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Karen Stehr Property

In September 2018, the Department of Housing and Public Works, in partnership with the Residential Tenancies Authority (RTA), launched its state-wide Open Doors to Renting Reform consultation program.

The Queensland community enthusiastically embraced the Open Doors to Renting Reform consultation, with over 130,000 responses received during the nine-week consultation phase.

Tenants, property owners, property managers, and other key stakeholders all shared their experiences of living in, owning or managing rental properties and had their say on how to improve renting in Queensland. Naturally, I felt my opinion on a number of key issues was important enough to share, so I have participated in the consultation program with my aim to try to bring a more realistic balance to the industry. I also touched on the QCAT process (The Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal) . QCAT is an independent, accessible tribunal that should efficiently resolve disputes on a range of matters. The tribunal's purpose is to provide a quick, inexpensive avenue to resolve disputes between parties and make decisions however there is no consistency to the decisions made by each individual adjudicator handed the task. One of my main examples of the need to review certain principles within QCAT was a small change to the release of bond monies. Should a tenant cause damage to a property, lets say, paint all over newly laid carpet which would require total replacement at an amount of $2000.00. Currently QCAT would not release the bond monies to the owner unless the work had been completed i.e. unless an invoice was provided and not just a quote.

I consider, if the damage has been proven by the Agent or Lessor to have been carried out by the tenant, the lessor is not in a financial position to complete the work without the bond monies being released but can provide perhaps 3 quotes to have the work done .. then bond monies should be released to the lessor as compensation to rectify the condition of the property given that it was not in the condition upon the tenants entry.

The Residential Tenancies Authority defines the meaning of BOND as ... " A rental bond is money paid by the tenant at the start of a tenancy agreement. It is used as financial protection for the lessor in case the tenant breaches the terms of the agreement "

I therefore provided my feedback to the consultation program that lessors should not have to provide an invoice for a breach in the agreement resulting in the lessor suffering financial loss if adequate information has been provided as to the request for compensation or rectification.

A number of participants shared their views through surveys, online snap polls, discussion forums, social media, written submissions and face-to-face consultation events held throughout the state. The consultation covered a wide variety of renting-related topics, including making a house a home, property condition, security versus flexibility, better protections, and the looking and leasing rental cycle.

The information and feedback gathered during the consultation phase is to be analysed to hopefully help shape the future direction of renting in Queensland.

Karen Stehr

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