Tribunal proceedings

The NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT) is an independent body which deals with certain kinds of disputes between landlords and tenants. It is not a formal court, but its decisions are legally binding.

An application generally costs $51. If you are on a government pension or benefit, Austudy, Abstudy or have a Seniors Card the application fee is $13 (you must provide a card or other evidence for the concession to be applied). Fees may be waived or postponed for special reasons.

Tenants usually represent themselves, but you can ask the Tribunal to let another person (such as a Tenant Advocate) represent you.

See also Factsheet 11: NSW Civil & Administrative Tribunal.

 

Tribunal proceedings and process during COVID-19

 

The NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal has announced changes to their procedures due to COVID-19 on their website.

You can apply to have a phone hearing. Ensure you inform the Tribunal if you are in a higher risk category (for example if you are immune suppressed or a carer for elderly relatives) so they can consider this when assessing and prioritising your request.

While you are able to do a phone hearing on a mobile, in general landlines are preferred because of the reliability of the line.

If you are unwell and/or required to self isolate and will be unable to attend the hearing you can request the Tribunal adjourn the hearing – that is, for the Tribunal to change the date of the hearing. More information about requesting an adjournment can be found on the Tribunal's website here.

See also Factsheet 11: NSW Civil & Administrative Tribunal.

 

Eviction hearings

 

If a landlord or agent has applied to the Tribunal for an eviction hearing, you will receive a ‘Notice of Conciliation and Hearing’ with the date, time and place of the hearing.

You should attend the hearing and take all letters, receipts and other evidence to support your case.

The Tribunal Member will encourage you and the landlord/agent to resolve the problem together in conciliation. If you cannot come to an agreement about the tenancy, a hearing will commence. The Tribunal Member will then look at your evidence and that of the landlord or agent.

If the Tribunal makes a termination order, you must return the premises to the landlord. The Tribunal will consider the relative hardship to you and the landlord and specify the day for vacant possession. However, even after the Tribunal has made a termination order, you may still save your tenancy if:

  • the Tribunal has not found that you have ‘frequently failed to pay’ the rent or water usage charges, and
  • the Sheriff hasn’t enforced the warrant for possession yet.

See also:

 

Urgent hearings

 

For an urgent hearing, attach a letter to the Tribunal application form saying why the application is urgent. Tribunal application forms are available at:

See also Factsheet 11: NSW Civil & Administrative Tribunal.