What is a residential tenancy dispute?
Whether you are a landlord or tenant, at some point or another there is likely to be a dispute between the landlord and tenant related to the payment of rent, release of the bond, service charges such as water bills, the condition of the premises upon entry or exit, entry onto the premises, termination of the tenancy, compensation for damage, or abandoned goods. Residential tenancy disputes are common, and its important you get the right legal advice about your rights and responsibilities.
If you find yourself in a residential tenancy dispute, the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) can hear a range of these types of disputes and make a number of orders including compensating landlords for damage caused to their premises by former tenants.
Although QCAT is not bound by the rules of evidence, it is important to ensure that the material you do submit is founded in the terms of the lease, or relevant legislation supported by documentary evidence.
How can I resolve the tenancy dispute?
First of all, you need to determine if your dispute is classed as an urgent or non-urgent tenancy dispute. If your dispute is not listed as an urgent dispute type it will be decided as a non-urgent dispute.
If your dispute is classed as urgent you do not have to attempt steps 1 or 2 below – you can apply directly to QCAT to resolve your dispute. You may still choose to use the Residential Tenancies Authority’s (RTA’s) dispute resolution service before applying to QCAT.
For all non-urgent disputes you should follow this three step process:
Try to resolve your dispute directly with the other party by calling them, holding a face-to-face meeting or writing to them. Visit the RTA’s website to access a range of helpful tenancy publications and tenancy support organisations.
If your dispute is still unresolved, contact the RTA to resolve your dispute through their Dispute Resolution Service. This service uses conciliation to find an agreement that suits all parties. Conciliation may be conducted:
- over the phone where the conciliator (an independent person attempting to resolve your dispute) holds separate phone conversations with each party, or
- by a three way teleconference, or
- by a face-to-face conference.
If the matter is not resolved through step 2, the RTA will issue a Notice of Unresolved Dispute and you may proceed to step 3.
How can we help with your tenancy dispute?
Whether you are the landlord, landlord’s letting agent, or tenant involved in a tenancy dispute, we can assist you formulate your claim or prepare your defence, assess the evidence, prepare your written submissions for QCAT and provide you a written advice about your prospects. Lawyers can only act on your behalf in QCAT if leave of QCAT is granted, so we often do all the ground work and our client’s appear on their on behalf.
Tenancy disputes can be tricky, and depend on the terms of the lease, and legislation. It’s best if you seek legal advice before you file a QCAT claim or enter your response to an application.
Contact us today
For expert advice on your tenancy dispute