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 22 April 2020, the Queensland Parliament’s Legislative Assembly passed the COVID-19 Emergency Response Act and the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation (COVID-19 Emergency Response) Regulation 2020.
The Act and Regulation received assent on 24 April and the laws are now in effect.
In broad terms, the Regulation:
- Declares a moratorium on evicting a tenant who fails to pay rent if the failure relates to the tenant suffering excessive hardship because of the COVID-19 emergency, backdated to 29 March 2020;
- Sets up a framework for the Residential Tenancy Authority to conciliate disputes about unpaid rent before any application to QCAT; and
- Also provides greater protections for tenants experiencing domestic and family violence.
Further information can be sourced from the Residential Tenancies Authority, by phoning 1300 366 311 between 8.30am and 5pm Monday to Friday. or by visiting their website at www.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.
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:
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.
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.
Fees for residential tenancy disputes
|Applications or referrals under:||Application fee||Leave to appeal / Appeal fee|
|Not more than $500, or no amount claimed||$26.95 (not payable by State-related person*)||$345.80|
|More than $500 but not more than $1,000||$69.20 (not payable by State-related person*)||$345.80|
|More than $1,000 but not more than $10,000||$123.20 (not payable by State-related person*)||$345.80|
|More than $10,000||$345.80 (not payable by State-related person*)||$691.60|
* 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.