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A person may enter into a Residential Tenancy Agreement in order to rent in Queensland. The agreement may be oral or in writing, although it is strongly recommended that tenants enter into a written agreement which will provide a clear record of your rights and obligations as a tenant. A Residential Tenancy Agreement is a contract that will state the terms of your rental, such as the duration and rent payable.
Age is not be a restriction to renting in Queensland. A person under 18 years of age will be bound by a Residential Tenancy Agreement as if the agreement had been entered into by an adult.
Parents have a legal responsibility for their children until they are 18 years of age. Your parents have the responsibility of ensuring that you have a safe place to live. If you leave home before you turn 18, your parents may seek assistance from the police or the Queensland Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services to have you return home. Whether you are likely to be required to move back home will be dependent upon many factors. You will not be required to return home if it is unsafe for you to do so.
A landlord cannot discriminate against a potential tenant on the basis of age. A landlord may, however, have a number of reasons for rejecting an application for tenancy. It may therefore be difficult to prove that you have been discriminated against on the basis of age. You may lodge a complaint with either the Anti-Discrimination Commission of Queensland or the Australian Human Rights Commission if you believe you have been discriminated against.
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People under the age of 18 sometimes have difficulty finding a landlord that is willing to rent them their property. They may be worried that you will damage the property or cannot afford the rent. Here are some things to include in an application for rent that may help your application:
A landlord may ask you to pay up to 4 weeks rent as a Bond upon entering into a lease. This will provide the landlord with security in case you breach your rental agreement in certain ways, such as by not paying your rent. The landlord is required to deposit the bond with the Residential Tenancies Authority, who will hold the money until you or the landlord makes a claim for the bond to be paid. Usually the bond money will be returned to the tenant at the end of the lease. Your landlord can also ask you to pay up to 1 months rent in advance, which is often called a ‘holding deposit’.
You and your landlord must first complete the Exit Condition Report which will be compared against the Entry Condition Report.
Then, there are two ways you can get your Bond back after your tenancy agreement has ended:
Your landlord can make a claim for any intentional, negligent or irresponsible damage you have caused. They cannot make a claim for “fair wear and tear”.
Fair wear and tear includes:
Damage that you may be responsible for includes:
You have 14 days to respond to the claim – try to get your landlord to change their mind or lodge a claim with QCAT.
If things do go to a hearing, make sure you have evidence to respond to your landlord’s claim. Tell QCAT if you didn’t get an official condition report, you disagree with what’s written in it or that you didn’t get to go to the final inspection.
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Your landlord must make sure the property is reasonably clean, provide quiet enjoyment of the property and make sure the property is in good repair.
You must allow the landlord to enter when they have the right to, not cause a nuisance or disrupt neighbours, not damage the property or allow damage by anyone you allow on your property, tell the landlord as soon as possible if the property is damaged, keep the property in a reasonably clean condition and not make changes to the property without permission from your landlord.
If either you or your landlord do not do all the things you are responsible for, the other person may be able to terminate the tenancy, request compensation or apply for a Tribunal order to make the person in breach fulfil their responsibilities. Even if your landlord fails to fulfil their responsibilities, you should keep paying rent, otherwise they may terminate your tenancy agreement.
Landlords can increase your rent but there are certain rules they must follow. If they do not follow the rules, then you do not have to pay the increase. The rules are:
your landlord cannot increase the rent more than once every 6 months.
You can challenge the rent increase by making a request to the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (you must make a request within 30 days after the landlord has let you know of the increase). However, if the landlord has complied with the rules above, you should pay the increased amount even if you are in the middle of challenging it. If your challenge is successful, your landlord may be made to return your money.
If you are 7 days late on rent, your landlord may notify you and give you 7 days to pay. If you do not pay in that time, your landlord can notify you in writing to leave the property within another 7 days.
Co-tenancy is when there are two or more tenants who have signed the same lease. If you are Co-Tenants then you will be Jointly and Severally Liable under that agreement. This means that if you leave before your lease is up but your name remains on the tenancy agreement, you may still be liable for the rent payments. You should make sure that you let your landlord know in writing if you leave, so your name can be removed from the lease.
Your responsibilities as a Co-Tenant include:
Therefore you can be required to pay for rent and damage to the property and/or be evicted even if you haven’t done anything wrong.
