Ask the RTA

Dec 2016

Got a rental problem? Send your question to along with your daytime contact number and we will answer the best questions in the next edition of Open house – property managers and owners.

What should I do if the tenant owes more than the bond?

At the end of a tenancy, if the tenant owes more than the bond should I submit a dispute resolution request at the same time that I submit the Form 4 claiming the full bond? Sam

The short answer is no. First, submit the Refund of rental bond (Form 4) to claim the full bond. On the form, be specific about how much you are claiming and the reasons why. It’s a good idea to discuss this with the tenant before you submit the form to the RTA. Show them invoices and other relevant documents. If the tenant disputes the bond claim try to resolve the issue of additional money owing during the dispute process. For example, the tenant could agree to a payment plan for the money over the bond amount. If the tenant doesn’t respond to or dispute the bond claim and the bond is paid out to the manager/owner but the tenant still owes money, then submit a Dispute resolution request (Form 16) specifying the amount and reason for additional money owing.

When a tenant drops an iron, are they responsible for the cost of replacing the entire carpet?

When a tenant has damaged a carpet accidentally by dropping an iron, are they responsible for the entire cost of replacing the whole carpet (in a large room) or does the landlord bear some of the cost, given they will benefit from an entire new carpet being installed? If the landlord offers to use their insurance to replace the carpet, could the tenant just offer to pay the excess? Rachael

Generally, if a tenant damages the rental property they would have to pay for the damage to be rectified. It might be possible to patch the damaged section of carpet, with the tenant covering the cost. But in some cases the whole carpet may have to be replaced, for example because of the location of the stain or perhaps the type of carpet. In these cases the owner has a right to seek compensation for the damage but they also have an obligation to mitigate the tenant’s loss. The tenant would usually pay a proportion of the full replacement cost or could possibly pay an amount equal to the insurance excess. In all cases, the tenant and manager/owner should discuss the issue directly and try to negotiate a solution.

Does changing real estate management mean we can renegotiate our rent amount?

My landlord is changing our real estate management. Can we renegotiate our rent amount with the new real estate agent? Our lease is not up for another 8 months. Dannielle

In a fixed term agreement, there is nothing to stop you having a conversation with the real estate agent about the possibility of a rent reduction, but they are not obliged to agree. The Act allows for a rent decrease if something happens to the property making it unfit to live in through no fault of the tenant. Other reasons for rent reductions include loss of service or amenity, again through no fault of the tenant, or if the property has been acquired by an authority. Also, QCAT can make orders for rent decreases.