Host - Belinda Heit – Communication and Education – RTA
Guest – Tim Perrott – Digital Business Centre - 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.
RTA Web Services make updating your bond details and completing essential tenancy transactions faster, easier and more convenient for all parties. Today's expert from the RTA is Tim Perrott. Welcome Tim.
Guest: Thank you, so nice to be here.
Host: Now, can you tell us about your role at the RTA and what you’re responsible for?
Guest: So, I work as a Data Quality Officer within the Business Intelligence team of the RTA. So that means my role is to work with capturing, storage and analysis of data to help drive business improvements such as the Web Services Project. Prior to this, I worked in the Quality and Training team as one of the lead trainers throughout the implementation of Web Services within our Customer Experience division.
Host: Yes, you’ve been all around the organisation, haven’t you!
Guest: Yeah absolutely.
Host: Now Tim, can you tell us a bit about the Web Services that the RTA offer?
Guest: Yeah, so, the RTA has actually released six different RTA Web Services that are available 24/7 on our website. We have Web Services to provide our customers with a digital way of actioning some of the most common tenancy transactions and requests, which include: bond lodgements; bulk bond lodgements, which are mainly for managing parties to use; bond refunds; changing bond contributors; updating your details; and requesting free RTA dispute resolution. As you mentioned, RTA Web Services provide a digital alternative to our paper forms.
Host: Yes, so we've gone paperless. But why might people choose to use Web Services instead of paper?
Guest: Well, there are a few reasons some customers may choose to use Web Services instead. First and foremost, RTA Web Services are available 24/7, and it ends up being a slightly quicker process. What I mean by that is customers can use Web Services anytime, anywhere, using any device. If your work schedule makes it hard for you to get these things done during business hours, you can use our Web Services when it is convenient for you, as the platform is available around the clock. Submitting a form via RTA Web Services is just by a click of your mouse, the information will come directly to the RTA, and depending on what's been submitted or requested, the process may automatically kick off in the back end. This happens even outside of business hours.
With a paper form, on the other hand, you have to download it from our website, get it printed, fill it in manually and then post it to us, which is a more involved process and postage can take a day or two at the minimum.
Host: And who has stamps any more, seriously?
Guest: Yeah, exactly. Secondly, as an extension to what I just mentioned, using Web Services also means you don't need to worry about printing and postage, which can have costs attached like stamps.
Another good reason to use Web Services is the digital verification process. So this will confirm your identity online, so we know you are who you say you are. This will then act as your digital signature on all the forms you submit via Web Services. Of course, paper forms, for all your tenancy matters and transactions are still welcome, even if there is a Web Service option. All forms are available to download from our website. For those customers who are unable to use RTA Web Services, and you need to lodge a form urgently or need additional support, please just give us a call on 1300 366 311 and we can assist you.
Host: Yeah, so we like to be able to help everyone regardless of how they choose to engage with us, but it is such an efficient service. So our most popular Web Service is the Bond Refund Web Service, what does it do and what are the advantages of using the Web Services over that paper form?
Guest: Yes, so the Bond Refund Web Service is definitely our most popular Web Service, and we know that by how quick the customer uptake was after it launched. Apart from the service being available 24/7 as I mentioned before, and it being a faster process, the main benefit of using this Web Service over the paper form is that you can get your bond refund back faster.
This Web Service has a fast-track option built in, meaning if all parties agree to the bond refund within the first 48 hours of the request being lodged, the bond money can be refunded into your bank account within hours.
Host: That's fast. That is super fast.
Guest: So when you factor in the postage and processing time, that can slow things down. If you were using a paper bond refund form, your paper substitute for the fast-track process is to get everyone to sign the same form, which can be difficult for customers, especially if they've already moved out of the premises. To give a real-life example of this fast-track process, one of the first few customers who used the Bond Refund Web Service soon after its launch submitted a bond refund request at 11.30am. So the fast-track option was initiated, and the other party to the bond responded and agreed to the request at 6.00pm on the same day. That meant the bond was then paid out into the customers' bank accounts at 3.00pm the next day. So, we're talking about a 28-hour turnaround here, which is fast, given what has occurred in the past.
