RTA Webinar: Your questions answered – Part 3

All parties in a tenancy agreement have rights and responsibilities under the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008 (RTRA Act), however in some situations, specific obligations of each party may not be clearly defined.  

The RTA’s three-part webinar series “Your questions answered” addresses commonly asked questions and provides practical information to help everyone comply with tenancy obligations.   

In this final webinar, we tackle questions about smoking, light bulbs and sub-letting expenses, discuss the challenges of hoarding and squalor, and remind you about the application timelines and process for the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT). 


Hoarding and squalor – where to get help 

The health and safety of people living in a property and the property itself should always be a priority. While hoarding or living in squalor is a difficult situation and can affect people from all walks of life, local councils or various community organisations can provide referrals or specific support and help address any underlying causes. 


What happens when there is a change between current tenants? Reasonable expenses may be associated with transferring a tenancy, as mentioned in section 240 of the RTRA Act. The difference between a re-letting fee and a reasonable expense in sub-letting and transferring a tenancy is discussed using an example of a share house.   


Tenants have an obligation to return the premises in the same condition at the start, less fair wear and tear. Stains and odours caused by smoking may not be seen as wear and tear and may need to be rectified. Special terms that refer to smoking in a rental property can be added to a general tenancy agreement. As with all special terms, it is critical that terms do not contradict the RTRA Act.  

Light bulbs  

Who is responsible for changing light bulbs? The type, cost of the bulb and accessibility to the fitting should be considered. Generally speaking, standard bulbs in the home are the tenant’s responsibility, whereas specialised fittings or unique expensive globes may fall to the property owner. You can include a special term about any specialised or expensive globes in your tenancy agreement for clarity. Good communication between all parties about what is expected is encouraged.   

Tribunal applications 

The webinar provides a reminder of the application process and timelines for going to the Tribunal, with reference to non-urgent tenancy compensation and bond dispute matters. Self resolution is recommended in the first instance for any disputes before applying to the RTA’s free, confidential dispute resolution service.  

For bond disputes, it is important to remember that the Notice of unresolved dispute is a two-step process.  You will need to apply to QCAT and notify the RTA in writing of the QCAT application within seven days.   


See the full range of RTA webinars and watch Your questions answered - Part 1 and Part 2 for practical information on topics including mould, gardens, keys, rubbish and solar electricity. 

Original publication on 27 Nov 2020
Last updated on 24 Aug 2021

Note: While the RTA makes every reasonable effort to ensure that information on this website is accurate at the time of publication, changes in circumstances after publication may impact on the accuracy of material. This disclaimer is in addition to and does not limit the application of the Residential Tenancies Authority website disclaimer.