Abandoned property and goods

Changes to Queensland rental laws came into effect from 6 June 2024. Learn more about the changes and what they mean for you. 

If a property manager/owner believes that a property has been abandoned, they can issue an Entry notice (Form 9) allowing 24 hours notice (in rooming accommodation no notice is required). The property may then be inspected to confirm it has been abandoned.

The property manager/owner must have reasonable grounds for believing the property has been abandoned. This could include:

  • rent has not been paid
  • a build-up of mail or newspapers in the mailbox
  • observations of neighbours or others that suggest the tenants have left the property
  • the absence of household goods
  • gas, telephone and electricity services have been disconnected
  • the tenant does not respond to attempts to contact them

The property manager/owner can issue either an:

Disputing the notice

The tenant has:

  • seven days (from the date the notice is issued) to apply to Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) to dispute the notice
  • 28 days (from the date the notice is issued) to apply to QCAT for compensation
  • In rooming accommodation, the agreement ends once the rent paid has run out (a termination notice does not need to be served).

If the tenant does not dispute the notice, the tenant is taken to have abandoned the property.

Goods and documents

Goods and documents left behind after a tenant has moved out must be returned or disposed of according to specific rules.

Personal documents (e.g. money, birth certificates, original family photographs): must be given to the tenant.  If the tenant cannot be contacted, the personal documents must be given to the Office of the Public Trustee, within seven days of the end of the tenancy.

The Public Trustee does not take passports, Medicare cards, drivers’ licences or bank cards—they remain the property of the issuer (e.g. a Medicare card should be returned to Services Australia).

Goods left behind at a property: a property manager/owner must make reasonable efforts to contact a tenant regarding goods left behind at a property. If, after making reasonable efforts to contact the owner of the goods, is unable to contact the owner of the goods, or the owner of the goods does not reclaim the goods, a property manager/owner may sell the goods by auction.

Reasonable efforts to contact an owner of goods left behind include attempting contact via:

  • items phone, including SMS
  • email
  • social media private message
  • emergency contact
  • online newspaper advertisement.

Valuing goods

Goods should be valued to determine their worth - an item that may appear to be junk may actually be valuable. If the property manager/owner intends to dispose of, or sell goods left behind, a record of the items should be kept (e.g. itemised list, photos etc.) in case of a future dispute over the items.