Changes to 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 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.

QCAT has updated its Form 2 Application for minor civil dispute - residential tenancy dispute to help guide you through the process.

Further help can be sought 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 at www.covid19.qld.gov.au/the-hub.

Application process - residential tenancy disputes

Before you make an application

Please ensure you have read the residential tenancy disputes page which outlines the steps required prior to making an application to QCAT.

An application checklist is included as part of the form to help ensure the correct application form and procedures have been used ahead of submitting your application.

Completing an application form

Complete and lodge Form 2 - Application for minor civil dispute - residential tenancy dispute (PDF, 937.6 KB) and any other supporting documents.

OR

Complete and lodge Form 2 - Application for minor civil dispute - residential tenancy dispute (PDF, 937.6 KB) if QCAT has terminated the lease, the tenants have left the property and you wish to claim compensation.

If your dispute is a non-urgent dispute, including a rental bond dispute, you must also provide QCAT with a copy of the Notice of Unresolved Dispute provided to you by the RTA if you were unable to reach an agreement during conciliation.

If a mobile phone number is provided, QCAT will send you a text message with your case number and confirmation we have received your Form 2 - Application for minor civil dispute – residential tenancy dispute.

What you must do after you make an application

You must:

  • advise the RTA that you have applied to QCAT within seven days or within the time period nominated by the RTA in the Notice of Unresolved Dispute. You need to do this to make sure the RTA does not pay the bond out
  • give the RTA a copy of the receipt from QCAT confirming you have lodged your application. QCAT will give a copy of the application to the other party.

What happens next

Once your application and forms are processed by QCAT, all parties will receive a notice to attend a hearing including the date, time and location of the hearing.

Counter-applications

You do not have to make a counter-application if a claim is lodged against you. You may lodge evidence or submissions in writing that you wish the Tribunal to consider at a hearing.

However, if you are seeking an amount of money or an alternative order to be made against the applicant then you need to lodge a counter-application.

To make a counter application against the original application, complete and lodge Form 8 - Minor civil dispute - counter application (PDF, 251.4 KB) together with payment of the filing fee.

You must give a sealed copy of the counter-application to each party in the proceeding.

Joining applications

All parties involved in a residential tenancy dispute can make separate applications against the other party/parties in relation to the same agreement. For example, a tenant may lodge an application to claim the bond and the landlord may lodge their own application to claim compensation.

Where this occurs, the separate applications may be joined by the Tribunal. This means the claims may be heard and decided together. You must include the claim number/s for any other related claims on your application form.

Getting your bond money back

If QCAT’s decision involves the distribution of bond money, QCAT will give the RTA the details of the decision so they can distribute the money accordingly.