The Housing Legislation Amendment Bill 2021 makes detailed amendments to both the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008 (RTRA Act) and the Retirement Villages Act 1999. Our submission focuses on the amendments to the RTRA Act. As a member of the Make Renting Fair campaign, QCOSS endorses Tenants Queensland’s submission.
We support many aspects of the Bill, including removing the ability for lessors to evict tenants without grounds during a tenancy, introducing minimum housing standards for safety, security and reasonable functionality, improving protections for people at risk of domestic and family violence, and enhancing opportunities for tenants to have a pet. We also support the provisions to improve access to emergency repairs, extend the time given to complete entry condition reports and give tenants the right to end a tenancy where they were given misleading information or where the property fails to meet minimum standards.
However, the Bill does not adequately protect the human rights of tenants. Without the necessary amendments, which we have recommended in this submission, tenants’ rights to equal treatment and equality before the law, right to privacy and reputation, property rights, cultural rights and the right to family are not adequately protected by this law reform. In the context of COVID-19 when many people are spending more time at home due to formal restrictions or changes in work and study arrangements, the need for protection of tenants’ rights has been highlighted.
The Bill should be amended to meet its objective of improving housing stability for people renting in the private market.
Our view is that the following amendments are necessary to preserve the intent of the legislation:
- Remove the ability for lessors to evict tenants at the end of a fixed term agreement.
- Permit tenants to make minor modifications to their home without prior approval.
- Prescribe minimum standards for accessibility, ventilation, lighting and energy efficiency.
- Strengthen protections for people experiencing domestic and family violence.
- Require lessors to pass water bills onto tenants within a reasonable timeframe.