navigating ncat disputes
  • July 8, 2024
  • Effective Building
  • 0

NCAT disputes can be intimidating to first-time property owners, especially considering the common perception that the NCAT tends to favour tenants. While the role of the New South Wales Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT) is to satisfactorily resolve disputes, it will be your or your legal representative’s responsibility to provide evidence supporting your case.

How Are You Involved in An NCAT Dispute? 

There are different types of NCAT cases that a property owner can be involved in. If your property is part of a residential land lease community, strata scheme, or community scheme, then the NCAT will refer to the corresponding law.

In every case, there will be an applicant and a respondent. A likely scenario is for the tenant to be the applicant (the one asking the NCAT to assist in resolving the dispute) and the property owner to be the respondent (the one who has to defend against their claim).

Being A Respondent in An NCAT Dispute 

When you are named as a respondent in the application to the NCAT, you will receive a copy of that application, which will include the NCAT orders being applied for. NCAT orders are specific decisions that the applicant wants the NCAT to enforce as part of the resolution.

NCAT orders are legally binding. While you can appeal an NCAT order (asking the NCAT to reconsider), you only have 14 days after being notified of their decision if it’s a residential proceeding. You must also pay the AU$124 fee to appeal to the NCAT.

Of course, property owners can settle the matter privately with the tenant. However, you can’t force or pressure the tenant to withdraw their application. Furthermore, the NCAT will try to encourage an agreement between you and the tenant before the formal hearing.

Prepare for Your NCAT Dispute Hearing

If you’ve chosen not to hire a legal representative, the first thing you need to do after receiving the application copy is gather evidence. For disputes involving property owners and tenants, the owner may want to provide documented evidence that the tenant has missed the rent payment due dates. 

Ideally, you should still have photos of the property before the tenant moved in. If time-stamped or verified as having been taken before occupancy, these photos can prove that the tenant moved into a relatively undamaged property.

Other documents to prepare in advance are the rental agreement, printouts of emails sent to the tenant, inspection reports, service invoices, and proof that you’ve paid for those repair services if the tenant didn’t cover the costs.

If you’ve collected all the possible evidence in your favour, organise the documents and make multiple copies to give to the Tribunal Members before or during the hearing. You should be as cooperative as possible with the NCAT and comply with their instructions.

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About Elie Farah

Elie Farah is a Building Consultant with over 25 years of experience in the property industry. Elie has specialised knowledge in development acquisitions, blue-chip properties and inspections, as well as flood-affected and waterfront properties, heritage buildings, bushfire management and existing use rights.

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