Staying out of court: learning more about tenancy dispute management
The Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) is quite a topical subject in our industry at the moment as the legislation which governs our operation, The Residential Tenancies & Rooming Accommodation Act 2008, is going through a process of review to try to reduce the red tape and streamline our ability to service our clients better. Around 50 tenancy disputes are lodged with QCAT every day, it’s the last step in a dispute, and while both sides usually want to avoid going to court it’s important to understand how it works.
As part of our commitment to our clients, our agency continues to further our understanding of this Act and recently took advantage of a workshop held by the REIQ on QCAT Know How. As one of our Senior Property Managers I went along to soak up all this information. Read on for my account of the training:
I arrive at the REIQ greeted by the lovely ladies at reception who provide me with a printed copy of the 138 page Residential Tenancies & Rooming Accommodation Act and workbook. QCAT is a personal interest of mine so I’ll be honest and say that I was buzzing to get in and start hearing about some of the topical issues which face us as property managers. It was also a big kudos to the REIQ that they secured Senior Member of QCAT Peta Stilgoe to speak at this workshop and provide us with her take on some topics and also some tips on the QCAT process.
If I could choose one thing that really stood out to me on this day it would be the fact that QCAT want to see that an attempt, if not several, have been made to negotiate the issue between tenant and agent outside of the QCAT arena. This means that all parties need to have an open mind in coming to an agreement or the result in QCAT may be less favourable. QCAT is a vital part of the industry and to secure an outcome in the favour of our client we must know the ins and outs of the Act but also understand how to reference and use these to our success.
In coming weeks I’ll visit some of the key topics like managing the final steps for gaining a warrant for possession of a rental property, and some interesting QCAT examples on the difference between “fair wear and tear” and tenant damage. Our view is that with better education of the likely QCAT outcomes, we can help both our landlord clients and tenants understand their legal positions and avoid court wherever possible.