From 1 December 2009 several Queensland Tribunals will be amalgamating into the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT).
QCAT will hear a variety of matters, however from a property managers point of view it will hear and determine residential tenancy disputes.
As from 1 December 2009, the Small Claims Tribunal will cease to exist.
From an administrative point of view, if you have started a matter in the Small Claims Tribunal prior to 1 December 2009, it will automatically be transferred to QCAT.
The procedures are in effect much the same as the procedures used in the Small Claims Tribunal, however with some obvious changes.
The first step is to determine if your dispute is classed as an urgent or non-urgent dispute. Urgent disputes are such things as:
- Ending a residential tenancy agreement for such things as repeated breaches, excessive hardship, objectionable behavior, damage or injury, abandoned premises
- Handling of abandoned goods or documents
- Emergency repairs
- Proposed or existing tenancy database listing
- Entry to the premises
- Domestic violence issues
- Warrants of possession
There is essentially one form used being Form 2 – Application for minor civil dispute – residential tenancy dispute.
If the dispute is non-urgent then it is necessary to first contact the Residential Tenancies Authority to try to resolve the dispute through their Dispute Resolution Service.
If the matter is still not resolved after conciliation only then may you apply to QCAT. The Residential Tenancies Authority will give a Notice of Unresolved Dispute (NURD) which must be given to QCAT.
Again, for non-urgent matters you use the Form 2 – Application for minor civil dispute – residential tenancy dispute.
These forms can be obtained from QCAT’s Brisbane office (Level 9, Bank of Queensland Centre, 259 Queen Street, Brisbane 4000 or GPO Box 1639 Brisbane 4001) or at your local Magistrates Court (excluding the Brisbane Magistrates Court). The forms are also available on QCAT’s website www.qcat.qld.gov.au.
If your dispute is a non-urgent dispute you must also:
- provide a copy of the Notice of Unresolved Dispute as provided by the Residential Tenancies Authority.
- advise the Residential Tenancies Authority that you have applied to QCAT within seven days or within the time period nominated by the Residential tenancies Authority in the Notice of Unresolved Dispute. You need to do this to make sure the Residential tenancies Authority does not pay the bond out.
- Give the Residential Tenancies Authority a copy of the receipt from QCAT confirming you have lodged your application.
- QCAT will arrange for service of the application on the other party.
When an application has been made, the other party can make a counter application against the original application, in which case they are required to complete and lodge a Form 36 – Response and/or counter application.
If you have already applied for and obtained a termination order in respect of a tenancy and then wish to apply for compensation for losses and/or expenses, you must complete and file the form Minor civil dispute – request for compensation – residential tenancy dispute. This application must be lodged within six months of the termination order.
You can lodge applications either directly with QCAT at the address given above or through your local Magistrates Court (excluding the Brisbane Magistrates Court).
Should you require any assistance or advice regarding the transition to QCAT please do not hesitate to contact us, Drew Lauchland on 1300 883 916 or 0423 605 469 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
We would also appreciate any comments or feedback you have regarding the operations of QCAT. The Director-General of the Department of Justice and Attorney-General has asked all stakeholders in QCAT to provide regular and honest feedback and we at Barclay are more than happy to act as a conduit for you and to follow up and clarify any concerns you may have regarding the operation of QCAT.