According to Suzana Wade of Locate Property, a reputable property management company with firsthand knowledge of the situation, renters are taking “extreme measures” in response to the low vacancy rates.
Suzana Wade a well-known Brisbane real estate expert, has noticed that low vacancy rates are putting pressure on the rental market and making things unfair for renters.
A top real estate expert says that “historically” has recently published at the REIQ means low vacancy rates in Queensland are making it hard for renters to find a place to live because the demand is higher than the supply.
According to Ms. Wade, renters are competing for fewer available properties as a result of the competition.
In a tight rental market, real estate agents or property managers may suggest paying more than the asking rent to get a place to live.
The choice, according to Ms. Wade, was made as a result of Queensland’s “critically low level” vacancy rates, which made things challenging for tenants.
“Although interstate migration has reached very high levels, supply is the real underlying issue here.
Unfortunately, there is a significant mismatch between the amount of rental housing that is available and the demand for it. This problem won’t be solved soon.
Due to a phenomenon called “rental bidding,” potential tenants may haggle back and forth like they’re bidding at an auction.
It often means that the landlord gets a weekly rent payment that is much higher than the price they asked for the house.
Even though it’s against the law in Queensland and most of the other Australian states, Ms. Wade says tenants can still make higher offers as part of their own strategy. Unsolicited offers from tenants trying to secure the property really have become the norm for the more competitive properties.
She said that landlords and property managers can’t ask for more rent, even though tenants are making bigger offers.
Not only are candidates providing more money towards their rent, but they are also providing more money towards their rent upfront or seeking additional methods to stand out.
Of course, that’s just how people are.
When we are desperate to find safety for ourselves and our families, we will look for ways to stand out from the crowd said Suzana.
Unfortunately, this is one of the challenges that we property managers often face and need to address in the day-to-day activities of our role, this article will discuss domestic and family violence and the role that we property managers play in relation to domestic or familial abuse cases under the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008 (Queensland).
The RTRAA was updated on October 20, 2021, to offer better safety protections for tenants and residents who are victims of domestic and familial violence, including the option to leave the rental property right away or, if they so choose, to stay there safely.
Whether or not they are named on the lease agreement, anyone who suffers from domestic or family abuse in a rental property is entitled to the same protections under the RTRAA.
These provisions-related disputes are arbitrated by the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT).
WHAT IS DOMESTIC AND FAMILY VIOLENCE?
Domestic and family violence occurs when one person behaves in a way that the other feels threatened for their safety, well-being, or that of another person. This behavior can take the form of coercion, threats, economic abuse, physical, sexual, emotional, verbal, emotional, or psychological abuse, or it can take any other form that is controlling or domineering.
 The term “domestic and family violence” refers to a variety of behaviors, such as threatening or actually inflicting bodily harm on another person, coercing someone into having sex, robbing them of their property, depriving them of their freedom, or threatening to do any of these things to them, their children, or others. Even threatening to hurt or kill oneself is a form of self-harm.
 If you are a victim of domestic or familial abuse, you have the right to end your lease or roommate agreement with at least seven days’ notice using the appropriate form, and you can do it right away:
If a tenant, the property manager, or lessor shall be served with a Notice of Termination of Tenancy (Domestic and Family Violence) (Form 20) I;
If an occupant is, a notification ending residence interest (domestic and family abuse) (Form R20) must be given to the rooming housing provider.
As proof of domestic or family violence, the following can be used, but they must be submitted with the right form:
An RTA Form Domestic and Family Violence Report that has been completed and signed by an authorized professional who has been designated, such as a doctor, social worker, or lawyer, or a protection order or temporary protection order; a police protection notice; an interstate order; or an injunction for personal protection under the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth).
During this process, property managers and lessors are required to respect an individual’s privacy. This includes keeping any paperwork or evidence private and refraining from disclosing any information to third parties unless specifically authorized (such as to obtain legal counsel or as required by law).
A fine of up to 100 penalty units, or at the moment $14,375, may be imposed on property managers who breach their duty of confidentiality in relation to a victim of domestic and family abuse.
The property manager/lessor is required to confirm in writing, within seven days of receiving a Notice that a tenant intends to vacate a rental home due to domestic and family violence, whether:
If the landlord wants QCAT to throw out the Notice, the property manager or lessor must tell the tenant who is leaving: the date on which the tenant’s interest in the tenancy or residence ends, as long as the tenant has actually left by that date; if the tenancy or rooming accommodation agreement continues for any remaining tenants or occupants; and, if necessary, the date on which the remaining tenants or occupants must leave.
