If you’re a first-time landlord, chances are you don’t know the kind of liabilities that renting out a property can expose you to. After all, there’s no crash course on how to avoid litigation, and the government doesn’t supply investors with a pamphlet that explains the difference between making a poor decision and committing an offence.
In this blog, we shed light on some of the most common, expensive and completely avoidable ways landlords in Queensland can break the law.
Contravening the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act
The Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008 is the piece of legislation that lays out what you can and can’t do when it comes to renting out a Queensland property.
Unlike breaches of a tenancy agreement (which the tenant and the landlord usually work out amongst themselves), actions that go against the Act itself can trigger an investigation resulting in hefty fines.
Some of the most common ways Queensland landlords are found to contravene the Act include:
- Not lodging the tenant’s bond with the Residential Tenancies Authority (RTA) within ten days: $5046 maximum fine (40 penalty units)
- Not providing a written tenancy agreement: $2523 maximum fine (20 penalty units)
- Entering the property without giving tenants proper notice: $2523 maximum fine (20 penalty units)
- Ending a tenancy in an unauthorised way (evicting a tenant forcibly or without the appropriate paperwork): $5046 maximum fine (20 penalty units)
- Including special terms in a tenancy agreement that contravene the act (passing on the cost of rates, for example): $6308 maximum fine (50 penalty units)
Other Legal Considerations Landlords Must Make
It’s not just the breaching the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act that landlords need to worry about.
All Queensland landlords also need to be aware of:
Smoke alarm requirements: Queensland properties must adhere to strict smoke alarm requirements, which have recently been updated. You can see if your alarms are adequate with the help of the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services checking tool.
Health and safety requirements: If your tenant is injured because your property has unsafe features (broken steps or railings, excessive mould buildup or exposed asbestos, for example) they may file a civil lawsuit against you.
Local regulations: You may also incur fines from local council if you fail to comply with your city or town’s building regulations. Copies of the regulations are available on local council websites.
If you need help to understand the legalities of property investment, or you are solo-navigating the world of commercial leasing, get in touch with Conveyancing Home Queensland on (07) 3236 2852 or fill out our short online enquiry form. Our property and conveyancing solicitors will be in touch with you ASAP. Or, if you just want a quick online conveyancing quote, use our free online conveyancing calculator.