Understanding the Changes: Minimum Housing Standards in Queensland, Australia
Industry Updates

Understanding the Changes: Minimum Housing Standards in Queensland, Australia

Understanding QLD's new housing standards and the Building Inspection App's supportive role.

June 8, 2023

Industry Update: Minimum Housing Standards - QLD

The construction industry is ever-evolving, with regulations and standards consistently updating to align with emerging trends and societal demands. For building inspectors in Queensland, Australia staying updated with these changes is crucial. One such impending change is the new 'Minimum Housing Standards - QLD' that will affect all rental properties. 

This update will be enforced for new tenancies from 1st September 2023 and applicable to all tenancies from 1st September 2024. As a building inspector, understanding and adapting to these changes is not only a regulatory requirement but also a service value that you bring to your clients.

These new housing standards aim to improve the quality of living in rental properties and safeguard the interests of tenants. They encapsulate several aspects of a rental property to ensure it is safe, comfortable, and of high standard. Here are the key requirements of the Minimum Housing Standards:

  1. Structural Integrity and Weatherproof: The rental property must be weatherproof and structurally sound, ensuring it's safe for occupants in all weather conditions.
  2. Repair and Safety: The property, including all fixtures and fittings, must be in good repair. It's vital to ensure that the electrical appliances and other fixtures are not likely to cause injury through normal use.
  3. Security: All external doors and windows that can be reached without a ladder must have functioning locks or latches, ensuring the security of the tenants.
  4. Vermin, Damp and Mould: Rental properties must be free from vermin, damp, and mould. However, this does not include cases where the tenant has caused these conditions.
  5. Privacy: The property must include curtains or other window coverings in rooms where privacy is expected, such as bedrooms.
  6. Plumbing and Drainage: The property must have adequate plumbing and drainage and be connected to hot and cold water suitable for drinking.
  7. Bathroom and Kitchen Facilities: Rental properties must provide privacy in bathroom areas and have flushable toilets connected to a sewer, septic tank, or other waste disposal system. If a kitchen is provided, it must have a functioning cooktop.
  8. Laundry Facilities: If laundry facilities are provided, the property should include necessary fixtures such as tap fixtures and adequate plumbing. A washing machine or other white goods need not be included as these may be provided by the tenant.

Understanding these standards is crucial as you prepare your inspection reports for rental properties under the new regulations. But that's not all. There are more details and intricacies to these standards, which lead to some common questions.

Common Questions about the New Minimum Housing Standards

Does a rental property need to meet minimum housing standards from 1 September 2023 if an existing tenant renews their tenancy after that date?
Absolutely. The introduction of minimum housing standards from 1 September 2023 applies to all new tenancy agreements. This means even if a tenancy agreement is being renewed with the same occupants, the standards must be met.

What does weatherproof and structurally sound mean in the context of these new standards?When the new standards refer to a property being weatherproof, it means that the structure, including the roof and windows, should be able to prevent rainwater from entering the premises. 'Structurally sound' indicates that the property must be safe for occupation - the walls, ceilings, and roofs should be in good condition without any risk of collapse or significant dampness. Also, other structures such as decks and stairs should be safe, free from rot or defects.

Will all external doors and windows need to have locks or latches for the property to meet minimum housing standards?
To align with the minimum housing standards, all external windows and doors in a property must have functioning locks or latches to secure against unauthorized entry. However, this only applies to windows and doors that can be accessed from outside the property or room (for rooming accommodation) without a ladder. Each property should be evaluated individually to ensure safety and security as per the legislation's requirements.

Will every room in the rental property need to have a blind, curtain, or other privacy covering to meet minimum housing standards?
Privacy coverings such as blinds, curtains, tinted windows, or glass frosting must be provided in rooms where a tenant might reasonably expect privacy, like bedrooms. However, if a window is blocked from outside view by a fence, hedge, tree, or other property feature, privacy coverings are not required.

Who is responsible for mould, damp, or vermin during a tenancy?
Should issues like mould, damp, or vermin arise during the tenancy, the tenant should inform the property manager/owner promptly. If the issue is due to structural problems with the property, the property manager/owner is responsible for resolving it and carrying out any necessary repairs. Examples include mould due to a leaky roof or a termite infestation in the walls.

However, if these issues are caused by the tenant's actions, it falls on the tenant to rectify. For example, if mould develops because the tenant failed to ventilate or clean the bathroom properly, or if vermin infestation occurs because the tenant's actions attracted the animals to the property.

