Frequently asked questions


Statewide advice number

1300 744 263

How do I get my bond back?

When your tenancy ends a Refund of Rental Bond (Form 4) needs to be completed and lodged with the Residential Tenancy Authority (RTA).  A Refund of Rental Bond form can be completed, signed and lodged with the RTA by either the tenant, lessor or agent (with or without each other’s signatures). This form can be posted to the RTA or uploaded online.

The Form 4 can be lodged the day after the end date on the Notice to Leave or the Notice of Intention to Leave but not before. When you sign a Refund of Rental Bond form make sure the amount for the bond refund is competed, never sign a blank or incomplete form.

If you and your real estate agent (or lessor) agree how the bond is to be refunded, everyone signs a Refund of Rental Bond form, (an agreed bond return) and it is lodged with the RTA. As long as the names and signatures on the form are held with the RTA, they disperse the bond monies quickly by depositing into the nominated account/s.

If there is a dispute over the bond either party, tenant or Lessor/Agent can claim the bond by lodging a Form 4 with the RTA with only their signature on it, this is a disputed bond claim.

A disputed bond claim occurs when the tenant/s and agent (or lessor) don’t agree on how the bond should be refunded. The RTA can process a disputed bond refund claim but will hold the bond monies (or the amount disputed) until the dispute is resolved. The RTA will act on the first claim form they receive and will send a Notice of Claim to any other parties who are recorded as contributors to the bond. If you receive a Notice of Claim for your bond, you have 14 days to send a Form 16 Dispute Resolution Request back to the RTA. The RTA will then assist with a Conciliation Process in an attempt to help the parties resolve the dispute and come to an agreement on how the bond is to be refunded.

For more information see our factsheet.

What is fair wear and tear?

Fair wear and tear (FWT) means the normal deterioration or ageing of the premises or inclusions which occurs over the course of the tenancy because of ordinary use of the premises by the tenant. FWT allows for the tenant’s reasonable use and enjoyment of the premises. Damage caused by tenants is not FWT. As a tenant you are responsible for leaving the place clean and in the same condition as at the start of the tenancy except for FWT.

It is relatively common the end of a tenancy to have a disputes about what is FWT or damage and this may result in a bond dispute. To prevent a dispute it is important for a tenant to complete an Entry Condition Report at the start of the tenancy and provide and complete an Exit Condition Report at the end of the tenancy. Examples of FWT include minor chips and small marks on walls, scuff marks on floors/carpets, wearing away of a tap washer or faded curtains due to sun exposure.

Whether something is regarded as fair wear and tear will depend on factors such as the age and type of building materials of the house or unit, the condition of the property at the start of the tenancy and any repairs carried out during the tenancy to maintain the property.

For more information please see our factsheet.

Who is responsible for mould?

Mould may constitute loss of amenity or breach of the lessor’s obligation to provide premises fit to live in and in good repair. Responsibility for the cleaning or removal of mould depends on the cause of the mould. Mould can develop as a result of structural issues associated with the property and how it was built or as a result of how repairs and maintenance were carried out.  In these instances, the lessor (or agent) will be responsible for the cleaning and or removal of the mould. Mould which results from the actions of a tenant, for example as a result of the lack of regular cleaning, will be the responsibility of the tenant.

It is not always easy to determine the cause of mould. When tenants have difficulties with mould they should keep evidence of when and how it is removed, and in what circumstances the mould appeared in the first instance (e.g. after a weather event). If the mould returns, the tenant’s record can be used as evidence. Occasionally both the lessor and tenant will be partly responsible for mould.

What is excessive hardship?

The Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008 (Qld) allows a tenant to apply to the Tribunal to end their tenancy on grounds of excessive hardship. Excessive hardship is not defined in the Act, however, excessive hardship usually involves a change in circumstances subsequent to signing the lease and your new circumstances mean it is difficult or impossible to continue living in the property. The loss of employment/income limiting your ability to pay the rent or the onset of a serious illness requiring treatment in another place are examples where the Tribunal might allow an excessive hardship termination of an agreement.

