Rental homes need to meet standards

Minimum housing standards will commence for new tenancies from September 1 this year.

This means residential tenancy agreements starting on or after September this year, lessors have just over six months to ensure that their premises and inclusions comply with any prescribed minimum housing standards when the tenancy starts and continue to comply during the tenancy.

The prescribed minimum housing standards are stated in schedule 5A of the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Regulation 2009 and are split into two parts – Safety and security, and Reasonable functionality.

PART 1 – SAFETY AND SECURITY

  1. Weatherproof and structurally sound – The premises must be weatherproof, structurally sound and in good repair. Premises are not weatherproof if the roofing or windows of the premises do not prevent water entering the premises when it rains.
  2. Fixtures and fittings – The fixtures and fittings, including electrical appliances, for the premises:
    • must be in good repair; and
    • must not be likely to cause injury to a person through the ordinary use of the fixtures and fittings.
  3. Locks on windows and doors – The premises must have a functioning lock or latch fitted to all external windows and doors to secure the premises against unauthorised entry. This only applies to the windows and doors that a person outside the premises could access without having to use a ladder.
  4. Vermin, damp and mould – The premises must be free of vermin, damp and mould. However, this does not apply to vermin, damp or mould caused by the tenant, including, for example, caused by a failure of the tenant to use an exhaust fan installed at the premises.
    Privacy – The premises must have privacy coverings for windows in all rooms in which tenants or residents are reasonably likely to expect privacy, including, for example, bedrooms. However, this does not apply to a window if a line of sight between a person outside the premises and a person inside the room is obstructed by a fence, hedge, tree or other feature of the property. Privacy covering for windows include any of the following: blinds, curtains, tinting and glass frosting.

PART 2 – REASONABLE FUNCTIONALITY

Plumbing and drainage – The premises must have adequate plumbing and drainage for the number of persons occupying the premises, and be connected to a water supply service or other infrastructure that supplies hot and cold water suitable for drinking.

  1. Bathrooms and toilets – The bathroom and toilet facilities at premises must provide the user with privacy. In addition, each toilet must function as designed, including flushing and refilling, and be connected to a sewer, septic system or other waste disposal system.
  2. Kitchen – A kitchen, if included, must include a functioning cook-top.
  3. Laundry – A laundry, if included, must include the fixtures required to provide a functional laundry other than whitegoods.
    When discussing prescribed minimum housing standards with lessor clients, property managers should be aware that increased rent is not payable by a tenant if it relates to compliance of the premises or inclusions with the prescribed minimum housing standards.
    The tenant may apply to the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (the Tribunal) for an order reducing the proposed rent increase or setting it aside if the proposed rent increase relates to the prescribed minimum housing standards.
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