What is NCAT and why is it important?
NCAT stands for the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (commonly called NCAT, or ‘The Tribunal’ in real estate). NCAT is an independent dispute resolution body that amongst other duties, resolves tenancy disputes. For example, if a tenant does not pay their rent and needs to be evicted, unless they vacate of their own accord, a managing agent will need to facilitate the process via an application to NCAT for possession of the property.
Orders that NCAT can make include:
- settling a dispute about rent increases if a tenant believes a rent increase is excessive;
- making an order that a tenant pay off rent arrears by instalments;
- forcing a landlord to carry out essential repairs and maintenance;
- deciding what happens to the rental bond in a situation where the landlord claims for damages to property at end of tenancy;
- recovering water usage from a tenant who is refusing to pay;
- where a tenant refuses access, granting access to a property for inspections to check its condition or to show the property to prospective buyers or tenants;
- an order permitting the landlord to lock out the tenant and take possession back of the property.
NCAT can also be used by sellers who are disputing agent fees and services.
Since allowing parties to be represented by lawyers would increase the cost, and also increase the time, to process matters at Tribunal, lawyers are not generally permitted to represent parties at a Tribunal hearing. Managing agents must instead apply for and present a case on behalf of their client at an NCAT hearing.
Training in presenting a case to NCAT is part of agency licensing requirements for real estate. RETS has a variety of units that look at presenting in NCAT - contact us to find out more