Rental law changes introducing minimum housing standards will come into effect for new tenancies from 1 September 2023, and for all tenancies from 1 September 2024.
When an investigator can prove that an offence happened, they take into consideration several factors when deciding what action to take. These 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.
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.
The RTA seeks to encourage voluntary compliance where the parties to an investigation actively engage in the process.
Where education is not appropriate the investigator may issue a Caution Notice.
The Caution Notice reminds the party of their legislative requirements under the Act and puts them on notice that it will be taken into consideration when determining the outcome for any future breaches of the same section of the Act.
Penalty Infringement Notices (PIN)
A PIN is a monetary fine that the RTA may issue to an individual or an organisation for committing an offence against the Act. A PIN may be issued for more serious offences that are not suitable for prosecution. More information is available on Penalty Infringement Notices.
In very serious cases the RTA may commence criminal proceedings against an individual or corporation in the Magistrates Court. This is a different legal avenue to an unresolved tenancy disagreement or breach of agreement which would proceed to the Queensland Civil Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) where unresolved tenancy disagreements can be heard.
If the other party is found guilty, the RTA may publish the court results for consumer protection and to encourage voluntary compliance with the Act through increased awareness. More information is available on prosecutions.
Parties to an investigation can request a formal review of the decisions and the process if they are dissatisfied with the outcome.