Rights for Renters

Rights for Renters

Not everyone can afford to buy a house, but we all deserve a place to call home.

We’re a state of renters

Over one third of Queenslanders are now renters and that number is growing everyday. In places like Brisbane and Cairns more people rent than have a mortgage or own outright.

Rent vs. Mortgage vs. Own in major Queensland centres
 

Rents are growing faster than wages

In every single major population centre in Queensland rents have grown faster than median wages over the last 10 years.

Percentage increase from 2006 to 2016 of median weekly rent vs. median weekly household income in Queensland
 

Something’s gotta give

As Queenslanders continue to be locked out of the housing market, a greater proportion of people are choosing renting as a long term solution to housing.

However, Queensland’s current rental laws prevent people from treating their rental accommodation as a safe and secure home. How are you meant to raise a family or establish yourself in a community when your security doesn’t extend beyond one year? Apart from short fixed term leases tenants are vulnerable to unregulated rent increases at the end of every fixed term lease.

The Queensland Greens believe every person deserves a home - regardless of whether they own or rent.
 

We need Rights for Renters

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Lease Security

All tenants will have access to unlimited leases, which can only be terminated with 12 months notice by the landlord, and only on reasonable grounds. These reasonable grounds include the landlord or their family member wanting to live in the property themselves, or a landlord wishing to make 'appropriate commercial use' of the land. However, ‘commercial use’ does not include the landlord wishing to sell the property. In this instance, the tenant has a right to continue their lease in the event that someone else purchases the property. Where there is a serious breach of the lease, such as non-payment of rent, the landlord may terminate with 3 months notice.

The tenant may terminate the lease by giving 3 month's notice.

The use of fixed term leases will be limited to instances where a tenant explicitly requests one or where the landlord can prove that they have future legitimate uses for the property.

Unlimited leases are the most common form of lease agreement in Berlin. Germany has one of the highest percentage of renters in Europe.

money

Rent Controls

Landlords may only increase rents every 24 months outside of fixed term leases and only by a rate as determined by the Residential Tenancy Authority (RTA). The RTA will base rent increases upon the consumer price index and median wage growth. This way, rent increases will be limited to what people can actually afford.

Similar forms of rent controls have been successfully implemented in Paris.

paint roller

Minor Renovations

Tenants will be given the right to make minor renovations to their property without permission from the landlord, including putting nails in the wall, painting rooms or putting up shelving.

toilet

Minimum Standards

Landlords will be required to maintain a property to a certain set of specific minimum standards prior to and during the tenancy. The specific standards include:

  • Be weatherproof and structurally sound
  • Have a functioning, flushable toilet properly connected to a sewer or septic system in a suitable, ventilated room
  • Have a private bathroom with a washbasin, shower, bath or both, all connected to a reasonable supply of hot and cold water
  • A designated kitchen area with a functioning sink, stovetop and oven
  • Dwellings must have adequate ventilation, and appropriate cooling and heating systems where this is not possible
pets

Ban no-pet clauses

Tenants will have the right to have a pet in their rental property and landlords will be prohibited from including any sort of ‘no-pet’ clause in lease contracts.

These ideas have already worked around the world (and even in Australia)

 

Where in the world
have these ideas been implemented?

Unlimited Leases

German flag 

In Berlin unlimited tenancies are the most common form of tenancy. Unlimited leases have proved successful in allowing many Germans to treat renting as a viable long term option.

Germany has the lowest percentage of home ownership in Europe (43%) and some of the highest levels of housing satisfaction, with 93% of people saying they are happy in their housing situation (OECD).

Rent Controls

French flag Dutch flag 

Countries around the world employ various forms of rent controls and caps to ensure rents remain affordable.

In Paris rent increases are linked to a composite rent reference index — the Indice de Référence des Loyers (IRL). This is based 60% on the consumer price index, 20% on the construction cost index and 20% on an index tracking landlords’ estimated costs for management and repair.

While in the Netherlands rents are capped at a certain amount to avoid abusive rent increases.

Right to a pet

Australian flag 

In Victoria the state government recently touted possible changes to rental laws to prohibit ‘no-pet’ clauses in residential leases.

Right to minor improvements

French flag Swedish flag Italian flag

In France, Sweden, and Italy tenants have the right to make minor alterations and improvements to the property without asking the landlord's permission. This includes painting walls and putting nails in the wall.

Minimum conditions

Australian flag 

Tasmania recently introduced a clear set of minimum conditions that the landlord or real estate agent must ensure are adhered to before and during the lease. By explicitly detailing the standards the property should be kept to, Tasmania has ensured that there is no room for interpretation around maintenance of the property.