April 16, 2013

The importance of understanding special terms in a lease agreement - and not contracting out

Brisbane agency fined - illegal special terms

Directors of a Brisbane real estate agency have been fined $4,200 each after pleading guilty to charges of including unlawful special terms in tenancy agreements.

The series of illegal special terms used by the agency contravened the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008 (the Act). 
The illegal terms included requiring the tenant agree to:
  • the agent holding open houses in the rented property
  • the agent entering the property without notice at the end of a tenancy
  • have carpets shampooed every 6 months
  • pay for repairs and maintenance which could generally be considered fair wear and tear
  • give 6 weeks notice of their intention to end the tenancy, instead of the required 2 weeks notice.
All these terms are an offence under Queensland tenancy laws.

The agency also included terms in the rental contracts which allowed rent to be increased during a fixed term tenancy at the discretion of the lessor.

They also imposed set fees on tenants for re-letting and adverting costs.

The illegal terms reduced lessors’ obligations to mitigate their loss if a tenant ended a fixed term tenancy early and they reduced the lessors’ maintenance obligations.

In 2011, the same company directors were each fined $3000 after pleading guilty to similar charges.

directly sourced from www.rta.qld.gov.au April May 2013 Open House newsletter

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