Host: That's very impressive.
Guest: Sometimes we have delays processing a bond refund because customers submit the paper form which is incomplete with vital details like their bank account details missing, or the writing is not legible. With the Web Service, it eliminates that problem too, as you are typing the information in and there are constant checks as you go through the form to make sure you've provided all the information we need to help you. Reducing the chances of having illegible or incomplete information rings true across all Web Services, not just the Bond Refund Web Service, but it's particularly important with the bond refund.
Some of you may know that around half of the matters that go through our Dispute resolution service are bond disputes, which usually happens with the bond refund process at the end of a tenancy. To help make this more efficient for both the RTA and our customers, the Bond Refund Web Service has a built-in dispute resolution request process for customers with non-agreed bond refunds. So, this means that parties to a bond who don't agree to the bond refund request submitted, can request dispute resolution online quickly and without having to input their details all over again. This is a great time saver and helps make requesting dispute resolution a little bit quicker for our customers as well.
That said, we understand that some people may not have easy access to the internet or prefer to use our paper forms, so those will always be available too.
Host: The next most popular Web Service is our Bond Lodgement Web Service. Let's talk a bit about this and the Bulk Bond Lodgement Web Service. What do these two Web Services do, and how do they complement each other?
Guest: So, the Bond Lodgment Web Service was the first Web Service we released back in June 2019. It allows customers to lodge a bond quickly and easily online and pay the bond money via debit or credit card or BPay, and both the tenant and the property manager or owner can use this Web Service. This is a very convenient function for customers using Web Services, because you can't pay with a credit or debit card if you're using the paper form—you can only use BPay or issue a cheque.
The Bond Lodgement Web Service also gives the tenant a bit more agency in their tenancy, as they have an easy way to lodge their own bond instead of leaving it up to the property manager or owner. This can give the tenant peace of mind, as they know the money has been lodged directly with us. It can also save the property manager or owner time and effort on this task, when the tenant lodges their own bond. There is less double-handling of the money paid, and everybody involved gets a notification that the money is now with the RTA.
So with the Bulk Bond Lodgement Web Service, it's the most recent Web Service that we've released, and it was built as an extension to the Bond Lodgement Web Service. The Bulk Lodgement Web Service allows customers who are managing parties to lodge multiple bonds and bond increases in one transaction. This Web Service was developed through consultation with, and feedback from, targeted customers and sector bodies, which brought about enhancements in the development process so the service can meet our customers' needs. This Bulk Bond Lodgement Web Service has all the functions of the Bond Lodgement Web Service, plus a few more additions. Managing parties don’t have to print multiple forms and pay for posting them when they use the Web Service, and they only have to input their details—so their company name, contact number, address, et cetera—just once.
A really cool function of the Bulk Bond Lodgement Web Service is that managing parties can lodge multiple new bonds, as well as multiple bond increases, through the same Web Service in one transaction. This can be a huge time saver for managing parties, and the same bulk lodgement is saved and kept for 10 days so you can add more bonds to lodge in the same batch over a week. The Bulk Bond Lodgement Web Service will also automatically calculate and tally the total amount of bond money across the multiple lodgements, reducing manual errors that can happen when you add up the total amount from multiple paper forms.
Thanks to our collaboration with the Office of Fair Trading, managing parties can now pay one lump sum of money for their bulk bond lodgement using BPay from their trust account, which fits in well with their normal business practices. There's also no postal delays with the Web Service, all the details and bond money are lodged directly with the RTA instantly, with a few clicks of your mouse. And of course, parties involved in each bond or bond increase lodged, will receive email notifications for all processes.
Host: Yeah, it's so handy to be able to do all of that at once in one transaction. Very, very cool. Now we can also do tenancy disputes through RTA Web Services, right?
