It’s a little less than 2 weeks until the largest amendments we’ve seen to Queensland Residential Tenancies Law for a long time, kick in.
Some media outlets have been enjoying stirring up a bit of drama and there is some misinformation circulating in the news as to how these changes will affect investors.
Over the next few days, we are going to break down the most significant changes into “bite-size” chunks so that you are well informed as to how you are going to be impacted as an investor, if at all.
Today we are going to look at one change that has many of our clients feeling a little nervous.
Current legislation allows renters to authorise up to 2 weeks’ rent for emergency repairs.
From October 1st, this will change to up to 4 weeks’ rent.
The idea that someone can authorise repairs to the value of 4 weeks’ rent without your permission is naturally hard to fathom. But, this only applies to emergency repairs and only if the renter has not been able to contact their property manager.
What constitutes an emergency is actually pretty easy to understand as there are prescribed items that are outlined in the legislation. If you wish, you can take a peek at this list on the RTA website here.
The Intention Behind the Change
This update has come about to ensure that if there is an emergency and the owner/property manager is not willing to assist or be able to be reached, tenants can organise to have the issue rectified and be appropriately reimbursed.
It is very much about ensuring properties are safe and the increase in “spend” amount, takes into account the increase in the costs for these types of works.
We do not anticipate any increase in the number of requests received for reimbursement of emergency repair costs in our agency.
Our Agency’s Approach
Our process will not change greatly. We already carefully explain to our tenants when they first move into a property, what their obligations are with regard to reporting repairs and maintenance. We also provide them with the steps to take if they find themselves with an urgent repair.
In the first instance, we ask them to contact us directly and provide them with an after-hours number to reach us as well. Moving forward, we will provide them with our nominated repairers.
Because Murphy’s Law generally sees emergencies occurring outside business hours, the new legislation coming into effect will also require tenants to be provided with the name and contact details of qualified tradespeople to deal with any emergency issues. No longer is it going to be acceptable to simply provide a contact number for a property manager or owner.
To ensure we are complying with these regulations, our existing tenants will be updated with our emergency tradespeople’s details. All new tenants moving forward will have this information provided on their tenancy agreement to ensure we are complying with the requirements.
Please be assured, that our nominated tradies are well schooled in what an emergency repair looks like and will reach out to us immediately if they are contacted by a tenant. We will then, in turn, bring you up to speed as quickly as possible if something like this happens.
Although there is a bit to consider with these changes around emergency repairs and we certainly need to make sure we are dotting our i’s and crossing our t’s to comply, we are confident our clients will be minimally impacted.
Tomorrow… we are going to talk about the changes to the Pet rules. Their approval, refusal, and all the bits in between.
In the meantime, if you have any questions or concerns about what we have outlined, please reach out.