New Tenancy Laws For Queensland
Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008
There have been some major changes to the residential tenancy laws in Queensland that came into effect on 1st July 2009.
The significance in changes to the notice periods is quite extreme and some notice periods are up to four (4) times longer than the old laws required. It is important that you comply with the correct notice period when bringing an end to tenancy.
What you need to know:
The new laws apply to any action taken in relation to a tenancy after the 1st July 2009. This means that even if the agreement was entered before the 1st July 2009, any notice provided AFTER the 1st July 2009 must comply with the new laws.
It is now necessary for a landlord to give two (2) months notice to end a month to month tenancy (“periodic tenancy”) “without grounds.”
However, should a tenant wish to end a periodic tenancy “without grounds” they are only required to give the landlord fourteen (14) days notice.
Should a landlord require a tenant to vacate at the end of a fixed term tenancy it is now necessary the landlord to provide the following notice:
(a) two (2) months notice or
(b) the end date of the fixed term tenancy agreement ( which ever is later.)
For example, should a landlord enter a three (3) month residential tenancy agreement and require the tenant to vacate at the end date of the fixed term, the landlord will need to serve a notice to leave on the tenant after only one (1) month of the tenancy coming into effect.
However, should a tenant wish to end a fixed term tenancy ‘without grounds’ they are only required to give the following notice:
(a) Fourteen (14) days or
(b) the end date of the fixed term tenancy agreement (whichever is later).
Should you be selling your home, provided all necessary notices are provided to the tenant, it is possible for the landlord to provide only four (4) weeks notice to end a periodic tenancy on the grounds of ‘sale of property.’ This must be properly stated in the notice and the notice must be given to the tenant after a contract for sale has been entered.
A landlord and tenant can also agree to end a tenancy in a different time frame to that which is stated in the new laws. However, both the landlord and tenant must agree to the end date and this agreement should be recorded in writing. For example, a tenant can agree to leave a property with less than two (2) months notice and the landlord should get this agreement in writing. However, if the tenant doesn’t agree to leave the property early they are entitled to have a full two (2) months to leave.
The new legislation has also provided for new prescribed Forms. Although similar in appearance to the old forms, it is important that the new Forms be utilised for any notice to be provided.
It is especially important when you are selling a property to a buyer who requires ‘vacant possession’ that you take into account how long it will take to validly terminate the tenancy. Failing to give the correct notice in the right Form, could hold up settlement or jeopardise the sale. We strongly suggest that you obtain legal advice before entering the contract.
For further information please contact our office or view the Residential Tenancy Authority website: www.rta.qld.gov.au
Read more about the author, Rebecca Lorimer
Read more about Property Law and Conveyancing