The Queensland Government has adopted changes to tenancy database laws to give greater protections for tenants while maintaining property owners’ right to protect their investment.

The amendments were passed as part of the Plumbing and Drainage and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2015 in Parliament on Thursday 18 March.

The amendments include:

  • limiting the time a listing can be kept on a database to 3 years
  • requiring property managers/owners to disclose which databases they use to check the rental histories of prospective tenants
  • if there is a listing, requiring property managers/owners to disclose to the prospective tenant:

–   that they are listed on a tenancy database

–   how they can obtain a copy of the listing

–   how they can seek to have the listing amended or removed if they believe it is inaccurate, out of date or unfair

  • requiring the database operator or owner/manager who made the listing to provide a copy of a requested listing to a tenant, and a reasonable fee can be charged.

A Parliamentary Committee had reviewed the legislation and reported back to Parliament on 1 March. You can see a copy of their report here https://www.parliament.qld.gov.au/work-of-committees/committees/TUC/inquiries/past-inquiries/05_PDOLA-Bill-2015.  The Parliamentary Committee recommended additional changes, which were accepted by the Queensland Government and were included in the Bill. These additional changes include:

  • reducing the transition time database companies have to remove old listings to 6 months from the start of the new laws
  • protecting victims of domestic and family violence by allowing the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal to order that their personal information is not listed on tenancy databases where the breach of the tenancy agreement is due to the violence of another person; however, the domestic violence perpetrator can be listed
  • new safeguards to protect against tenancy database listings for relatively small amounts – this will only apply where no bond has been taken and is restricted to listings for amounts greater than 1 week’s rent.

The tenancy databases amendments will commence on proclamation, which is expected to be 1 July 2016.

The RTA will ensure Queensland’s residential rental sector is fully informed about the changes. Also, we will provide you with information to forward to your colleagues and members, as well as suggested examples of text that can be used to fulfil the disclosure requirements listed above. These materials are currently being developed.