The poor quality of some properties is an on-going issue for Queensland renters. The changes will help protect the most vulnerable, often pushed into the margins of the market and reluctant to seek repairs for fear of losing their tenure, from living in substandard and unsafe housing. To combat these issues, the government has introduced legislation that will dictate to landlords what are acceptable living conditions for their tenants.
Minimum housing standards have commenced with the introduction of the Housing Legislation (Building Better Futures) Bill 2017 into the Queensland parliament by Housing Minister, the Hon Mick de Brenni. The Bill will amend the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008 to allow for the introduction of minimum housing standards in rental properties. The standards will be set out in Regulation and developed through a process of consultation.
These housing standards are broad and will cover matters such as
- sanitation, drainage, cleanliness and repair of the premises, inclusions or park facilities;
- ventilation and insulation;
- protection from damp and its effects;
- construction, condition, structures, safety and situation of the premises, inclusions or park facilities;
- the dimensions of rooms in the premises;
- privacy and security;
- provision of water supply, storage and sanitary facilities;
- laundry and cooking facilities;
- freedom from vermin infestation;
- energy efficiency.
If a regulation made under subsection (2) makes provision in relation to a matter and provision is also made in relation to that matter by, or under, any Act, the regulation—
- if not inconsistent with the Act, must be observed in addition to that Act; and
- if inconsistent with the Act, is, to the extent of the inconsistency, of no force or effect and that Act prevails.
Landlords are advised o start taking action now to ensure their properties will meet the standards when the regulations are introduced in 2019.