Defending an Eviction - Hearing Procedures

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When your case is called, you need to be ready to go into the hearing room and take your place at either the left or right side of tables (neither side is particularly designated for tenants but you may find that some landlords or agents have a preferred side).

The tribunal member sits in the centre, with an assistant who takes notes and ensures the proceedings are tape-recorded. ACAT procedures are set out on their website. The ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 2008 says that it must be as simple, quick, inexpensive and informal as is consistent with achieving justice (s 24). Generally the member will introduce him/herself and invite the parties to introduce themselves.

The landlord or agent, being the applicant, will usually go first, with their case for eviction. The tenant will then present their case against eviction. Each party should have the opportunity to question theevidence of the other.

It is useful to make notes of the points the landlord makes so that you can counter his/her arguments and answer any incorrect or misleading statements. The member can ask questions and make comments at any point in the proceedings.

You should have an opportunity to summarise your case before the member makes any orders. The member may briefly adjourn the hearing and suggest the parties meet outside the hearing room to negotiate a settlement. If the parties come to an agreement, the tribunal can make orders by consent.

Be very cautious about what you agree to as once the tribunal makes this order, you are bound by it.

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Information supplied courtesy of the Tenants Union of ACT

Further information and advice for ACT tenants can be sourced from

www.tenantsact.org.au