Yesterday the Queensland Government passed the COVID-19 Emergency Response Act 2020, which grants Ministers powers to introduce temporary amendments to Regulations to deal with the current crisis. These temporary amendments include changes to the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Regulation. I set out a very high level summary of the changes below.
Eligibility criteria for the COVID-19 measures are as follows:
- Any of the following apply in relation to the tenant: (a) the tenant has or is caring for someone with COVID-19; (b) the tenant is subject to a quarantine direction; (c) the tenant is unable to work/ has reduced work because a public health direction has closed/ limited their employer’s business; (d) the tenant is unable to work due to travel restrictions; (e) the tenant is self isolating; or (f) the tenant is prevented from leaving or returning to Australia; AND
- The tenant has suffered loss of income of 25% or more (combined income of all tenants on lease, includes any government grants); OR
- Rent will now be 30% or more of the tenant’s income (combined income of all tenants on lease, includes any government grants).
If the tenant meets one of the criteria in 1 above and either 2 or 3 apply, then the tenancy is deemed to be COVID-19 impacted and protection measures include the following:
- The tenant may request a rent reduction – there is a strong emphasis on direct negotiation between tenants and landlords (owners may ask for documentation to understand the change in circumstances).
- The tenant cannot be listed on a tenancy database for arrears (for example, TICA).
- If the tenancy is due to finish on or before 29 September 2020 the tenancy will be automatically extended until 30 September 2020 unless the tenant requests a shorter term (moratorium).
Special mention that Tenants will now have to prove they are effected by Covid-19.
For further information please see this stream posted by the REIQ yesterday:
The residential tenancies practice guide regarding Covid - 19