March 20, 2012

QCAT - the current situation

Having been an avid follower plus educator of QCAT since it was 'born' on 1 December 2009, it is interesting to see the many changes that this new Tribunal brought being slowly rolled out.

Interesting and frustrating; time frames for applications are at all time highs from all accounts from the industry. It now appears quite the norm that urgent applications in most areas are delayed by 6 weeks or more. This is a huge concern for the industry and investors alike. It is frightening to think what non urgent application time frames are like in some areas...

QCAT was the biggest judicial change in Queensland history in over 50 years. It has brought many changes including many news forms, procedures and the ability for decisions to be published and decisions (in some cases) to be appealled.

This change is bringing many challenges to the Real Estate Industry. The blow out in time frames currently is not helping with the pressures of what are in most cases are stressful and challenging times for all parties involved.

Whilst it is acknowledged that there may be genuine reasons for the 'blow out' of times, it would be of assistance to all if QCAT announced on their website or some other reasonable forum the estimated times so that the parties can be advised within a reasonable time frame.

More than ever Property Managers must do all that they can to ensure that their investor clients consider Landlord Insurance. It is not the ultimate answer however it will sure help the poor investor who will suffer greater losses when tenancies turn sour.

Bad things happen to good people as we all know; therefore tenancies turn sour for any number of reasons including marriage or relationship breakdown, job loss, financial pressure and other life events. Investors must protect themselves from risk; any investment is a risk. With specialised landlord policies available in the marketplace for around $30 per month or so, I must admit I am hard pressed to understand why all investors don't have the insurance.

Property Managers are not magicians; they are hard working and dedicated professionals who do their best within legal framework and with current Queensland law allowing a tenant to be around 30  day behind in their rent before Tribunal (court) action for termination, the costs quickly exceed.

It takes an estimated 40 to 60 (sometimes more) days to legally end a tenancy for rent arrears in Queensland through Tribunal. Bonds can only legally be 4 x the weekly rent (where rent is under $700 per week). The bond is quite easilly used when you consider this. In many cases, on top of rent owing, there are usually other costs which may include cleaning, carpet cleaning and other matters to have the property returned in accordance with the tenancy contract (agreement).

For more informaton about QCAT visit
For more information about tenancy laws in Qld visit

If you need agency best practice advice and support and are a member of Real Estate Excellence, contact Stacey Holt

Real Estate Excellence has a training CD on QCAT - for more visit or email