When resolving tenancy disputes, respectfulness and proactiveness can go a long way. Be aware of both your rights and responsibilities as a landlord or as a tenant under Queensland tenancy laws.
Before discussing with the other party
- Have a clear idea of what you would like to happen during the discussion. Take notes if necessary so that you can lay down what the problem is and what your desired outcome is in clear, concise terms.
- See the situation from the other’s perspective even as you protect your own interests. Disputes require a give-and-take approach to arrive at an acceptable middle ground.
- Describe the problem and your concerns clearly to avoid misunderstandings.
- Stay calm and aim to be courteous.
Applying for dispute resolution
The Residential Tenancies Authority (RTA) offers free, confidential dispute resolution to help tenants and property owners resolve disputes without needing to take legal action. Before applying for dispute resolution with the RTA, try to negotiate with the other person first, especially for non-urgent disputes. If it cannot be resolved then, contact the RTA. The RTA conducts two types of conciliation:
- 3-way teleconference
- phone shuttle, where conciliators talk to each person separately
Dispute resolutions with the RTA require voluntary cooperation, and the RTA has no authority to compel a person to participate.
The RTA has impartial conciliators who aim to guide the dispute resolution process. They do not advocate for either person and instead are there to help both parties arrive at a reasonable agreement. They can offer insights on possible options based on Queensland tenancy laws, but they cannot make a decision regarding the dispute. They have no control over the outcome.
Preparing for a dispute resolution
- nominate one person to take the call, and advise the RTA
- set aside up to 1 hour for the call
- have all relevant documents ready, including the tenancy agreement for the details of the tenancy
The conciliator will put the agreement in writing and furnish each person with a copy detailing what will happen, who will do it and when and how it will be done. Both people return a signed copy of the agreement to the RTA by the due date. The conciliation agreement forms part of the tenancy agreement which the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) can enforce if necessary. If one or both people fail to return a signed copy of the agreement by the due date the dispute will remain unresolved.
The RTA will issue a ‘Notice of Unresolved Dispute’ and the person who applied for the dispute resolution with the RTA can opt to take the issue to the QCAT.
Finding a dependable lawyer in Cairns
For help with dispute resolutions, especially if you’re taking the case to the QCAT, you may seek advice from a lawyer in Cairns first. Here at Marino Lawyers, we can discuss with you the available options for you. For enquiries, feel free to call (07) 4081 6700.