Residential tenancy disputes

QCAT decides a range of residential tenancy disputes.

Changes to tenancy laws

From 1 October 2022, the following changes take effect:

  • a framework to negotiate renting with pets
  • changes to approved reasons for ending a tenancy
  • changes to QCAT repair order provisions

Changes relating to minimum housing standards will take effect from 1 September 2023. Further information relating to this change will be made available on the QCAT website closer to the date.

For further information about the tenancy law changes, please visit the Residential Tenancies Authority website.

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

Application fee
$28.60–$367.00 depending on amount claimed

For the full list of fees visit the Residential tenancy fees listing.

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