For agents and property managers

For agents and property managers

The Queensland Government through the RTA is providing important information about the state-specific responses to supporting the residential rental sector.

For small businesses impacted by COVID-19, you can visit Business Queensland page as a trusted source of information.

In response to COVID-19, we have introduced a range of measures to support the residential rental sector:

  • tenants in financial distress due to the impact of the COVID-19 who cannot meet their rent commitments cannot be evicted or listed in a tenancy database for rent arrears.
  • fixed term agreements due to expire during the COVID-19 pandemic will be extended to 30 September 2020 unless the tenant requests a shorter term.
  • a temporary legislative change will cap break lease fees for eligible tenants – household income reduced by at least 75% and savings of less than $5,000.
  • owner obligations for routine repairs and inspections have been relaxed but regulatory obligations to ensure tenant safety in the rental property continue to apply.
  • tenants may refuse physical entry for non-essential reasons, including routine repairs and inspections, particularly if a member of the household is a vulnerable person. However, tenants must agree to virtual inspections if physical inspections are not agreed to.
  • tenants and property owners should work together to reach agreement. If agreement cannot be reached, parties are required to undertake conciliation to resolve disputes relating to rent arrears, which aims to achieve conciliated agreements which form part of the tenancy agreement.

To meet the requirements for the six-month moratorium on evictions, a household is impacted if:

  1. A person is suffering excessive hardship due to the COVID-19 emergency if any of the following apply:
    1. one or more tenants or residents are afflicted by COVID-19
    2. they are subject to a public health direction to stay at a place
    3. a public health direction has closed their employment or restricted their employer’s trade or business
    4. they are self-isolating because they or a member of their household or a someone they are a primary carer for is a vulnerable person
    5. they are unable to work because of a travel restriction
    6. they have been prevented from returning to Australia; AND
  2. the person suffers a loss of income of 25% or more, OR
  3. the rent payable is 30% or more person’s income.

More information is available in the Residential Tenancies Practice Guide.

Frequently asked questions

  • Tenants can refuse entry to the property for non-essential reasons (including routine inspections), particularly if they or a member of their household has a higher risk profile if exposed to COVID-19.

    Consider how to minimise tension or stress by:

    • communicating openly
    • understanding each other’s circumstances
    • developing an acceptable solution
    • documenting any decisions made.

    If you can postpone or reschedule inspections to a time where all parties are comfortable, this is the best way to minimise risk. It is important that all parties communicate openly and respectfully and try to establish an agreed way to work during this difficult time. Any agreement should be recorded in writing.

    Property owners and managers can enter the property in emergencies to protect the property or inclusions from imminent or further damage or conduct essential repairs.

    Entry to comply with existing regulatory obligations that ensure tenant safety in the rental property, such as maintaining smoke alarms, must be permitted.

    If a tenant refuses physical entry for an inspection they must allow a virtual inspections, or other ways of allowing inspections, such as by video conference, photographs or by appointment if social distancing and hygiene protocols are maintained, should be considered. Refer to Queensland Health for information on the current public health directions.

    If the tenant indicates they have been overseas in the last 14 days and are unwell or self-isolating, it’s important you follow Queensland Health advice or call 13HEALTH before entering.

  • Open house inspections may be conducted with a maximum of 20 people (including the real estate agent) inside the building at any one time, with no more than one person per 4 square metres. Private appointments for inspection can also be done, ensuring social distancing is observed.

    Refer to Queensland Health for information on the current public health directions

    The REIQ also recommends a range of other methods to see and experience the property.

  • If a physical inspection cannot occur for health and safety reasons, offer clients an alternative should they still need the property to be inspected - some alternatives include virtual inspections or live streaming or FaceTime.

  • If signing of documents can't take place in person, an available alternative could be to use electronic signatures which are recognised by law in Australia (Electronic Transactions Act 1999 Cth). Free online platforms are available to choose from such as Sign Now or Adobe.

  • Repairs and maintenance may be required to keep the premises safe, and in many cases can be completed in-line with social distancing rules.

    Property owners and managers can enter the property in emergencies to protect the property or inclusions from imminent or further damage or conduct essential repairs.

    Entry to comply with existing regulatory obligations that ensure tenant safety in the rental property, such as maintaining smoke alarms, must be permitted.

    Refer to Queensland Health for information on the current public health directions.

    If the tenant indicates they have been overseas in the last 14 days and are unwell or self-isolating, it’s important you follow Queensland Health advice or call 13HEALTH before entering.

  • The moratorium on evictions due to rent arrears because of the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic is still in force.

    The Queensland Government has acted swiftly to correct an administrative oversight with the tabling of the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation (COVID-19 Emergency Response) Regulation 2020.

    While made by Governor in Council and notified as required, the Regulation was not tabled within 14 calendar days of being notified as required under the COVID-19 Emergency Response Act 2020.

    This action ensures the Regulation is taken to be validly made, notified and tabled so that it continues to have effect and all actions taken in reliance on the Regulation are lawful.

    This means that no agreements negotiated between tenants and property owners, either privately or through conciliation, will be impacted or affected by this issue.

    If you need help with your tenancy, talk to the RTA:

Last updated:
31 May 2020