Guest: Yeah, absolutely. So, the Tenancy Dispute Resolution Web Service is designed for customers with tenancy disputes to request assistance from our conciliators online. This Web Service makes it easy for our customers to lodge a dispute as it guides them through the process to make sure they understand the related rights and responsibilities involved under the legislation applicable to them. Compared to the paper form, this Web Service is able to provide more information and educational aspects for our customers. It also encourages customers to make attempts at self-resolving the dispute before requesting dispute resolution for the matter.
Because of the nature of the Web Service, the entire dispute resolution request process is traceable—so we know exactly which step you're up to in the process at all times. It is also faster than requesting dispute resolution using the paper form, as all the details you input will come to us directly with the click of a mouse. It makes it that little bit quicker to get help from our conciliators as it places you instantly in the queue for our intake assessment. Email notifications mean that we can keep you informed of any updates, outcomes, next steps, and actionable timeframes faster as we don't need to do so much data entry and wait for postage. This can be very important in the dispute resolution process.
Host: Yeah, and you can do that anytime of the day as well so you don't have to wait for, you know, to get on the phone with us. You can actually jump online and submit that request whenever you need to. Now it's handy to be able to do a change of bond contributors online too.
Guest: Yeah, the Change of Bond Contributors Web Service, or CBC Web Service in short, facilitates a collaborative way of updating the contributors to a bond. There is an equivalent paper form to help you with the process, but it requires a signature from all the bond contributors. It may take some time before you can gather everyone's signature in person on that single form. The digital CBC Web Service facilitates this process online and requests relevant bond contributors to agree to the change, and verify their identity online via email in place of their signature. This is very handy if the bond contributors don't live together or if some of you have moved away.
By using this Web Service, the RTA also only requires agreement from bond contributors who will experience a change in their financial contribution to the bond, whether it's an increase or a decrease, or a complete transfer of their portion of the bond altogether. There is also automated calculation of the total bond amounts across all contributors, to make sure the correct total bond amount is reached, reducing potential human error.
This Web Service helps to make sure the bond details, distributions and contributors are updated quickly and can save our customers a bit of back and forth with the other bond contributors.
Host: So much easier! So, updating your details is simple and can be done anytime through Web Services. Why is this a great option?
Guest: Well, the Update Your Details Web Service was one of the first Web Services we released to help customers keep their details with the RTA up to date. It's very quick to do, only takes a few minutes, and is especially helpful when you're in the throes and the stress of moving out of a place or exiting a tenancy. By using this Web Service, you can ensure that the RTA has your most up-to-date details, including correct bank details for your bond refund. You can update your details by calling our contact centre, or even filling in a paper form, but using the Web Service reduces the potential for human error at all stages. You will also get an instant email notification to confirm that your details have been updated, which gives our customers peace of mind.
Host: So what help is available when using the RTA Web Services if there's any technical issues?
Guest: Yeah, so of course it's really important that our customers have help with any technical issues. I would recommend visiting the RTA website and taking a look at the corresponding page of the Web Service you're using. We have quick guides, video demonstrations, and frequently asked questions for each and every one of the Web Services we've mentioned today.
These resources are designed to help you get your head around what documents you need to have handy and what you can expect. If your issue is not resolved after looking at our website, you can always call our Contact Centre on 1300 366 311. We have a dedicated support team to help you through your Web Services. You can also email email@example.com to get further assistance to troubleshoot your issues. If you are emailing us, make sure that you attach screenshots of the error or issue that you encounter as these can help us help you quicker.
Host: Ah, it's so great to have that assistance there when you need it too. So, thanks, Tim, for helping us to get a greater understanding of what we need to know when it comes to RTA Web Services.
Guest: No worries, thank you.
Host: Thank you for listening to the Talking Tenancies podcast. For more information about the Residential Tenancies Authority, visit rta.qld.gov.au.