COVID-19 tenancy update

COVID-19 tenancy update

The Queensland Government acted quickly to legislate its COVID-19 response for residential tenancies.

We implemented the National Cabinet agreed 6-month moratorium for rent arrears caused by COVID-19 impacts between 29 March and 29 September 2020.

Changes from 30 September 2020

We are transitioning back towards normal residential tenancy arrangements.

Queensland is in a strong position thanks to the early actions taken to manage COVID-19 health risks. We will continue to be guided by health advice and directions to determine whether any future actions will be required.

What will change

The six-month eviction moratorium, and measures implemented to support it, will cease to apply after 29 September 2020, including:

  • fixed term agreement extensions for COVID-19 impacted tenants
  • ending agreement provisions that prevent property owners ending tenancies with COVID-19 impacted tenants without grounds and provide additional grounds for parties to end tenancies (owner occupation and sale of premises which require vacant possession)
  • adjusted rent and bond processes that support parties to negotiate arrangements to manage COVID-19 impacts on their tenancies
  • mandatory conciliation of COVID-19 related tenancy disputes through the Residential Tenancies Authority (RTA).

What will continue

Other protections will continue to apply until 31 December 2020, including:

  • provisions allowing tenants experiencing domestic and family violence to end their tenancies quickly
  • protections for tenants against being listed in a tenancy database for rent arrears caused by COVID-19 impacts
  • limits on reletting costs for eligible tenants who end their fixed term tenancies early
  • short term tenancy statement extensions for moveable dwellings
  • entry restrictions and requirements to support COVID-19 social distancing measures
  • relaxed repair and maintenance obligations.

Working together

Tenants and property owners should continue negotiating adjustments to manage any COVID-19 impacts on their residential tenancy arrangements.

The Residential Tenancies Authority (RTA) free dispute resolution service is available to help parties reach agreement and resolve issues, including about rent and ending agreements.

Help and advice

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

Our Housing Service Centres can provide housing assistance:

Support for mental health

Frequently asked questions

  • Up to and including 29 September 2020, a property owner or property manager can issue a Notice to leave for sale of premises or owner occupation. The process will continue until the end of the required 2 months’ notice.

    Example: a property owner needs vacant possession due to sale of the rental property. They issued a Notice to leave on the grounds of sale of property to the tenants on 10 September 2020, the tenants would be required to vacate the property at the end of the 2 months’ notice on 10 November (plus clear days for delivery of notice).

    From 30 September 2020, a property owner or property manager cannot issue a notice to leave for those additional grounds.

    A tenant can issue a notice ending tenancy for domestic violence up to and including 31 December 2020.

  • This will depend on when the tenancy variation agreement expires. If the variation agreement expires after 29 September 2020, it is still valid. Tenants and property owners should both keep a copy of their signed variation agreement.

    When a tenancy variation agreement expires, obligations return to the same terms as outlined in the original tenancy agreement. This might include reverting back to paying the rent amount as set out in the original tenancy agreement or an obligation to start repaying unpaid rent.

    To avoid confusion, parties are encouraged to confirm in writing what was agreed and what is required at the end of the tenancy variation agreement.

  • As part of the COVID-19 response, new processes including ‘show cause’ and mandatory conciliation through the RTA were introduced to support the evictions moratorium for rent arrears.

    The property owner/manager and the tenant should discuss any rent arrears and try to work out a solution, such as a repayment schedule, taking into account the circumstances of both parties and how any agreement would impact them.

    If any agreement is not met a Notice to remedy breach (Form 11) can be issued, allowing tenants reasonable time to repay any arrears.

    Property owners and managers are encouraged to be reasonable and consider their tenant’s circumstances and ability to repay arrears.

    If the tenant does not repay the arrears as per the Notice to remedy breach, property owners can consider issuing a Notice to leave (Form 12).

    If the tenant does not vacate as per the Notice to Leave, an application may be made to the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) to seek a Warrant of Possession. QCAT will consider any health directives when making their order.

  • Unpaid rent from 30 September 2020 will revert to the pre-COVID-19 processes.

    The property owner/manager and the tenant should discuss any rent arrears and try to work out a solution, such as a repayment schedule, taking into account the circumstances of both parties and how any agreement would impact them.

    If this does not work, after rent has remained unpaid for at least 7 days, tenants can be given a Notice to remedy breach (Form 11). Tenants should be given at least 7 days to remedy the breach, such as to repay the arrears or enter into a repayment schedule over a reasonable amount of time.

    If the tenant does not repay the arrears, property owners can consider issuing a Notice to leave.

    For assistance reaching an agreement, the parties may use the RTA’s free conciliation service to help come to a workable agreement.

  • Requests for conciliation for COVID-19 matters lodged prior to 29 September 2020 will be prioritised and actioned accordingly. The process will continue under the regulations that applied at the time of the tenancy dispute.

  • Eligible tenants who need to end their fixed term tenancy early because of COVID-19 impacts will have their break lease costs capped at the equivalent of 1 weeks rent after giving the required notice period to end the tenancy.

    To be eligible for capped break lease costs the household must have lost 75% or more of their income and have less than $5000 in savings. Tenants may be asked to provide information to support that they meet these eligibility requirements.

    If the tenant is having difficulty negotiating with the property owner or agent (for example, if they are refusing to discuss or cannot be contacted), contact the RTA to arrange conciliation.

  • Property owners are required to offer COVID-19 impacted tenants an extension of their fixed term agreement to at least 30 September 2020, unless the tenant requests a shorter term.

    You should talk to the property manager as soon as possible to work out an arrangement.

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

  • Try to minimise the potential for tension or stress by communicating openly, understanding each other’s circumstance and working together to agree a way forward that works for both of you.

    If the tenants are likely to have difficulty meeting rent payments due to the impacts of COVID-19:

    • Start talking to them early about their options and keep discussions going, as circumstances can change quickly
    • Be reasonable when considering requests for rent adjustments. It is always better to keep good, long-term tenants than find new tenants
    • Consider the situation the tenant will be in when the COVID-19 pandemic subsides
    • Agree to the terms of any rent adjustments and be clear about expectations. For example, how much the rent can be reduced by and for what period.

    Any agreement about changes to the tenancy arrangement should be recorded in writing, including rent adjustments. An RTA COVID-19 tenancy variation form for general tenancies (18d and 18f) or rooming accommodation (18e) can be used to document the new agreement properly.

    Tenants and property owners should continue negotiating adjustments to manage any COVID-19 impacts on residential tenancy arrangements. The RTA’s free dispute resolution service is available to help parties reach agreement and resolve issues, including about rent and ending agreements.

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

  • Property owners should talk to their financial institution, as they may be able to access mortgage relief.

    The Queensland Government is offering land tax incentives to property owners to maintain tenancies and reduce rent for tenants through rebates or deferrals of land tax liabilities. See more information about available incentives.

    Read more about how the Queensland Government is supporting Queenslanders through COVID-19.

Last updated:
16 September 2020