Renting in a tight market - what you need to know

With low vacancy rates and high demand for rentals across Queensland, it’s important for everyone to know their rights and responsibilities through each step of the rental journey.   

Advertising a rental property 

Rental properties must be advertised for a fixed price. Not listing a price, or advertising a property with a rent range, is illegal. While it's not a requirement for the price to be on a ‘for rent’ sign at the property, any other advertisement must include a fixed price.  

Rental applicants can offer more than the asking price for a rental property and the property manager/owner may accept their offer. However, property owners/managers must not proactively tell applicants to offer over the advertised rental price or encourage them to outbid each other. Visit the RTA’s rent bidding page for more information.  

Before starting a tenancy 

Where possible, prospective tenants should inspect the property in-person before signing the tenancy agreement or paying any money. If the prospective tenant can’t make it in person having a family member or friend inspect on their behalf, or organising a virtual video inspection with the property manager/owner, are good alternatives. 

It’s important for prospective tenants to be vigilant and watch out for rental scams. Look for rental listings with images and detailed information of the rental property and check these are consistent and professional across different websites and adverts. Get tips on what to look out for in the RTA’s news story and podcast episode about protecting yourself against rental scams.

Once a tenancy agreement is signed, it’s important for both the property manager/owner and the tenant to complete an Entry condition report. This records the condition of the property at the start of the tenancy and is an important part of the bond refund process at the end of the tenancy.   

Renewing a tenancy    

At the end of a fixed term tenancy, there are three ways to continue the tenancy:  

  1. No new agreement:  
    If the tenant has not been given notice to leave and a new agreement has not been put in place, the tenancy continues as a periodic agreement under the same terms and conditions as the original agreement. 
  2. No changes to the agreement:  
    The tenant and property manager/owner can sign a letter or statement with the new dates. 
  3. Changes to the agreement:  
    A new tenancy agreement will need to be put in place. 

At the end of a fixed term tenancy, the property manager/owner and tenant can agree to a rent increase. It must have been at least six months since the last rent increase.

If a tenant feels the rent increase is excessive, they should talk to the property manager/owner in the first instance to try and find a solution. If the tenant still feels the increase is excessive, they can choose to apply for dispute resolution once the new rental agreement is signed. They may also apply to the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) for a decision. 

QCAT may consider the following when assessing if a proposed rental increase is excessive: 

  • range of market rents usually charged for comparable properties 
  • difference between the proposed and current rent 
  • state of repair of the property 
  • term of the tenancy 
  • period since the last rent increase (if any) 
  • anything else they consider relevant. 

Ending a tenancy  

Tenants are responsible for leaving the premises in the same condition it was in at the start of the tenancy, less fair wear and tear. The tenant is not responsible for pre-existing damage/poor condition. The tenant may choose to hire a professional company to do the cleaning or do it themselves. Visit the RTA website for tips on cleaning a property at the end of a tenancy and an overview of the vacating process.  

At the end of the tenancy, the property manager/owner and the tenant should complete an Exit condition report. This can be compared to the Entry condition report, to determine if the condition of the property has changed. It’s also a good idea to take photos of the property as further evidence. Where possible, the RTA recommends the tenant/resident and the property manager/owner complete the exit condition report together so that any issues can be addressed quickly. Exit condition reports are not required for rooming accommodation

Once the tenancy has ended and the tenant has vacated the property, either the tenant or the property manager/owner can request a bond refund using RTA Web Services or the paper bond refund form. Bonds can be paid out faster if everyone agrees on the refund. The RTA recommends tenants and property manager/owners discuss the bond refund and come to an agreement together before submitting a refund request.   

More resources  

For more information about renting in a tight market, listen to our webinar about practical tips for navigating a challenging rental market and our podcast episode about rights on rent.

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