Life always presents challenges to us in one form or another. How we respond to those challenges is usually the measure of a person.
So, when something goes wrong there should be a way to fix the situation.
Logically, if a Tenant doesn’t pay the rent, or the property is damaged it makes sense that the outstanding rent should be paid and the damage to the property should be rectified. That’s common sense. We do our best to negotiate these types of situation with the tenants, if they are at fault, and in most cases we are successful in sorting out the issues involved.
However, sometimes the logical outcome doesn’t eventuate. The tenant doesn’t pay the rent or won’t pay for the damage. What happens then?
Well, that’s when the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) comes into play.
VCAT is a Government body set up to hear cases and resolve disputes through negotiation, mediation and hearings. VCAT operates like a court but is not as formal and hears a range of disputes including, but is not restricted to, those between tenants and landlords. VCAT’s decisions must be obeyed by both parties in the same way as a court order.
Now you would think that something as simple as the rent not being paid when it is due would be pretty straightforward and VCAT would rule quite quickly in the landlords favour. Unfortunately there are some large pieces of red tape to overcome and these things have to be dealt with in the correct manner or the hearing will not proceed.
Preparing for a hearing requires careful consideration as well as gathering together all the evidence to support your case.
According to VCATs website
“Submissions can range from brief verbal statements to detailed written submissions supported by expert evidence.
Written submissions are not compulsory, but they are the most common and the preferred form of presentation to VCAT. A written submission helps you to organise the case which you wish to present to VCAT. Reading from your written submission is simple, stress free, and effective. A person making a submission will not ordinarily be cross examined by other parties, although we may ask questions of you.”
Obviously time is required to compile the preferred form of presentation. It’s also worth noting that decisions can take time to be handed down depending on the complexity of the dispute. I think it’s important to remember that both parties are required to make submissions so that VCAT can make a decision.
Over the years, we have attended VCAT hearings on behalf of our Landlords. Sometimes the decisions are logical and sound, sometimes not. What is clear is that knowing how VCAT works and having experience in attending hearings makes the experience for our Landlords less stressful than it would be if they had to do it themselves. I shudder to think what could happen to an underprepared landlord representing themselves in a complex dispute.
Without a doubt, Property Management makes life easier for all concerned when disputes arise and VCAT is involved.