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Residents with impaired capacity

Winter 2017

People with impaired intellectual or psychological capacity are protected from signing incorrect or unlawful agreements under provisions for rooming accommodation agreements in the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act (2008).

Impaired capacity refers to a person’s ability to make a sound decision in a particular area of their life.

The person may be suffering from, or experiencing, intellectual disability, acquired brain injury, mental illness, dementia or some other cause.

A number of people exhibiting impaired capacity rely on a private residential service, such as a hostel, boarding house, or government-run accommodation for a roof over their heads.

If a rooming accommodation provider/agent believes the resident may not have sufficient capacity to sign a Rooming accommodation agreement (Form R18), they are encouraged to:

  • determine if the person has appointed an attorney or had a guardian or administrator appointed
  • explain the agreement to the resident in easy-to-understand terms
  • ask for a representative of a resident support organisation, e.g. Disability Services, Queensland Health, or community support agency, to explain the agreement
  • ask the resident’s family, friends, or support worker to witness the resident’s signature to confirm the person has understood the nature and effect of the agreement
  • contact the Office of the Adult Guardian to discuss whether the person may require a guardian, and
  • keep records and make notes documenting what steps they have taken to ensure the person understood the nature and effect of the agreement.

A resident’s impaired capacity may affect their ability to understand, negotiate, and sign an agreement. In these cases, a written agreement with special conditions may not be enforceable, however, the standard conditions under the Act apply even if a written agreement is not in place.

More information is available by contacting the RTA direct on 1300 366 311.

The RTA is the Queensland Government statutory authority that administers the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008. They provide tenancy information, bond management, dispute resolution, investigation, and policy and education services.