Residential tenancy disputes

QCAT decides a range of residential tenancy disputes.

Housing Legislation Amendment Bill 2021

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.

The Housing Legislation Amendment Act 2021 amends the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008 and Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Regulation 2009 by:

  • improving transparency around managing tenancies and ending tenancies fairly.
  • improving protections for vulnerable tenants and residents, including people experiencing domestic and family violence to provide more certainty for tenants and lessors to manage their tenancy arrangements.
  • establishing Minimum Housing Standards for rental accommodation to ensure risks to occupant health and safety are minimised; and strengthen existing obligations around repairs and maintenance under the RTRA Act to support enforcement of existing tenancy rights and minimum housing standards for rental accommodation.
  • supporting parties to reach agreement on renting with pets by requiring tenants to have lessor consent to keep a pet at the rental property and limiting lessor discretion to refuse these requests to prescribed reasonable grounds and allowing their approval to be subject to reasonable conditions agreed with the tenant.

The Housing Legislation Amendment Act 2021 was assented to on 20 October 2021, with the domestic and family violence provisions commencing immediately (on assent). The pet and ending tenancy reforms will commence 1 October 2022.

For more information about these changes, visit the following:

Date set for remaining Stage 1 Rental Reforms to commence - Ministerial Media Statements

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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