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QCAT case study: How notice periods can change a case

Jun 2015

Do you understand the notice periods which apply if a Notice to remedy breach is issued? A recent decision by the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) highlights the importance of notice periods and how they can impact a matter.

Jana rented a house from Li Real Estate*. Jana was 49 days in arrears of rent.

Li Real Estate issued a Notice to remedy breach (Form 11) to Jana to advise in writing she had broken the tenancy agreement and requesting she pay the outstanding rent.

Under the conditions of issuing a breach notice about unpaid rent, Jana had 7 days from being provided with the notice to remedy the breach and bring the rent up to date.

When Li Real Estate did not receive a payment from Jana, they issued her with a Notice to leave (Form 12). Jana claimed she had not been given adequate time to remedy the breach and did not vacate the house.

Li Real Estate made an application to QCAT to end the tenancy agreement and remove Jana from the premises. The QCAT adjudicator found Li Real Estate had not given Jana the required notice period to remedy the breach. Noting the difference between issuing a notice and the tenant receiving the notice, the adjudicator found that Jana would have received the notice only 6 days before the date the breach needed to be remedied. Under the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008 (Qld), Jana should have been given at least 7 days to remedy the breach and pay the outstanding rent. The adjudicator found QCAT did not have the ability to waive requirements of the Act; the application by Li Real Estate was dismissed.

Li Real Estate appealed the decision.

The Appeals Tribunal re-examined the matter and upheld the decision; the adjudicator was correct in finding Li Real Estate did not give the necessary 7 days notice and that the notice period in the Act is mandatory.

The appeal was dismissed and Jana remained in the property.

You can read more QCAT decisions in residential tenancy matters at the Supreme Court Library Queensland website – Residential tenancy matters.

*Names changed.