Rooming accommodation provider convicted and fined

Autumn 2017

An extensive Residential Tenancies Authority (RTA) investigation resulted in a Brisbane rooming accommodation operator (the operator) being convicted and fined $10,000. The fine related to several offences including failing to lodge rental bonds and inserting unlawful special terms in tenancy agreements.

The online operator, who managed several rooming accommodation properties in Brisbane’s south, charged several tenants a cleaning bond but did not lodge the money with the RTA. Under the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008 (the Act), all bonds must be lodged with the RTA.

In contravention of the RTRA Act, the operator also required tenants to pay an exit cleaning fee, equivalent to one week’s rent, and purchase cleaning and laundry products from the operator at a cost of $300 per quarter.

The operator also failed to provide a tenancy agreement before accepting a holding deposit, or a receipt, and evicted a tenant without providing the required minimum notice period.

RTA CEO Darren Barlow said investigations staff worked hard to achieve a successful conviction that should deter other accommodation providers from taking advantage of vulnerable tenants.

"The RTA is committed to ensuring that renting works for everyone and that all parties to a tenancy agreement are treated fairly," Mr Barlow said.

"We do not hesitate to investigate and prosecute breaches of the Act ," he said.

In her sentencing remarks, Magistrate Penelope Hay noted that the operator had a history of similar offences and said the fine and conviction imposed would act to deter the operator and others from committing these type of offences.

"It’s concerning that someone who holds a real estate agent’s licence would be so ignorant of the strict compliance requirements of residential tenancies legislation," Magistrate Hay said.

Anyone who has questions or suspects wrongdoing should contact the RTA on 1300 366 311.