Dealing with QCAT and applying for QCAT orders can be an intimidating process and when you hear some horror stories from colleagues, well, that can really put you off your game. These simple tips will help you avoid common mistakes many make and will help you be more successful when dealing with QCAT.
Not enough – or no – research:
One of the most common mistakes property managers make when applying for QCAT orders is not knowing or researching the RTRA Act and Regulations. This is the legislation that enables QCAT to make decisions on residential tenancy matters and you should read it to understand how it works.
Read the Act, (it’s readily available online) and make sure you’re familiar with the regulations. There is so much information in these documents that will help you in all areas of your daily work life
How to apply and what to include:
When you’re making your application, there a few simple tips to keep in mind that will help your case succeed:
Be clear: It is important, when you are preparing a QCAT application, that you structure the application in a clear, concise manner.
Site evidence: Use supporting evidence in your application, reference published QCAT orders that you have used as a basis to support the Order you are seeking. I have found many PMs don’t regularly research residential tenancy published orders on the Supreme Court Library. Knowledge is power! Read, learn and understand all you can about this important governing body and its decision-making.
Educate yourself, your clients and tenants: Use published orders from the Supreme Court Library to help educate owners and tenants. This will also go a long way in demonstrating your knowledge and professionalism when submitting and presenting your case to QCAT.
Incorrect notice period:
A common issue for many PMs is not providing the correct notice period for a Form 11 or Form 12, depending on how the notice was issued to the tenant. In calculating the appropriate time frame both the RTRA Act and the Acts Interpretation Act need to be considered.
Insufficient file notes:
Another common mistake that is easily remedied is incomplete or insufficient file notes. Property managers should ensure every interaction they have with the tenant is recorded in the file notes so there is a chronological history/summary of the tenancy in its entirety. Sometimes these file notes contain a vital piece of evidence to help support the QCAT application and order being sought.
On the topic of evidence, this is another area that property managers need to be really mindful of. For example if there is an issue at a property, don’t guess what the problem is. Get a report from a suitably qualified contractor straight away. It’s not uncommon for tenant compensation claims to be made after a certain issue seems to have died down, so the PM needs to have supporting evidence in the event the tenant makes a claim. It is also vital the PM knows the RTRA Act and the appropriate time frame in which the tenant can make this type of claim.
I will be discussing these topics and providing a practical example at the I Love PM Conference. See the full program and get your tickets here.