LOSS OF INTEREST
No further action is required if the tenant vacating is the only one residing there. In order to protect their right to privacy as a victim of domestic and family violence, the departing tenant is not required to provide their forwarding address to their property manager or lessor. Property managers/lessors are required to give tenants (or occupants) a Continuing Interest Notice no earlier than seven days and no later than fourteen days after the vacating party’s interest in the rental property expires. The following information must be included in the Continuing Interest Notice: the ending of the vacating person’s interest in the rental property (without disclosing why); the continuation of the tenancy or rooming accommodation agreement on the same terms; and, if necessary, the specifics of a top-up to the rental bond.
It is crucial that property managers and lessors remember throughout this process that they must not disclose that the vacating person has been experiencing domestic and family violence or any other details that may allude to that fact.
APPLICATION TO QCAT
Property managers and lessors should be aware that they can only dispute whether a Notice and the supporting evidence of domestic and family violence met the requirements of the RTRAA by applying to QCAT. For instance, if someone hasn’t offered any proof of domestic or family violence.
The following things won’t be looked into by QCAT: the individual’s history of domestic and family violence; the property manager’s/lessor’s assessment of whether the individual could safely remain at the rental property.
If QCAT does not throw out the Notice, the property manager/lessor will be responsible for fulfilling the obligations for ending that person’s interest in the rental property as described above.
If QCAT rejects the notice, it will no longer be valid, and the terms of the tenancy or rooming agreement will remain the same.
Property managers should follow the standard abandonment procedures if the person is a tenant but still vacates the rental property because that could be considered an abandoned tenancy.
REMAINING IN THE RENTAL PROPERTY
If the victim of domestic and family violence decides to stay at the rental property, they are allowed to change the locks without the property manager’s or lessor’s consent as long as they comply with all applicable body code requirements, use a licensed locksmith, and provide the manager/lessor with a copy of the key or access code (unless they agree it is not necessary or the QCAT orders that the keys not be provided).
Alternatively, the landlord or property manager must act quickly on a request to change the locks made by a victim of domestic or family violence. There are penalties for sharing new keys and access codes without permission or a valid reason, and they must never be done so.
If a tenant or co-tenant does something that is considered domestic or family violence, that person can ask QCAT to recognize them as the tenant or co-tenant instead. The property manager or lessor can attend and be heard at the hearing.
Property managers or lessors must strictly adhere to the RTRAA’s privacy and timeframe requirements in cases where a tenant or occupant is a victim of domestic or family violence.
Given the consequences for failing to fulfill their obligations, it would be best for property management companies and individual property managers to adhere to the Residential Tenancies Authority’s recommended policies and procedures for handling domestic and family violence.
To reduce the risk of RTRAA violations, principals should make sure that property management staff members receive induction and ongoing training.
Property managers are urged to seek legal counsel and as soon as they learn that a tenant or occupant is a victim of domestic or family violence. This will help them manage a very sensitive but important situation and ensure that they are fulfilling their obligations to both the tenant or occupant and their lessor client.
 Domestic and Family Violence Protection Act 2012 (Qld) s. 8(1).
 Domestic and Family Violence Protection Act 2012 (Qld) s. 8(2).
Over the past few months, the Australian real estate market has been on an up-and-down roller coaster, with conflicting signals coming from both property listings and vacancy rates. Even though the vacancy rate went down in February, the number of homes for rent went up by 7.2%, making the rental crisis worse. Both of these trends make the Australian real estate market look complicated and may have big effects on both buyers and renters.
Realestate.com.au’s most recent data show that in February, there were 7.2% more property listings in Australia as a whole. This is a big change from the month before, when the number of listings went down by 4.4%. The recent rise in interest rates has put a lot of stress on homeowners, which has led to a rise in the number of property listings.
Despite an increase in property listings, the rental market faced a different situation. February saw a sharp decline in vacancy rates, making it even more challenging for renters to find affordable housing. SQM Research says that the national vacancy rate for rentals dropped from 2.2% in January to 1.9% in February. The rental crisis in Australia is getting worse, and this represents the lowest vacancy rate since 2011.
The main causes of the rental crisis that has been getting worse for a while are a lack of affordable housing and a rise in the number of people moving to big cities to find work. The COVID-19 pandemic has also made things worse because many renters are finding it difficult to pay their rent because of lost jobs and income. These elements working together have increased demand for rental properties, but the supply has not kept up, pushing up prices and making it challenging for many renters to find a place to live.
