Process to resolve residential tenancy disputes

The best process to resolve a dispute with a tenant or landlord will depend whether the dispute can go directly to the Tribunal (urgent) or must attempt the Residential Tenancy Authority’s (RTA) conciliation first (non-urgent). Before continuing below, find out which disputes are urgent and non-urgent.

Urgent disputes

If your dispute is classed as urgent, you can skip Steps 1 and 2 below.

Instead, you can apply directly to the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) to resolve your dispute. However, you may still use the RTA’s free dispute resolution service to try to resolve your dispute before applying to QCAT. 

Non-urgent disputes

If your dispute is not defined as urgent, follow these steps:

Step 1

Try to resolve your dispute directly with the other party by calling them, holding a face-to-face meeting or writing to them. The RTA has a range of helpful publications about doing this.

Step 2

If you can’t resolve your dispute directly, contact the RTA for help to resolve your dispute through their dispute resolution service.

This service uses conciliation to try to find an agreement that suits all parties. A conciliator is an impartial person who attempts to resolve your dispute.

Conciliation may be conducted:

  • over a telephone where the conciliator holds separate telephone conversations with each party
  • by a 3-way teleconference
  • by a face-to-face conference.

The RTA successfully resolves more than 70% of all disputes through conciliation when people participate in the conciliation process.

The conciliator writes down any agreements you reach, which become part of the tenancy or rooming accommodation agreement.

If you can’t resolve your dispute through Step 2, the RTA will give you a ‘Notice of unresolved dispute’ and you may proceed to Step 3.

Step 3

At this point, you can apply to QCAT to resolve your dispute.

If the dispute is non-urgent, you can’t apply until you’ve completed Step 2 and received a ‘Notice of unresolved dispute’ from the RTA.

Time limits for applying

Please note that different disputes have different time limits for applying to QCAT. Read more about application time limits.

Further information