Residential tenancy disputes

QCAT decides a range of residential tenancy disputes.

Current status of QCAT Residential Tenancy Disputes

Residential tenancy disputes are dealt with by QCAT under the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008. In regional Queensland, the Magistrates Court deals with these disputes, acting as QCAT.

On 29 September 2020, the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation (COVID-19 Emergency Response) Amendment Regulation 2020 (RTRA Amendment Regulation) commenced, amending the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation (COVID-19 Emergency Response) Regulation 2020.

Updated 21 April 2021:

The COVID-19 Emergency Response and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2021 was passed on 20 April 2021. It amends the COVID-19 Emergency Response Act 2020 to make the expiry date of COVID-19 legislation as 30 September 2021, as opposed to 30 April 2021. This means that those COVID-19 arrangements currently in place as a result of the COVID-19 Emergency Response Act 2020 have been extended until 30 September 2021.

Protections that continue to apply until 30 September 2021, include:

  • provisions allowing tenants experiencing domestic and family violence to end their tenancies quickly;
  • protections for tenants against being listed in a tenancy database for rent arrears caused by COVID-19 impacts;
  • limits on re-letting costs for eligible tenants who end their fixed term lease early;
  • short term tenancy statement extensions for moveable dwellings;
  • entry restrictions and requirements to support COVID-19 social distancing measures;
  • relaxed repair and maintenance obligations.

Further information can be found on the Residential Tenancies Authority, by phoning 1300 366 311 between 8.30am and 5pm Monday to Friday, or by visiting their website at rta.qld.gov.au.

Alternatively, you can visit the Queensland Government’s Residential Rental Hub, which is available online at www.covid19.qld.gov.au/the-hub.

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.

In deciding tenancy disputes, QCAT has a monetary limit of $25,000 (excluding interest).

If your claim amount is over $25,000 (excluding interest), you can apply to have your dispute determined through the relevant court.

Decision amount

Relevant court

Up to and including $150,000

Magistrates Court

From $150,000 up to $750,000

District Court

More than $750,000

Supreme Court

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.

Fees for residential tenancy disputes

Applications or referrals under: Application fee Leave to appeal / Appeal fee
Not more than $500, or no amount claimed $27.90 (not payable by State-related person*) $358.00
More than $500 but not more than $1,000 $71.65 (not payable by State-related person*) $358.00
More than $1,000 but not more than $10,000 $127.50 (not payable by State-related person*) $358.00
More than $10,000 $358.00 (not payable by State-related person*) $716.10

* State-related person means (a) the Sovereign; or (b) the State or a person acting for the State; or (c) an entity whose expenditure is payable, in whole or in part, out of the consolidated fund or a person acting for the entity.

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