The Queensland Government has announced RTA conciliation will be mandatory for tenants and property managers/owners, if they have a tenancy dispute relating to the COVID-19 emergency and cannot reach an agreement. RTA conciliation is a free service and our staff are impartial. They can help both parties negotiate an agreement, but they cannot make a decision. The RTA is currently prioritising COVID-19 tenancy disputes.
Before you begin COVID-19 Dispute resolution
You can lodge a request for COVID-19 dispute resolution if you are either a tenant or a property manager/owner and:
- the dispute relates to COVID-19
- the dispute is about a current tenancy and not a bond refund dispute
- you have completed and met the eligibility criteria*
- you can provide evidence that you have made unsuccessful attempts to negotiate an agreed outcome with the other party/parties
- you can provide appropriate evidence to support your claim, such as proof of financial hardship or proof of ill health due to COVID-19.
A COVID-19 tenancy dispute may cover topics such as:
- rent arrears or rent reductions
- entry to the property, due to COVID-19 social isolation restrictions
- ending a tenancy early or extending the end date of an agreement, due to the tenant or the landlord’s circumstances being impacted by COVID-19.
You will need:
- your QGov login details (or create a QGov account)**
- the property’s bond number**
- names and unique email addresses for all parties
- RTA ID (for organisations and joint lessors only)
- evidence documents to support your application
*Tip: The process begins with a short eligibility checklist to confirm your tenancy dispute relates to the pandemic. If you meet the eligibility criteria, you will be directed to the COVID-19 Dispute Resolution Web Service
**Note: you will need 100 points of Australian Government issued ID to verify your identity through QGov. If you do not have the necessary ID, you can still request priority dispute resolution through the paper COVID-19 Dispute resolution request (form 16a). You can also use the paper form if you do not have a bond with the RTA, but meet all other eligibility criteria.
The RTA is prioritising COVID-19 Dispute resolution requests. Failure to supply this documentation will delay the processing time of your application, and you may fail to meet the criteria to have your application prioritised as a COVID-19 dispute.
What evidence documentations should I provide?
Evidence that you and the other party have tried to self-resolve the dispute, or that you have made reasonable attempts to try to contact them to resolve the dispute.
Examples would include:
- copies of emails or screenshots of text messages between you and the other party
If the dispute relates to financial hardship caused by COVID-19, the party/parties who are financially affected must provide evidence to demonstrate their circumstances. Examples would include:
- proof of loss of income due to COVID-19, such as an employment termination letter or evidence of reduced hours
- documents demonstrating your income support payments, or the steps you’ve taken towards getting income support, such as confirmation of a Centrelink application
- evidence that you have had to stop working (or substantially reduce work hours) due to contracting COVID-19, caring for a household or family member with the virus, or self-isolating because of health vulnerabilities.
If your dispute relates to entry to the property, you will need evidence to show why entry should or should not be allowed.
Examples would include:
- documents to support restrictions on entry due to health vulnerabilities of household members, such as a doctor’s certificate.
Once you have submitted your COVID-19 Dispute resolution request, you will receive a confirmation email from the RTA. An RTA officer will be in contact with you as soon as possible to discuss the next steps in the process.
- contact you from a private number
- notify all parties that a dispute resolution request has been submitted
- assess the dispute resolution request and supporting documents
- determine the most suitable method for conciliation.
If agreement cannot be reached through RTA conciliation, an application may be made to the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) for a decision.
Further information about the COVID-19 dispute resolution process can be found in the Residential Tenancies Practice Guide.
For more information and links to useful resources, visit the RTA website and the Queensland Government’s COVID-19 Residential Rental Hub.