As more Australians are renting, their voice is getting louder
Our homes are supposed to be a safe haven; even when we are renting. And we want to feel relaxed and stress-free in our abodes.
Australians are among the most mobile in the world. In the past 5 years, over one-third of us have moved within Australia. And there are over 8 million Australians who are living in rented homes. That means there are a lot of people dealing with real estate agents or landlords.
With the amount of moving we are doing, we are bound to encounter issues and problems with our landlords or real estate agents.
Knowing your rights as a tenant is key to dealing with landlords and real estate agents with minimal angst. If you are a renter or owner of a rental property, we have some simple tips for you below.
The owner/agent does have the right to access the property. However, you as the tenant have the right to ‘quiet enjoyment’. This means you can say ‘no’ to a proposed entry notice. But you should suggest an alternative time and work to finding a time that works for both you and the agent or owner.
When can you give a Remedy Breach if you are renting
If you believe the agent/owner has breached any of their obligations, you can issue them a notice of breach form. Some examples where you would you use this include:
- If the property is not being adequately maintained, not repairing something that was broken, not providing the services listed in the agreement.
- If your lessor, agent or provider fails to respect your privacy, does not ensure adequate security, or does not follow the rules of entry, this is a breach of the rental agreement.
If this happens, you can give them a notice of breach form. Your notice should ask them to comply with the Act. And give the property manager/owner at least 7 days to fix the problem.
Bear in mind that a notice of breach does not make the owner or agent DO anything but it can give you grounds to terminate your lease early or assist with seeking compensation.
What is the Residential Tenancy Authority (RTA)
Residential Tenancy Authority (RTA) is a state government statutory authority in Queensland that helps make renting work for everyone. They provide tenancy information and support, bond management, dispute resolution, investigations and prosecutions, and education services.
If you and the agent or owner have an issue you cannot resolve yourselves, you can approach the RTA to help resolve the dispute.
The RTA cannot make the owner or agent DO anything but might help resolve the deadlock.
Let's say the matter is still not resolved. You can take it to a higher authority by lodging a Tribunal application, which will decide the matter between you two. In Queensland, it is the QCAT you need to approach. Each state will have something similar.
Have a renting-related complaint?
Encountering issues while renting our homes may be nothing new to most of us.
The type of issue and how serious it is will determine the route of your dispute lodgment. Whether it is about the building security or the leaking water tap in the bathroom, a tenant’s frustration and worry is real – especially when the communication is ineffective between the landlord and the lessee.
Making a complaint - Queensland
The following applies to Queensland, depending on your complaint, you need to go to a certain office to file a complaint:
- Body corporate of a multi-unit dwelling (example, a block of units) - Commissioner for Body Corporate and Community Management
- Real estate agent or agency - Office of Fair Trading
- Private tenancy issue (including rental bonds) - Residential Tenancies Authority or Statewide Tenants Advice and Referral Service
- Real Estate Institute of Australian Capital Territory, ph: 0499 881 168
- ACT: Access Canberra, ph: 13 22 81
- NSW: Office of Fair Trading, ph: 133 220
- Real Estate Institute of Northern Territory, ph: (08) 8981 8905
- NT: Consumer Affairs, ph: 1800 019 319
- Real Estate Institute of Queensland, ph: 1300 697 347
- QLD: Fair Trading, ph: 13 74 68
- Real Estate Institute of South Australia, ph: (08) 8366 4300
- SA: Consumer and Business Services, ph: 131 882
- Real Estate Institute of Tasmania, ph: (03) 6223 4769
- TAS: Consumer, Building and Occupational Services, ph: 1300 65 44 99
- VIC: Consumer Affairs, ph: 1300 55 81 81
- Real Estate Institute of Western Australia, ph: (08) 9380 8222
- WA: Consumer Protection , ph: 1300 136 237
If you are seeking advice, or wish to make a complaint, please contact the relevant state office:
When something goes wrong
If you are encountering any issues with your rental property, we will help you follow the correct complaint process. We are here to help you handle it, just let us know the details of your complaint. We are here to help you handle it. Just say the magic words 'Help Me Handle It'.