Compliance and enforcement strategy

23 May 2022

The RTA’s Compliance and Enforcement function supports fairness in the rental sector through ensuring that all parties to a tenancy comply with the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008 (the Act). In this episode of Talking Tenancies, we gain insights from the RTA's Stuart Taylor on the proactive approach to education in the sector. 


Host: Belinda Heit – Communication and Education, RTA 

Guest: Stuart Taylor – Compliance and Enforcement, RTA 

Host: Welcome to the Talking Tenancies podcast, brought to you by the Residential Tenancies Authority.  I’m your host, Belinda Heit. Join me as we explore everything you need to know about renting in Queensland, with experts from the RTA and industry. We're here to help make renting work for everyone. 

The RTA’s compliance and enforcement function supports fairness in the rental sector through ensuring that all parties to a tenancy comply with the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008, otherwise known as the Act. We achieve this through taking a proactive approach to education, targeted compliance activities and investigations on behalf of customers into alleged breaches of the Act. Today's expert from the RTA is Stuart Taylor. Welcome, Stuart. Now, can you tell us about your role at the RTA and what you're responsible for? 

Guest: Absolutely, I'm the Principal Compliance and Enforcement Officer for the compliance and enforcement team here at the RTA. I oversee the team which completes any investigation requests we receive and also delivers proactive compliance to the sector. So, that can be in the form of developing educational material or we undertake proactive investigations. I'm responsible for monitoring and improving the rate of compliance with the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008, which we just call the Act, across the rental sector. 

Host: Now we’ve spoken to you previously on the podcast. Since we spoke to you last, a few things have changed in your area. There's been a shift to taking more of a compliance and enforcement focus. Can you tell us a little more about the background on that? 

Guest: Yes, it definitely has been. So, in 2021 we launched a new compliance and enforcement strategy and back then our team was called the RTA investigations team and it was our job to investigate offences reported to the RTA that breached the Act. However, we recently changed our name to the compliance and enforcement team, that's in alignment with the goals that are set out in the strategy.  

Our new name reflects the fact that we're expanding our work to include more proactive education and collaboration to encourage compliance. We want a balance in enforcement and education. Where possible we want to work with people and organisations who are non-compliant to change their behavior before it gets to the stage where we need to formally investigate them. Of course, there will always be times where it might be more appropriate to investigate rather than educate, so we need to strike a balance between the two. 

Host: What are some of the key initiatives that we now undertake to educate the sector to ensure greater compliance? 

Guest: One of our key initiatives is using our data intelligence to inform the work that we're doing.  We're now able to capture data that allows us to identify trends and non-compliance. We can measure that non-compliance over a period of time and that allows us to identify where we need to focus our resources. So, we will be using this data to see if there's any areas where there's a high level of non-compliance, and if that's the case, there's a good chance it's because people don't realize that they're in breach of the particular legislation. So, identifying these areas will help us to understand where we need to provide more of our educational resources like videos, factsheets, webinars or face-to-face education sessions.  

Most people do want to do the right thing, they're professional, and once they realisze that they're not complying with the legislation, they'll seek to address it. Data intelligence can also help us to see if there are individuals or organizations who are deliberately exploiting the current rental market that we're in. And in these cases, it may be more appropriate for us to launch proactive investigation. 

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Host: So aside from the initiatives to educate the sector, what else informs that strategy? 

Guest: Yes, so there's four pillars to the compliance and enforcement strategy which were established back in 2021 and they are: improving the rate of compliance; actioning emerging issues in this sector; providing accessible compliance and enforcement information for everyone; and delivering a best-fit service for our customers. And we're making compliance more accessible by giving people the tools they need to lodge an investigation request with the RTA. We've created an online interactive investigations page and that's available 24/7. 

If you have a situation that you want to report, you can use this page to see if your matter is eligible for an RTA investigation. It's an interactive page, it asks questions about your case and lets you know if you're eligible for an investigation or if another service is more suitable, like our free dispute resolution service, and it quickly provides the best fit solution for the customer. And of course, you can always call us if you have any questions.   

Now if the matter is suitable for an RTA investigation, we provide an online investigation kit which the customer can complete and submit to us. The kit includes a user-friendly form which the customer can use to submit their investigation and also provides information about what supporting documents they need to provide to the RTA. 

Host: So, what are the benefits of the RTA taking this approach? Is it the prevention is better than the cure mindset? 

Guest: That's right, we know that there are individuals and organisations within the sector that may not be aware that they're not meeting their compliance. Part of the reason for this is that there's been a lot of change in the last few years. The housing industry has been through significant challenges with COVID and the floods, we've seen emergency legislation come into force for the pandemic. And we now have the new reforms under the Housing Legislation Amendment Act, which is being rolled out in stages.  And we know that real estate agents are really busy right now with a tight rental market, and there's a really high turnover of staff in the rental sector. And all of this means that it can be hard for individuals or businesses to keep on top of their legislative obligations. That's why we want to educate and help raise awareness of areas where there's a lack of compliance. 

And as I said earlier, there will be some cases where it's more appropriate for us to investigate than educate.  Every investigation is considered on a case-by-case basis, and we take into account things like the severity of the offence and the past behavior when we're deciding on the appropriate outcome.  

Host: Now the Queensland Audit Office recently released a recommendation framework for all regulatory agencies in Queensland around measuring compliance and being proactive. Can you tell us about that and how does it affect the RTA? 

Guest: Yes, so in November of 2021, the Queensland Audit Office delivered recommendations to Parliament about how regulatory bodies like the RTA should approach their compliance and enforcement work. In a nutshell, the Audit Office recommendations were that regulatory bodies should be both proactive and reactive in the measures that they take to address risk and assess our effectiveness and commitment to ongoing improvement. We reviewed the audit recommendations and find that they're very much in line with our compliance and enforcement strategy. And we will continue to take the audit recommendations into account with their ongoing compliance activities. 

Host: So, I guess the good thing is that we're working with the sector to refine this as part of a pilot program to ensure we meet the needs and not just focus on compliance with the Act alone. 

Guest: Yes, that's right. We’ll soon be launching our first proactive compliance program, and that's focused on bonds are not lodged to the RTA within the ten day time limit. So, under the Act, a bond must be lodged to the RTA within ten days of the property manager or the owner receiving payment from the tenant.  However, we know there are some organisations out there who are regularly missing this ten day window and lodging bonds late and we now have enhanced reporting where we can see the compliance rate across all of Queensland for all agencies and individuals, and we can track the timeliness of bond lodgement. So, we'll be proactively reaching out to particular agencies that are regularly not meeting their ten day bond lodgement timeline and working with them to put in strategies on how to improve their compliance moving forward. We can work with them to see what's preventing them from lodging bonds in a timely manner and provide assistance and education in that space. This could include helping more agents transition to using RTA web services to lodge their bonds more quickly and efficiently on time. The goal is to work with and educate these groups so that they have a better understanding of their obligations to drive voluntary compliance.  

Host: There's a lot that goes on behind the scenes Stuart, that people don't even see. So, thanks for giving us that insight today and for helping us to get a greater understanding of the work that the compliance and enforcement team does at the RTA. 

Guest: No worries, thanks so much for having me. 

Host: Thank you for listening to the Talking Tenancies podcast. For more information about the Residential Tenancies Authority, visit 



Original publication on 23 May 2022
Last updated on 23 May 2022

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.

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