Both renters and the larger real estate market are experiencing significant effects of the rental crisis. Renters will face higher costs, more competition, and a greater chance of being priced out of the market.
Overall, the conflicting information about the Australian real estate market creates a confusing picture for both buyers and renters. Even though the increase in real estate listings might help buyers in the short term, the worsening rental crisis could cause rents to go up even more and make it harder to find a place to live. As the market keeps changing, it’s important for both buyers and renters to stay up-to-date and ready for any changes that may come up.
The most important thing is knowing your tenant’s rights and responsibilities. If a tenant breaks a lease, they may be liable for rent until their new tenancy begins or until the end of the term, whichever occurs first. Keep in mind that if a renter breaks their rental agreement with you before it expires.
Breaking a lease is not something that most tenants want to do, but sometimes it happens. If you are considering breaking your lease for any reason here’s what you need to know:
– Lease termination fees will vary based on the terms of the original agreement and other factors such as how much notice is required before moving out. Giving your property manager as much notice as possible will help minimize the costs. Communication is your best friend. The more you communicate the less likely there will be down the road.
– Lease termination fees are typically non-refundable and payable in full to cover any losses incurred by your early departure. You will not be able to transfer this fee or apply it towards future rent payments, for example.
– It is important to remember that breaking a lease can have serious consequences on your TICA file. Lease violations are considered to be serious and may result in the termination of your tenancy affect your ability to be approved
– Lease break fees can range from $150-$1500 depending on whether you’re breaking an apartment lease or house rental agreement. If you don’t know how much it will cost where you live, ask us for your current property manager.
The RTA offers a Lease Breaking Calculator to help you estimate the cost.
You can find that here https://www.rta.qld.gov.au/
According to another AMA report, 31% of pet owners are willing to pay extra for the privilege of having one in their rented property.
Recent Changes in Rental Laws Affecting Pets
Recently laws have been passed that ease the process of keeping pets for tenants.
However, the process as it currently stands is tedious and runs the risk of ruining a tenants’ relationship with their landlord and property manager.
Pets Do Cause Damage
There is no point sidestepping this; pets will inevitably cause damage to the property. However, this factor is diminished when you have strong tenants who have a history of acting responsibly.
Rewarding Landlords Who Allow Pets
It will be a win-win for all the stakeholders if we manage to create incentives for landlords to allow tenants to keep pets.
The extra rent tenants are willing to pay for pets will easily cover the cost incurred by our furry friends damaging the property.
Seize the Opportunity
Attention landlords, there is an opportunity to provide a pet-friendly rental property in Queensland, Australia.
Rental properties that allow pets might experience fewer vacancies since the demand for properties might be less than the supply because of the economic downturn.
Pet Owners Earn a Higher Income
According to the Animal Medicine Australia report, 68% of pet owners earn in the $70,000 – $100,000 bracket. A well-settled tenant will not only pay more rent but will also submit it on time regularly. Pet owners are more likely to stay longer.
They tend to earn well and are looking for an excellent place to settle in. Young people without pets are moving around more often—tenants living long-term increases a landlord’s revenue since it equates to less vacancy.
Some Tenants Hide Pets Anyway
Some tenants will attempt to hide pets. Accepting this and declaring your property a pet-friendly zone will help you expand your potential tenant base.
Screen Bad Pet Owners
There is no denying that pets can be a potential liability to your property. What we offer at Locate Property is professional screening of all prospective tenants, using our years of first-hand experience to make sure your tenants respect your property as their own.
We will sift through the wide array of candidates and single out the lousy pet owners for exclusion. We are cautious with our process and ensure the tenant selected is responsible for a properly trained pet.
We take reference letters from previous landlords and property managers into the equation. Rest assured, we will find the perfect tenant who is responsible for his or her pet.
Pet Clauses in Leases and Rental Agreement
Pet clauses can be added to ensure that any damage caused by pets is reimbursed by the tenant himself to the landlord. This keeps the landlords’ property value intact, and he doesn’t have to face losses in repairing damages to the property.
Landlord / Rental Insurance
The landlord or the tenant can get potential pet damages covered by their insurance. This will further mitigate the risk of allowing tenants to keep pets.
“The new law might force you to allow pets in certain circumstances“
Landlords are wary of the new rule, and I understand the skepticism. It’s best to get ahead of the problem and tackle it head-on.
Anticipating and engaging the market is your best bet as a landlord. A lot of landlords are considering increasing the rent in anticipation of the inevitable damage caused to the property by pets.
It is best to include pet clauses to cover damage in the lease and hire a good property manager to screen irresponsible pet owners.