Residential services, which refer to boarding houses, aged rental schemes and supported accommodation, form an important part of the Queensland residential rental sector. They provide a variety of accommodation options and ensure more vulnerable members of our community have a safe place to live.
Two pieces of legislation govern the operation of residential services in Queensland:
- the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008 (RTRA Act), administered by the Residential Tenancies Authority (RTA)
- the Residential Services (Accreditation) Act 2002, administered by Regulatory Services – Department of Communities and Housing.
The RTA and the Department work individually and collaboratively to assist all parties involved to understand and comply with the relevant legislation.
In the article below, we briefly explore these two key Acts to help you understand what they cover and how the RTA and the Department can support you.
About the RTRA Act
The RTRA Act defines the rights and responsibilities of residents, tenants, owners, managers and service providers and outlines the formal process for dealing with issues that may arise during a tenancy.
Under the RTRA Act, residents of a residential service need to sign a rooming accommodation agreement, except for residents living in aged rental schemes who need to sign a general residential tenancy agreement.
The RTA administers the RTRA Act by providing tenancy information and education, a free dispute resolution service, bond management and investigation of alleged offences against the RTRA Act.
About the Residential Services (Accreditation) Act 2002
As stipulated in the Residential Services (Accreditation) Act 2002, a residential service provides accommodation to four or more people who live in one or more rooms, pay rent individually and share common facilities such as a bathroom or kitchen. Food or personal care services may be provided depending on the accommodation agreement.
Student accommodation is an exception and is not defined as a residential service. Instead, residents in student accommodation have tenancy protections under the rooming accommodation provisions of the RTRA Act.
To operate a residential service, providers must register their service, apply for accreditation and comply with the Residential Services (Accreditation) Act 2002. Penalties of up to $130,550 apply for unregistered services.
Supporting resources and information
The RTA has a Managing rooming accommodation in Queensland booklet, which highlights the key responsibilities of providers/managers and the processes they need to follow at the start, during and end of a tenancy.
Through the RTA website (rta.qld.gov.au), providers/managers and residents can also:
- download rooming accommodation forms and fact sheets
- lodge, increase and refund a bond via RTA Web Services
- learn more about how to access and prepare for the RTA’s free dispute resolution service
- read the latest RTA news and watch educational webinars.
Service providers, residents and their advocates can contact the RTA on 1300 366 311 (Monday to Friday, 8.30am to 5pm) for more information about their rights and responsibilities, or to apply for the RTA’s free dispute resolution service.
For further advice on registering and operating a residential service in Queensland, including information relating to COVID-19, refer to Business Queensland. Service providers who wish to register as a Level 3 residential service with the Department of Communities and Housing may become a member of the Supported Accommodation Providers Association (Qld).
Read Miriam’s story to find out more about how the Queensland Government protects vulnerable people living in residential services. Residents who need advocacy or assistance can contact QSTARS on 1300 744 263 for free tenant/resident statewide advice and referral. The Queenslanders with Disability Network can also provide advice to residents with disability and their families.