Rental disputes: Information for tenants

The Magistrates Court can hear disputes and make decisions about residential tenancy matters.

You'll also find detailed and easy to understand information about your rights and responsibilities at the Consumer Affairs and Fair Trading website. This includes The Rental Guide.

Ending your lease before it expires

You can end your lease (or ‘residential tenancy agreement’) before it expires if:

  • repairs have not been done within 28 days of you notifying the property owner, and the repairs are not to damage that you’ve caused
  • the property owner has breached the lease (or ‘residential tenancy agreement’)
  • the lease is not for a fixed term

To end the lease:

  • complete the Notice to Terminate fully and accurately
  • give it to the property owner, at least 14 days before you wish to vacate the premises.

Ending your lease urgently

You can apply for an ‘urgent termination’ of a lease if the property owner has (or is likely to) cause:

  • serious damage to the premises or contents, and/or
  • physical injury to you or another party or occupant of the premises

In this case:

  • there will be no 14 day waiting period for the lease to end
  • your claim must include details and dates of threats, damage and/or physical damage

Complete the Residential Tenancy Application form (docx, 28.1 KB) and lodge it with your local court.

If you don’t vacate the premises: What a vacant possession order is

The property owner may apply to the Court for a ‘Vacant Possession’ order if you’ve been served a Notice to Vacate (docx, 15.1 KB) but have not vacated the property.

The property owner must give you a copy of their application for this order as soon possible.

If the property owner doesn’t apply within 28 days of the Notice to Vacate taking effect, the notice lapses. This means they must serve you with another Notice to Vacate if they want to pursue the matter.

You can attend court to dispute the property owner’s application and claim. The court will consider if:

  • the property owner gave you the Notice to Vacate properly
  • the reasons for serving the notice were genuine or just
  • the property owner served you with a copy of their application within a reasonable time before the matter was heard by a magistrate.

Appealing the return of a bond

You or the property owner can appeal a decision by the Residential Tenancy Commissioner about the return of a bond (or ‘security deposit’).

You must make your appeal within 7 days of the Commissioner’s decision.

Complete the Notice of Appeal Residential Tenancy Act form (docx, 26.0 KB) and lodge it with your local court.

Your appeal must be made against the property owner or agent (not the Commissioner); and you must provide details of the dispute and reasons for your appeal.

A new hearing will take place, and you'll be able to call witnesses and present evidence.

Repair and maintenance matters

Repair and maintenance matters for property owners and tenants are handled by the Residential Tenancy Commissioner. For more information see the ‘Orders for Repairs fact Sheet’ on the Consumer Affairs and Fair Trading website.

Unreasonable rental increases

Rental increase matters are handled by Consumer Affairs and Fair Trading. Find more information at its website.