repairs.
The reforms also include domestic and family violence provisions which would allow tenants with evidence of violence to leave with seven days’ notice. Remaining co-tenants would have seven days to decide if they wanted to continue or end the tenancy and would need to provide 21 days notice if terminating.
Under the amendments, property owners would also no longer be able to end tenancies without grounds.
Stage 2, which is not expected to be rolled out before the end of next year, will look at inspections, rental bonds, rent and longer-term leases.
Deputy Premier Jackie Trad said more than one in three households in Queensland were tenants, but in some areas that figure rose to three in five.
“Tenants in my community and across Queensland are entitled to feel safe in their home, regardless of whether they own or rent,” she said. “At the same time, we know that rental property owners need safeguards to protect their investment that provides much-needed housing for an increasing number of Queenslanders.”
Mr de Brenni said the experience of Lyn and Ken Diefenbach, who advocated for prescribed minimum housing standards after the death of their granddaughter, Bella, was a driving factor for the reforms. Bella died in an accident involving a rotten floorboard on a deck at a rented Yeppoon home in 2010.
Mr de Brenni heralded the reforms as lifesaving.
Mr Diefenbach said his family didn’t want anyone to go through the trauma they had suffered, and called the reforms “roadworthy for houses”.
Property manager Sandra Farquhar, 49, from Newstead, said she had difficulty finding a rental property that would allow her dog, Archie, and that the rental reforms are a good thing for people with pets.
“People just assume if you’re a pet owner you’re not going to keep the place nice and that’s just not true,” she said.
“It should not be difficult to have a small or medium dog in an apartment.”
Current pet-friendly rentals in Rockhampton under $300
- 4/303 Thirkettle Ave, Frenchville. Two bedrooms. $200/week. Real Way Real Estate.
- 60A Elphinstone Street, Berserker. Two bedrooms. $210/week. Mr Real Estate.
- 182 Peter Street, Berserker. Three bedrooms. $220/week. Real Way Real Estate.
- 84 Armstrong Street, Berserker. Three bedrooms. $230/week. Kas Woch.
- 132 Nobbs Street, Berserker. Two bedrooms. $230/week. Inspecting agent.
- 1 Short St, Allenstown. Three bedrooms. $250/week. Pat O’Driscoll.
- 149 Stamford Street, Berserker. Three bedrooms. $250/week. Real Way Real Estate.
- 31 Naughton, Wandal. Two bedrooms. $250/week. McGrath.
- 222 Thozet Road, Koongal. Three bedrooms. $250/week. McGrath.
- 174 Elphinstone Street, Berserker. Three bedrooms. $260/week. Ray White Rockhampton.
- 29 Kirkellan Street, Berserker. Three bedrooms. $260/week. Real Way Real Estate.
- 363 Stenhouse Street, Koongal. Two bedrooms. $260/week. Real Way Real Estate.
- 8 Victor Street, Allenstown. Two bedrooms. $260/week. Pat O’Driscoll.
- 92 Connor Street, Koongal. Three bedrooms. $270/week. McGrath.
- 128 Kent Street, Rockhampton City. Three bedrooms. $280/week. LJ Hooker.
- 13 Cambridge Street, Rockhampton City. Three bedrooms. $280/week. Raine & Horne.
- 2/69 Meade Street, West Rockhampton. Three bedrooms. $280/week. McGrath.
- 32A Burnett Street, Berserker. Two bedrooms. $280/week. Alan Cornick Real Estate.
- 3/24 Price Ave, Kawana. Three bedrooms. $290/week. McGrath.
- 314 Dean Street, Frenchville. Three bedrooms. $290/week. McGrath.
- 245A Berserker Street, Berserker. Three bedrooms. $290/week. Elite Real Estate.
- 226 Richardson Road, Park Avenue. Three bedrooms. $295/week. McGrath Real Estate.