Renting

Renting in Queensland

There are rules surrounding the rental of a house, unit, share house, room, caravan or houseboat in Queensland. These rules may vary from other states in Australia and are set out in the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008 (the Act).

The Act states:

  • the rights and responsibilities of tenants and property managers/owners
  • what tenants and property managers/owners can and cannot do
  • how to address issues that may arise during the tenancy and
  • what happens if either party breaks the law
The Act applies to:
  • tenants renting a house, unit or caravan from a property manager/owner
  • residents renting a room from a rooming accommodation provider
It does not apply to:
  • contracts of sale or mortgages if the sale of contract is for 28 days or less
  • holiday lettings
  • rental purchase plan agreements
  • temporary refuge accommodation (e.g. a women’s shelter)
  • commercial property (e.g. shop leases)
  • renting outside of Queensland

There are other types of rental accommodation that may be covered by the Act. For further information, contact the RTA.

The Residential Tenancies Authority (RTA) administers the legislation, provides information, holds rental bonds, provides dispute assistance and undertakes investigations.

Tenants in Queensland must have a tenancy agreement and if they pay a rental bond this bond must be lodged with the RTA.

Before you rent

This section provides information on renting in Queensland.

Choosing a rental property

A property owner or landlord owns a rental property but it is a tenant’s home. Tenants should make sure a property matches their needs before signing a tenancy agreement. They should also read the agreement and any special terms carefully before signing it.

Below are some questions you could think about and discuss with the property manager/owner to check if the property is right for you. There are also various services that can assist you at this stage.

  • Is the property the right size?
  • Is it in the right location for work, home, social activities?
  • Is it suitable for pets or children?
  • Are you capable of maintaining this property e.g. do you understand how to look after a pool, can you keep a large garden in good condition?
  • Does the property have the facilities you require e.g. does it have an active phone line or broadband connection or can you add these and at what cost? Who will pay for these services to be made available?
  • Will you have to pay for water usage?
  • In a rural property will you need to refill the water tank in dry weather?
  • Will there be additional costs for occasional garden maintenance e.g. disposing of green waste, tree pruning etc?
  • In a moveable dwelling park, will there be extra site costs?
  • If there are gas bottles, will they be filled at the beginning of the tenancy, will a receipt be provided?
  • Does the property have the level of security you require e.g. screens on windows?

Holding deposit

A tenant can be asked for a deposit to reserve or hold a property they intend to rent.

Fast facts

  • A deposit can only be accepted if a copy of the proposed agreement and any by-laws or park rules have been given to the tenant.
  • The tenant and the property manager/owner must agree on the holding period that applies to the deposit. If none is agreed the period is 48 hours.
  • The holding period should be written on the receipt.
  • The property manager/owner can only take one deposit at a time for a property. If the tenant does not want to rent the property and tells the property manager/owner within the holding period they must get their deposit refunded within 3 days.
  • If they do not tell the agent within the holding period that they are not going ahead with the rental, or if they say they will proceed but then do not enter into a tenancy agreement, they forfeit their deposit.
  • When a tenant signs a tenancy agreement after paying a holding deposit, the holding deposit becomes part of the rental bond. Any surplus amounts then become rent in advance.

Pets

A tenant may only keep pets on the property if the tenancy agreement states that pets are allowed. It may also state the number and type of pets that may be kept and whether the pet can be kept inside or outside the house.

Before renting a property, a tenant should discuss whether pets will be allowed with the property manager/owner and if the property is suitable for pets.

Fast facts

  • Tenants should think about whether the property has enough room, fencing, pet doors etc for a pet and whether the pet could cause any damage to the property e.g. torn screens or lawn damage.
  • Pest control may be required if pets are allowed. This should be stated in the tenancy agreement.
  • A separate pet bond cannot be charged.

Rent auctions

Rent auctions (also known as rent bidding) are where prospective tenants are asked to bid on how much rent they will pay. Rent auctions are illegal but could occur in isolated cases.

In Queensland a property being advertised for rent must advertise a fixed price. A property manager/owner may not advertise a rent range, put a property up for rent auction or ask for offers.

Tenants and property managers/owners are able to negotiate the amount of rent to be paid.

Fast facts

  • Failing to advertise a fixed price is an offence.
  • The agent does not have to display the price on a ‘for rent’ sign at a property.
  • A tenant who believes a property manager/owner has induced them into a rent auction may complain to the RTA. If an agent has exhibited deceptive or misleading behaviour, the
  • RTA may also refer the complaint to the Office of Fair Trading or the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

Tenancy databases

Tenancy databases are electronic registers run by privately owned companies that record information about a tenant.

These registers may be used by property managers or owners during an application process, to check the prospective tenant's rental history. The property manager or owner must inform prospective tenants of which tenancy databases they use and advise them if they find a listing for a tenant, what that listing is and how to have it amended or removed.

A tenant can be listed on a database at the end of a tenancy if:

  • the amount of money owed by the tenant is more than the bond, including
    • rent arrears if the Notice to remedy breach (Form 11) was given for this rent
    • abandonment of a property
    • money owed after an agreement has been reached through RTA conciliation or a QCAT order that has not been paid
  • If no bond was paid, a tenant cannot be listed unless the amount owing is more than 1 week's rent

  • if the tenancy has been terminated by QCAT because of:
    • repeated breaches of a conciliation agreement by the tenant
    • objectionable behaviour by the tenant
  • Victims of domestic and family violence should not be listed if the breach is the result of the actions of a perpetrator of violence

Please note: The Residential Tenancies Authority does not operate or maintain information on tenancy databases.

Disputing a listing

A tenant can dispute a listing if they feel it is inaccurate, incomplete, ambiguous or out of date or does not meet the listing criteria set out in the Act. They must dispute this within 6 months of becoming aware of the listing.

Details of how to dispute a listing are outlined in our Tenancy databases fact sheet.

Fast facts

  • A tenant can only be listed after the tenancy has ended.
  • Tenants must be notified before they are listed on a database.
  • Tenancy database laws only apply to commercial databases. In-house records used by companies are excluded.
  • Database companies must not keep listings for longer than 3 years.

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