Defending an Eviction - What if I don't Lodge a Defence?
You may appear at the hearing and present a defence, even if you have not submitted anything in writing beforehand. However, whilst it may make no difference to the outcome, advance notice of your position may result in a better and more sympathetic understanding on the part of the tribunal member and a greater willingness to negotiate on the part of the landlord.
Preparing for the hearing
- ACAT is open to the public and it’s a good idea to sit in on a hearing or two before your hearing date to get familiar with the place and the proceedings. ACAT registry has a list of the hearings (daily lists) that you can use to plan a visit, go to www.acat.gov.au
- Find out how the law supports you in defending the eviction - and how it may support the landlord in seeking the eviction so you are prepared for the landlord's arguments.
- Create a folder for your case, arrange your documents in chronological order and label them with stick-on flags so that you can quickly find what you need during the hearing.
- Assemble your evidence and, if you have any witnesses, make sure they are able to attend on the day and know where to go.
Assembling your evidence
ACAT is not bound by the rules of evidence that apply to courts, but in order to convince the tribunal member that you should not be evicted, you need to have reliable evidence to support the statements you make in your defence. For example, a receipt is evidence that a payment has been made; a dated photograph is evidence of the condition of the premises; a statement from a neighbour that there has been no loud music for the last 2 weeks is evidence that you have remedied the breach. (See Tenancy Factsheet: Evidence Checklist for ACAT).
The things you say yourself at the hearing are also evidence, so make sure that the statements you are planning to make are clear and accurate. Write a list of points you want to make, and the evidence you have to support each point.
Information supplied courtesy of the Tenants Union of ACT
Further information and advice for ACT tenants can be sourced from