Sub-tenancy is when one or more of the tenants are the Head-Tenant and the others are the Sub-Tenant. Only the Head-Tenants’ name(s) will be on the lease. The Head-Tenant is responsible for all the actions of the Sub-Tenant. The Head-Tenant becomes the landlord for the Sub-Tenant and will be responsible for all the things a landlord is responsible for. A tenant cannot sub-let the property without the landlord’s written consent.
There are five ways of ending your lease in Queensland: by correctly notifying your landlord at the end of your Fixed Term Agreement or during your Periodic Agreement, by coming to written agreement with your landlord to end your lease, through an application to the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal to Terminate the agreement for specific reasons, by transferring your lease to another person and by breaching the terms of your tenancy agreement.
The easiest way to end your Lease is to provide your Landlord with a valid Notice of Intention to Leave without ground using Form 13. If you are in a Periodic Agreement with your landlord, you can end your lease at any time but must give your notice at least 2 weeks before you intend to leave. If you are in a Fixed Term Agreement, you will need to give your Landlord at least 2 weeks’ notice before the end of the term.
Note that you will be required to return all keys to the property, ensure that the property is in relatively the same condition as it was when you moved in, and complete the Exit Condition Report and Refund of Rental Bond forms. You should provide your Exit Condition Report to your landlord and your refund of rental bond form should be lodged with the Residential Tenancies Authority.
If you can come to a Mutual Termination Agreement with your Landlord, your lease may be ended at any time, regardless of whether it is a Fixed Term Tenancy Agreement or Periodic Tenancy Agreement. The only requirement is that the agreement must be made in writing and be signed by both you and your landlord. It should detail relevant information, such as when you will leave the premises, if and how the bond will be refunded, and whether any outstanding rent needs to be paid.
You may make an application to QCAT to have your tenancy agreement terminated in certain circumstances. These include situations where:
You may be able to end your Lease if you are able to find another person who is willing to fulfil it and your landlord gives their written approval. You may also apply to QCAT to have the transfer implemented if your landlord unreasonably withholds their approval.
If you have paid a bond, you will also be required to submit a Change of Bond Contributors form to the Residential Tenancy Authority. You, the person you are transferring your lease to and your landlord must sign this form.
As a final option, you can breach your tenancy agreement. Breaching your tenancy agreement will probably result in you having to pay your Landlord compensation for the cost to re-let the property and losses from unpaid rent.
In order to breach your agreement, you will need to notify your Landlord of your intentions by providing them with a Notice of Intention to Leave without ground using Form 13. It is recommended that you give your landlord as much notice as possible, and try to negotiate a Mutual Termination Agreement before the proposed leaving date. If you are unable to do so, you can breach your Lease by vacating the property and returning your keys. Note, however, that your Landlord may take action in QCAT to recover any loss that they incur as a result of finding a new tenant.
The landlord can sell or dispose goods if their market value is less than $1500, storage is unhealthy, storage will cause the market value to be reduced or storage/removal will cost more than what the goods are worth. If your goods do not meet this description, they will be stored safely. The owner must allow you to collect your goods if you give them written notice and they must not sell/dispose of them for 1-3 months (depending on the nature of the items).. If you leave behind personal documents such as a passport, photographs, your birth certificate or money, your landlord must return them to you within 7 days after your tenancy agreement ends. If they can’t locate you, your landlord must give your items to the Public Trustee.
Blacklisting is a process that involves a tenant being added to a Tenancy Database. A Tenancy Database may include information about you as a tenant that might make it harder for you to rent a property in the future.
You may be added to the tenancy database if, according to the tenancy agreement, you are the tenant and:
Your landlord must inform you if they want to put your name on a Tenancy Database and give you at least 14 days to review the information and object to the accuracy, completeness and clarity of the information. A landlord considering your application who comes across your name on a database must also tell you.
You can request the tenancy database listing to be changed or removed. Write to your landlord using this sample.
If that doesn’t work, you can appeal to QCAT.You can appeal to QCAT if the listing is more than 3 years old. You can also appeal to QCAT if you think the listing is unjust, inaccurate, incomplete, ambiguous or out of date (you have repaid the Bond difference or QCAT’s termination order wasn’t enforced). QCAT may then order for the listing to be removed or changed.
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