In the unlikely event that you need to deal with Australia’s Residential Tenancy Tribunal there is a structured protocol to go through to make sure all parties are catered to fairly. This process will usually start with mediation and then progress into formal hearings if necessary.
The steps to lodge a formal dispute is very streamlined, with many states allowing you to submit an application online and automatically generate a hearing notice. Keep in mind that the Tenancy Tribunal is not for landlords only, if a tenant feels they have a legitimate claim, they can also submit an application.
Some of the most common applications to the Tenancy Tribunal involve:
- Payment of rent arrears
- Reviews of rental rate increases
- Termination of a tenancy agreement
- Termination and possession order
- Compensation and reinstatement of wrongful eviction
Each state in Australia has their own Residential Tenancy Tribunal which together form the Australia’s Residential Tenancy Tribunal:
- ACT Residential Tenancies Tribunal
- New South Wales Consumer, Trader & Tenancy Tribunal
- Northern Territory Consumer and Business Affairs and Northern Territory Department of Justice
- Queensland Residential Tenancies Authority
- South Australia Residential Tenancies Tribunal
- Tasmania Consumer Affairs and Fair Trading and the Residential Tenancies Commissioner
- Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal
- Western Australia Department of Consumer and Employment Protection and a Magistrates Court
I want to focus on the Victorian Tribunal as this is where True Property Management is based. If you are based in another state, look at their website to find out where to start.
The Victorian Tribunal was formed in 1998 when 15 boards and tribunals amalgamated. The tribunal does not just focus on tenancy issues, but will also hear disputes concerning: purchase and supply of goods; credit; discrimination; domestic building works; guardianship and administration; disability services, health and privacy, mental health; legal profession services; and owners corporations (body corporate).
A few tips if you need to work with the Residential Tenancy Tribunal:
- Prepare your case in advance of lodging an application.
- Prepare a comprehensive list of the issues you want to raise – this will ensure you keep emotions out and you stay on track.
- Try and group events and issues by date. A chronological order will make it easier for the Tribunal member to understand the issue(s).
- Gather your evidence and create a system. You will need to produce a substantial amount of evidence to back up your claims, make sure that you have a system that allows you to retrieve each piece quickly.
- Practice your case. Rehearsing your presentation is vital to ensure you get your message across, highlight the evidence and stay focused.
- Make sure you know how the tribunal works. If you know how the system functions you will understand what is required in terms of evidence and issues, making it easier to have a successful outcome.
Have you used the Residential Tenancy Tribunal before? What happened? Do you have some tips to share that would be beneficial to others?