Current Status of QCAT: Residential Tenancy Disputes
Residential tenancy disputes are dealt with by the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) under the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act. In regional Queensland, the Magistrates Court deals with these disputes, acting as QCAT.
QCAT is currently receiving many enquiries about the rights of tenants and landlords in relation to evictions under the Act following recent announcements of a “moratorium” on tenancy eviction proceedings. In that regard, it has been reported that the National Cabinet agreed to a moratorium on evictions over the next six months for residential tenancies “in financial distress who are unable to meet their commitments due to the impact of the coronavirus” (Prime Minister’s Media Statement, 29 March 2020).
Further, earlier this week on Wednesday (22 April 2020), the Queensland Parliament’s Legislative Assembly passed the COVID-19 Emergency Response Bill 2020 and the draft Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation (COVID-19 Emergency Response) Regulation 2020 was tabled. In broad terms, the draft Regulation:
- Declares a moratorium on evicting a tenant who fails to pay rent if the failure relates to the tenant suffering excessive hardship because of the COVID-19 emergency, backdated to 29 March 2020;
- Sets up a framework for the Residential Tenancy Authority to conciliate disputes about unpaid rent before any application to QCAT; and,
- Also provides greater protections for tenants experiencing domestic and family violence.
The draft Regulation has not yet been approved by Governor in Council. When new laws come into effect, QCAT will immediately apply them as appropriate. Until then, QCAT will continue to apply the current law.
Further information please contact the Residential Tenancies Authority via telephone 1300 366 311 (M-F 8.30am-5pm) or visit www.rta.qld.gov.au. Alternatively, you can visit the Queensland Government’s Residential Rental Hub at www.covid19.qld.gov.au/the-hub. REIQ members will be notified of any changes as soon as possible and updated as further information comes to hand.