The RTA Investigations function supports fairness in the rental sector through ensuring that all parties to a tenancy comply with the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008 (the Act).
The RTA encourages people to try to resolve disagreements by talking to each other. If a resolution to a disagreement is needed, eg: a bond refund dispute, our free dispute resolution service provides conciliation to help the parties reach an outcome.
Investigation outcomes are focused on providing future compliance, and do not recover monies or provide monetary compensation.
Some of the offences the RTA can investigate include:
- failure to lodge a bond with the RTA within 10 days of receiving the bond
- failure to provide a written tenancy agreement
- entry by a property manager/owner without proper notice or consent
- ending a tenancy in an unauthorised way (e.g. forcefully evicting a tenant)
Matters unsuitable for investigation
The RTA can only investigate matters that are an offence under the Act and does not investigate:
- Property maintenance disputes
- Bond refund disputes
- Agent/landlord conduct/behaviour
Assistance with resolving the above matters can be provided through Dispute resolution.
The RTA cannot investigate incidents that happened over two years ago as the statutory timeframe has expired.
Investigators are unable to recover bond money. If you are trying to recover bond money owed, you will need to lodge a Dispute Resolution request or contact us for help. If the dispute resolution process is unsuccessful the matter may be taken to the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT).
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.
What happens in an investigation?
Customers can request an investigation by submitting to the RTA an Investigation Request Kit. Once the RTA receives the kit, it will be assigned to an investigator generally within one week (this may be longer in peak periods).
The Investigator will assess the information and evidence provided in the kit. It is important to carefully read and provide all the requested information and evidence when submitting the kit.
The Investigator will then contact the customer for further information and to discuss the case.
The RTA as a regulator is impartial and will conduct the investigation in a fair and equitable way.
Responding to allegations
If an offence is identified, the other party involved will be notified in writing. The letter outlines the allegations made, including the name of the customer and the relevant section/s of the Act.
The party will 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.
When an Investigator can prove that an offence happened, they take into consideration several factors when deciding what action to take which can include:
- the seriousness of the offence
- the level of harm to the customer
- the previous history of the offender
- whether the offender was dishonest in their actions.
The investigator may use one of the following tools to achieve compliance or to act as a deterrent.
- Caution Notice
- Penalty Infringement Notice
Often offences occur due to ignorance of the law. Educating parties where appropriate about their rights and responsibilities under the Act can significantly reduce the likelihood of the offence occurring again. Where education is not appropriate the investigator may issue a Caution Notice.
In serious cases the RTA may issue a Penalty Infringement Notice or commence criminal proceedings through the Magistrates Court.
Requesting an investigation
An Investigation Request Kit can be provided by contacting the RTA or online.
If you need interpreting assistance to help you understand this information, contact Translationz on (07) 2000 4600 during RTA hours of business and ask to speak to the Residential Tenancies Authority (RTA).