Skip links and keyboard navigation

Residential tenancy disputes

Residential tenancy disputes

What is a residential tenancy dispute?

QCAT decides a range of residential tenancy disputes between:

  • tenants, and landlords (lessors) or agents related to rents, bonds, holding deposits, service charges, standard of premises, entry onto the premises, locks and keys, relocation of moveable dwellings, moveable dwelling park rules, tenants' transfer or sub-letting, termination of tenancy agreements, compensation, exclusion of persons from moveable dwelling parks, tenancy databases and other disputes
  • residents and providers of, or agents for,
    rooming accommodation agreements, rental bonds, payments, house rule changes, abandoned goods and documents left behind, applications to end agreements and other disputes.

How can I resolve the dispute?

First, determine if your dispute is classed as an urgent or non-urgent tenancy dispute. If your dispute is not listed as an urgent dispute type it will be decided as a non-urgent dispute.

If your dispute is classed as urgent you do not have to attempt steps 1 or 2 below - you can apply directly to QCAT to resolve your dispute. You may still choose to use the Residential Tenancies Authority’s (RTA's) dispute resolution service before applying to QCAT.

For all non-urgent disputes you should follow this three step process:

Step 1
Try to resolve your dispute directly with the other party by calling them, holding a face-to-face meeting or writing to them. Visit the RTA's website to access a range of helpful tenancy publications and tenancy support organisations.

Step 2
If your dispute is still unresolved, contact the RTA to resolve your dispute through their Dispute Resolution Service. This service uses conciliation to find an agreement that suits all parties. Conciliation may be conducted:

  • over the phone where the conciliator (an independent person attempting to resolve your dispute) holds separate phone conversations with each party, or
  • by a three way teleconference, or
  • by a face-to-face conference.

The RTA successfully resolves the majority of disputes through conciliation, as stated in the authority's annual report. The conciliator will make a written record of any agreements that are reached and these then become part of your tenancy or rooming accommodation agreement.

If the matter is not resolved through step 2, the RTA will issue a Notice of Unresolved Dispute and you may proceed to step 3.

Step 3
Apply to QCAT to resolve your dispute. If your dispute is a non-urgent dispute you cannot apply until you have completed step 2 and received a Notice of Unresolved Dispute from the RTA.

Descriptions of QCAT's jurisdiction on this website are general information only. They do not definitively describe the types of applications on which QCAT can make decisions. The relevant legislation determines QCAT's jurisdiction. If you are unsure about your legal rights, you should seek legal advice. Your individual circumstances should guide any actions taken to resolve your dispute.

We cannot provide legal advice

As part of an independent tribunal, QCAT registry staff cannot provide legal advice.

Registry staff can explain and answer questions about how QCAT works and its processes.

Registry staff cannot help with:

* whether or not you should submit an application
* whether your application is under the correct jurisdiction
* if you should lodge an appeal or a counter-application
* recommending a specific lawyer to assist you
* how to word your application, supporting documents or what to say at a proceeding
* contacting a QCAT member or adjudicator directly
* predicting likely outcomes of a case or appeal
* helping you to prepare your case
* advising what orders/decisions you should seek
* explaining what you should do to follow QCAT directions
* enforcing an order or decision of the tribunal
* advising exact timeframes for resolution of a matter – this depends on your individual matter.

Last reviewed
29 November 2017
Last updated
29 November 2017

Rate this page

  1. How useful was the information on this page?