How to resolve tenancy issues

Whether you are the property manager/owner or the tenant/resident, you can take proactive steps to resolve your own tenancy issues.

Resolving problems directly with the other person can save you time and money.

Be aware of your rights and responsibilities as a tenant/resident or property owner/manager and refer to your tenancy agreement for details about your own tenancy.

For further assistance and practical tips relevant to your situation you can contact us.

Our Contact Centre staff can provide you with information relevant to your situation to help you determine a course of action.

Callers with complex situations who require additional support to resolve their own tenancy issue are transferred to the RTA's Client Support service for practical suggestions and self-resolution strategies.

Consider the other persons perspective

Remember the rental property is the tenant’s home, the property owner’s investment and the property manager’s day-to-day business. Keep the other people’s perspective in mind when you are trying to reach agreement. Be prepared to negotiate.

Before you talk with the other person

Think about what the problem is and what you would like to happen. It can help to jot down a few notes about the problem and your desired outcome.

Before the discussion

Clarify your concerns and be clear about the outcome you want. This could be an apology, an explanation or the other person to take specific action.


Contact the other person directly and discuss your concerns. In some cases you may reach agreement after a single discussion and this may be all you need to do. You might have an initial discussion on the phone then decide to arrange a meeting to talk about the issue in more detail. Keep a record of any agreement reached.

Listen to what they have to say about the problem

They may have ideas on how it can be resolved.

Describe the problem clearly

Be clear about your concerns, describe the problem and the impact the problem is having.

Stay calm

Respect the professional relationship you have with the other person, and always aim to be courteous in your discussions. Try not to be too emotional.

Be realistic

Offer constructive ideas to resolve the issue. Put yourself in the shoes of someone who isn’t involved in the situation – how might they view it?

Consider the best and worst case scenarios

Think about what outcome you could live with. You are more likely to resolve your dispute if you are realistic about the possible outcomes.

Remember that negotiations involve give and take

Negotiations involve give and take from both sides. You and the other person will view the situation from different perspectives.

Follow up actions

If you come to an arrangement, make sure you agree on timeframes. It’s a good idea to keep a record of all contact (phone calls, emails, letters, text messages).


If you need assistance with self-resolution call the RTA on 1300 366 311. We may be able to provide information and practical suggestions to help you resolve the issue, to save you having to go through the dispute resolution process.

Common tenancy issues

Case study

The leaking tap: One problem, two approaches

If something goes wrong during a tenancy, the best way to approach the problem is to communicate with the other person.

Suggesting a possible solution and trying to resolve the problem together is a great place to start.

For example, here is the same situation handled in 2 different ways by 2 different tenants.

Tenant Bob's approach Tenant Sam's approach
Bob sees the tap is leaking and phones the property manager. Sam sees the tap is leaking and phones the property manager.
He calmly asks the property manager what can be done to fix the problem. He insists the property manager fixes the tap immediately.
Bob gives the property manager options for when he will be available to give the tradesperson access to the property and a suitable time is arranged for the tradesperson to fix the tap. Sam says the tradesperson can only enter between 4pm and 5pm that afternoon. The property manager explains it may be difficult to find a tradesperson available at such short notice. After several heated discussions, they agree to a new time for the tradesperson to enter the property.
Within a few days the problem has been fixed. Bob and the property manager are both satisfied with the outcome. Sam’s specific entry needs made the process complicated. It required a lot of time and effort for everyone involved.