The RTA is committed to upholding and enforcing compliance with the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008 (the Act). The RTA takes effective and proportional enforcement actions in the public interest to protect Queenslanders from repeat, opportunistic and serious non-compliant behaviours.
The RTA encourages tenants/residents and property managers/owners to try to resolve disagreements in the first instance by proactively communicating with each other. If disputes arise, such as bond refund disputes, and are unable to be self-resolved, the RTA’s free dispute resolution service may be able to assist and provides conciliation to help the parties reach a mutually agreed outcome.
The RTA undertakes investigations both proactively and in response to customer complaints of alleged breaches of the Act.
The RTA can only investigate sections of the Act that are an offence to breach. For a section of the Act to be an offence, it must have penalty units attached. The RTA does not investigate breaches that do not attract a penalty (e.g. claims of money owed or disputes about property maintenance).
New and trending breaches of the Act that will be prioritised in 2024 include:
- rent increases within the 12-month period
- repair orders
- unlawful entry
- breaching agreement terms
- providing false and misleading information
- rent not offered at a fixed amount
- non-lodgement of bond.
For a full list of offences, refer to the Act.
The degree of enforcement action taken in response to alleged breaches is proportionate to the severity of the breach, public interest and community impact. Enforcement outcomes include:
It's important to note that investigations are focused on upholding compliance, and do not recover monies or provide compensation.
Matters unsuitable for investigation
Examples of matters that are not suitable for investigation include:
- property maintenance disputes
- bond refund disputes
- property manager/owner behaviour.
Assistance with resolving the above matters can be provided through the RTA’s dispute resolution service. If either party is participating in an active dispute resolution process, the dispute resolution process must be completed before an investigation request can be submitted, otherwise any concurrent investigation requests will automatically be closed.
The RTA cannot investigate incidents that happened over two years ago as the statutory timeframe has expired.
Memorandum of Understanding
There can be instances where a licensed property manager’s behaviour is a breach of legislation administered by the RTA and legislation administered by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT).
The RTA and the OFT have a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to provide clarity for customers about which agency to request an investigation from.
Under the MOU, customers can make an investigation request to the OFT about licensed property managers who have:
- failed to lodge a bond with the RTA within 10 days of receiving it
- used rent money for another purpose within the tenancy (e.g. to cover a water bill or to pay for repairs).
However, if the investigation request involves another matter in addition to the offences mentioned above, the request should be made in full to the RTA.
The RTA also retains all other investigation requests under the Act, including all investigations into potential breaches by a private property manager/owner or tenant.
Visit the OFT website for more information on OFT investigation requests.
Life Cycle of an Investigation
Case Assessment: The investigator reviews the information the customer submitted in the Investigation Request Kit to determine what allegations can be investigated.
Inquiries: If a potential breach is identified, the investigator will notify the other party in writing. The letter outlines the allegations made, including the name of the customer and the relevant section/s of the Act.
The other party will then be provided a chance to formally respond and provide their own evidence. There is no obligation to participate in the investigation process. Any information provided may be used as evidence in court.
Case Outcome: The investigator will carefully consider all the information and evidence provided by all parties to determine if a breach of the Act has occurred. Where a breach has occurred, the investigator will provide an outcome in proportion to the offence.
Case Closure: All parties will be notified of the outcome before the case is closed.
Case Review: Parties involved in the investigation can request a formal review of the decisions and the process if they are dissatisfied with the outcome.
An investigation may take anywhere from a few weeks to several months, depending on the complexity and seriousness of the case. The investigator will discuss individual case length with the customer.
Investigations that proceed to prosecution may take over a year to finalise at court.
Investigators have powers under the Act to search a property, inspect documents and require individuals and/or organisations to disclose information in certain circumstances. Investigators do not have the power to recover bond money or order compensation to be paid.
Requesting an investigation
To request an investigation, download and submit a completed Investigation Request Kit.