RTA responds: regulation activities data released

The Residential Tenancies Authority (RTA) is aware of a recent media article reporting on our 2021–22 compliance and enforcement activities.

Regulatory compliance remains a core strategic priority for the RTA, and to provide the Queensland renting community with clarity and confidence on the matter, the RTA has today published its latest 2022–23 data relating to rental sector compliance and enforcement activities and outcomes.

As Queensland’s rental regulator for more than 30 years, the RTA is an experienced regulator and frontline service organisation that takes appropriate and effective regulatory action to act in the public interest, and drive and uphold compliance within the sector and with the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008 (the Act).

During the past year, the RTA has boosted its regulatory efforts, and our free, confidential dispute resolution service plays a critical role in supporting all parties to negotiate and resolve their issues together without taking the matter to court or submitting an application to have their matter heard by QCAT.

The RTA will continue to do everything within our power to provide fair, valued and impactful services to the one-third of Queensland households that rent.

Preliminary data for the 2022–23 financial year shows a significant lift in the RTA’s regulatory actions including:  

  • 51% increased compliance rate achieved through our data-led Proactive Compliance Program, held in collaboration with targeted managing agents
  • a 27.8% increase in investigations undertaken by the RTA (308 total)
  • 4.5% increase in investigation requests received from the renting community (254 total)
  • 50 proactive investigations commenced to address emerging trends and offences of key concern for customers, including advertising a rental premises with no fixed price and false or misleading information provided to the RTA in bond refund claims
  • 4 penalty infringement notices (PIN) issued (monetary fines) for non-compliance with unlawful entry, conducting an open home without consent, and displaying personal belonging in an advertisement without consent. The RTA may issue a PIN for a serious offence that is not suitable for prosecution
  • cautions issued for 162 offences (41% increase)
  • education provided to the sector on 316 offences (14% increase)
  • 12.1% increase in conciliated disputes (22,112 total), with a 76.3% resolution rate where both parties agreed to an outcome. Parties who were unable to resolve disputes through conciliation were given information on how to seek a ruling from QCAT if they wished to pursue the matter. It’s important to note that not all parties took unresolved disputes to QCAT – some chose not to pursue further action while others would later reach agreement between themselves. A total of 1,360 conciliated disputes progressed to QCAT in 2022–23, which represents 8.3 per cent of all conciliated disputes.  

Our approach to compliance and enforcement

The RTA applies the Queensland regulator model practices and principles, ensuring any regulatory activity is proportionate to community risk and outcomes.

A critical component of best practice regulation is also to balance and consider where we can help prevent possible offences and non-compliance. We do so by actively engaging with and educating the sector through initiatives such as our proactive compliance program, proactive investigations informed by sector trends and undertaking compliance monitoring actions.

By listening to understand the common challenges and trends that often lead to non-compliance with the Act, we are better positioned to support these parties or customers with resources, services and practical solutions to help them meet their ongoing obligations in a way that delivers a significant return to Queensland’s rental sector.

The Act outlines which matters are offences that can be investigated by the RTA. Where matters aren’t suitable for investigation, the RTA’s free dispute resolution service may be able to help parties negotiate an outcome.

The RTA works with all parties to investigate alleged breaches of the Act. Offences under the Act are criminal matters heard within the Magistrates Court and the rules of evidence apply. Matters of unresolved tenancy disagreements or breach of agreements proceed to QCAT, where unresolved tenancy disagreements can be heard.

If there are complaints against a real estate agent’s conduct, all real estate agents must abide by the conduct standards in the regulations of the Property Occupations Act 2014 administered by the Office of Fair Trading.

The RTA works closely with other government enforcement agencies including the Office of Fair Trading to drive compliance and enforcement within the sector. Our data above does not include any prosecutions undertaken by our regulatory partners.

The RTA uses a range of regulatory tools to respond to non-compliance with the Act including compliance education, cautions or monetary fines. Prosecutions are appropriate for the most serious matters where enforcement action is aligned to public interest, and often require other enforcement actions be undertaken before they can be pursued.

The RTA’s most recent successful prosecution was in March 2020 regarding an unlawful entry to a rental premises by a self-managing landlord. Since this time and during the pandemic, the RTA has focused on investigation requests lodged with the RTA, proactive compliance activities and worked with key regulatory partners to monitor and drive compliance within the sector.

Queenslanders who have concerns about their situation, or are unable to self-resolve, can contact us directly via our website or Contact Centre to request an investigation or seek tailored tenancy and bond support.

Original publication on 02 Aug 2023
Last updated on 02 Aug 2023

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.