Preparing for the Changes: What Building Inspectors Need to Do

With these significant changes on the horizon, building inspectors need to equip themselves to meet the new requirements. We have noticed that real estate agents have already started inquiring about the Minimum Housing Standards Inspection Reports. Hence, being proactive and prepared for this new regulation is not only recommended but essential.

Familiarity with the minimum housing standards and an understanding of the implications for inspection routines are crucial steps in this preparation. Here's what you need to do to get prepared:

Understand the New Standards in Detail: Make sure to thoroughly comprehend the new minimum housing standards. They cover several aspects from structural soundness to damp, mould and vermin control, privacy coverings, and functional utilities. Each one of these standards has nuances that inspectors need to be aware of.

Update Inspection Checklists and Reports: Building inspection reports or forms, often referred to as "checklists", need to be updated in line with the new standards. This includes revising all the criteria and aspects to be inspected to ensure they're compliant with the new legislation. This step ensures your inspection processes are updated and can effectively identify any issues that contravene the new standards.

NOTE: The Building Inspection App includes the updated Minimum Housing Standards inspection report as a ready-to-use template, ensuring effortless compliance with the new standards.

Undertake Additional Training: Additional training might be necessary to effectively implement the new standards. Look out for professional development opportunities, webinars, workshops or training sessions relating to the new standards. This not only helps in understanding the nuances of the changes but also ensures you can provide an expert service to your clients.

Communicate the Changes: Your clients need to be aware of the new changes as well. Make it a point to communicate these changes to property owners, tenants, and property management agencies. Highlight the changes, what they mean, and how they will impact existing and future tenancies.

Leverage the Right Tools: Consider using advanced inspection tools, such as the Building Inspection App powered by Formitize, that are updated to reflect the new standards. These tools streamline the process, ensure nothing is overlooked, and provide a comprehensive report that aligns with the new legislation. 

Preparing in advance ensures that you are ready to meet these new standards head-on, provide high-quality service to their clients, and remain compliant with the changing regulations. This proactive approach is vital in today's dynamic real estate market, and the steps outlined above will help you get ready for the changes set to take effect from 1 September 2023.

Next, let's look at how the Building Inspection App can help facilitate these changes.

Special Announcement for Existing Building Inspection App Users

We understand that industry updates can often require additional tools and resources to maintain compliance. That's why, for our existing Building Inspection App users, we've got some great news. In anticipation of the "Minimum housing standards - QLD," we've developed a tailored report specifically designed to address these new standards.

This report, available directly within the App, is structured to cover all the new requirements ensuring your inspections remain thorough, compliant, and as efficient as ever. And the best part? This report will be automatically added to your Building Inspection App account. This means you'll have immediate access to this new tool and can start preparing for the implementation of the new standards right away.

Not an Existing User? We're Here to Help

If you're not currently using the Building Inspection App but recognize the value it can bring in managing these new industry standards, don't worry. Our team is ready to assist you.

We can guide you through the process of setting up your account, and show you how to make the most of all the features the App offers, including the newly added report tailored to the "Minimum housing standards - QLD."

You can get in touch with our team for assistance, or if you prefer, you can get started for free today.

The Building Inspection App is more than just a tool - it's a smart business solution designed to empower building inspectors to adapt to industry changes, streamline operations, and provide exceptional service. No matter what changes the industry faces, we're committed to supporting our users every step of the way.

Adapting to Change with the Building Inspection App

The digital age brings dynamic shifts to various industries, including building inspection. The Building Inspection App, powered by Formitize, aids inspectors in navigating these changes, such as the new minimum housing standards in QLD, offering:

Customizable Inspection Reports: Adjust your inspection checklists to meet the new standards seamlessly. The App's intuitive interface allows easy revision of inspection criteria for comprehensive inspections.

Efficient Record Keeping: Capture vital data including photographic evidence, notes on potential issues, or compliance confirmations, all stored within the App.

Clear Communication: Generate and share professional reports directly from the App, fostering transparency about a property's compliance with new standards.

Accessible Training and Support: Get up-to-date with industry changes and maximize your use of the App through Formitize's extensive support.

Future-Proof: The App is designed to evolve with changing industry regulations, assuring its enduring value in delivering high-quality service.

The Queensland, Australia Minimum Housing Standards bring notable changes for building inspectors. With the Building Inspection App, you can ensure readiness to navigate these changes, providing indispensable service in the real estate market.

Helpful Resources and Further Information

For further information and comprehensive understanding of the "Minimum housing standards - QLD" legislation, we recommend visiting the following links:

As building inspectors, keeping up-to-date with industry changes is essential for providing accurate and compliant service. Bookmark this page and the above resources and refer to them regularly as you adjust to the new standards.

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