Excessive hardship requires an urgent application to the Tribunal (QCAT) for a termination order. A termination order may mean you (the tenant) will no longer have to pay “rent” from the date of termination or have to pay any compensation for loss of rent or “break lease fee” to the lessor from the date of termination. This is because you will not be seen to be in breach of the tenancy agreement as the tenancy was terminated by the Tribunal.

If you think you are or will be in a situation of excessive hardship you can also approach the lessor (or agent) and request a mutual termination agreement. This is a written agreement between the tenant/s and the lessor, setting out the terms on which the tenancy agreement will terminate. It is best to include a term stating that the agreement is full and final settlement of all claims by the parties. A mutual termination agreement does not require an application to the Tribunal but it needs to be in writing and signed by all the parties to the tenancy agreement.

Whether you successfully negotiate a mutual termination agreement or are awarded an excessive hardship termination by the Tribunal, you must still leave the premises clean and in the same condition as it was received in, except for fair, wear and tear. Make sure you still complete an exit condition report and go through the usual bond return processes.

For more information please see our factsheet.

Can I make changes to my place?

If you want to make structural changes or add a fixture to your place, you must get a written agreement from your lessor or agent beforehand. The written agreement should state the detail and type of fixtures to be attached, any agreed terms regarding whether or not you can remove the fixture when you leave. If damage occurs during removal, the agreement should state how it will be repaired and if compensation is to be paid to the lessor, if removal is not allowed then an agreement about compensation paid to the tenant is advisable if the fixtures are to remain.  Examples of fixtures include picture hooks, locks, clothesline, air conditioners, fencing, carpets, TV antennae, ramps, grab rails and window awnings and blinds. Your lessor is not allowed to refuse your reasonable requests to make changes or add fixtures to the place.

For more information please see our factsheet.

Do I have to get the carpets professionally cleaned when I leave?

Standards of cleaning for rental properties are not defined in the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act (2008) (Qld), more specifically there is no direct reference to carpet cleaning at the end of a tenancy. The Act states “At the end of the tenancy, the tenant must leave the premises and inclusions, as far as possible, in the same condition they were in at the start of the tenancy, fair wear and tear excepted”.

If the carpets were professionally cleaned before you moved in, you can request the lessor provide a receipt as proof. At the end of the tenancy you are responsible for leaving the carpets in a same condition they were in when you first moved in, however you cannot be asked to engage a professional carpet cleaner or to use a particular company to clean the carpets. If any such term is included in the special terms of your tenancy agreement it is not enforceable and potentially unlawful.

At the end of your tenancy, you can choose to have the carpets professionally cleaned or steam clean the carpets yourself, you need to ensure that carpets are cleaned to the same standard as when you moved in, fair wear and tear excepted.

When you move in to your place the lessor needs to provide you with a completed entry condition report. Make sure you fill in your side and note the condition of any carpets in the place. Photos can be used as evidence to support what is written on the entry condition report.

Am I responsible for pest control when I leave?

The Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act (2008)(Qld) states that at the start of a tenancy the lessor must ensure the premises and inclusions are clean and in good repair and the premises are fit for the tenant live in. This means that at commencement of the tenancy the lessor must ensure the premises are free of all pest and vermin and also has the obligation to keep the premises in that condition throughout the tenancy.  The Act provides that the lessor cannot contract out of their specific obligations by trying to pass on pest control requirements onto the tenant.

You (the tenant) will need to keep the place clean having regard to the condition of the property at the start of the tenancy and not do anything to cause a pest infestation. However, if you kept pets during the tenancy, you need to ensure the premises is free of pests or engage a professional pest control service when you leave. Make sure you keep any receipts to show you have taken reasonable steps to reduce any pest control problem.