A General tenancy agreement (Form 18a) is the agreement between a tenant and a lessor/agent which sets out the terms that apply to the tenant’s stay in general tenancies such as houses, units and townhouses. Tenants and lessors/agents must abide by the terms of the agreement they sign.
The Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008 (the Act) states what must be included in every General tenancy agreement covered by the Act in Queensland.
See the Moveable dwelling tenancy agreements fact sheet for information on tenancy agreements for caravans and other moveable dwellings.
Types of general tenancy agreements
An agreement can be:
- a fixed term agreement, which means an agreement for a set period, with an identified end date, or
- a periodic agreement, which means an agreement which has no set end date and which operates on, for example, a fortnight to fortnight basis.
Holding deposits and tenancy agreements
Prospective tenants may be asked for a deposit to place a hold on a premises they wish to rent. A copy of the proposed General tenancy agreement (Form 18a) must be given to prospective tenants before they pay the holding deposit and a holding deposit can only be taken from one prospective tenant for each property. For more information on holding deposits refer to the Rent payments and holding deposits fact sheet.
About the General tenancy agreement (Form 18a)
Under the Act, tenancy agreements must be in writing. It must be clearly written and include:
- all standard terms and any special terms (which must comply with the Act)
- the lessor’s/agent’s name, address and phone number
- the tenant’s name and phone number
- the name of any person (an agent), the lessor authorises to stand in their place in agreed situations. The lessor must give the tenant written notice of any changes within 14 days
- how much rent is to be paid and how and when it is to be paid
- the ending date for fixed term agreements, and
- the signatures of all parties.
Lessors/agents must also either provide their own contact details or identify a nominated repairer (or repairers) in the tenancy agreement to act on their behalf if emergency repairs are required.
It is important that the information provided in the tenancy agreement is correct and complete. For example, the owner must disclose if there is an outstanding repair order attached to the rental premises.
Incorrect information in a tenancy agreement may lead to a dispute, and the tenancy may be terminated if the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) finds there are justifications to end the tenancy on the grounds provided under the Act.
Lessor/agent responsibilities when agreements are signed
The lessors/agent is responsible for:
- meeting all the costs of preparing the tenancy agreement
- ensuring the correct form is used and completed
- providing a copy of the proposed agreement along with any relevant body corporate rules or bylaws to the tenant before they sign it. Once the tenant signs the agreement, they must return it to the lessor/agent within five days. The lessor/agent then has 14 days to give a copy of the signed agreement to the tenant
- ensuring that, when an agreement is signed, there are no legal problems that would prevent the tenant from living in the premises for the length of the tenancy, and
- ensuring the premises are in a good state of repair and ready for the tenant to move into on the agreed date.
Minimum housing standards
Minimum housing standards came into effect for new tenancies on 1 September 2023, meaning if a tenancy agreement is signed or renewed the property must meet minimum housing standards. Minimum housing standards will come into effect for all remaining tenancies on 1 September 2024.
Once minimum housing standards apply to the rental property, the lessor/agent will be responsible for ensuring the property complies with these standards when the tenant moves in and throughout the tenancy agreement.
Other paperwork when agreements are signed
The lessor/agent must also provide the tenant with:
The tenant then has seven days to sign the Entry condition report - general tenancies (Form 1a) and note any disagreements on the report. The tenant should return the signed Entry condition report - general tenancies (Form 1a) to the lessor/agent who must then give a copy of the finalised report back to the tenant. The lessor/agent must keep a copy until at least one year after the tenancy ends.
If the tenant pays a rental bond, it must be lodged with the Residential Tenancies Authority (RTA). The tenant can lodge their bond directly with the RTA, or the lessor/agent can lodge it on their behalf. A bond can be lodged online via RTA Web Services or by completing the paper Bond lodgement (Form 2). If the lessor/agent is lodging the bond, they must do so within 10 days of receiving payment from the tenant.
Lessors/agents who fail to provide their tenants with copies of the required paperwork face penalties under the Act, as do tenants who fail to complete and return an Entry condition report - general tenancies (Form 1a).
Breaching the terms of a tenancy agreement
If either party to the agreement doesn’t act in accordance with the terms of the agreement, or the Act, it may be considered a breach. The Act outlines processes to follow when a breach has occurred, including possible ending of the agreement. For more information, refer to the Ending a tenancy agreement for managing parties fact sheet or the Ending a tenancy agreement for tenants/residents fact sheet.
Ending tenancy agreements
Tenancy agreements can only be ended in accordance with the Act. Lessors/agents must follow the due process of the Act to end a tenancy or gain possession of the premises, or they could face penalties under the Act. The RTA has a free dispute resolution service. Customers can request dispute resolution via RTA Web Services or by submitting a Dispute resolution request (Form 16). For more information, refer to the Applying for dispute resolution webpage on the RTA website.
For more information contact the Residential Tenancies Authority.
Accessing RTA forms
The RTA’s forms can be obtained electronically or in person by contacting us.
Other languages: You can access a free interpreter service by calling the RTA on 1300 366 311 (Monday to Friday, 8.30am to 5.00pm).