What should I do if I am in rent arrears? - ACT Civil and administrative tribunal

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The landlord/agent must apply to the ACAT for a Termination and Possession Order before you can be evicted. The application can be made before the 14 days Notice to Vacate has even expired, as long as the Tribunal hearing is after the 14 days.

Most landlords wait the 14 days to see if the tenant will leave voluntarily. After the landlord has applied to the Tribunal, you will be sent a ‘Notice to the Respondent’, together with a copy of the landlord’s application.

Once you receive this notice, act immediately: seek advice from the Tenants’ Advice Service, Welfare Rights & Legal Centre or an independent solicitor. It is advisable (though not essential) to notify the Tribunal in writing if you intend to defend the eviction. Include all facts you want to rely on in your defence. You will also receive a ‘Hearing Notice’, stating the date, time and place of hearing.

If your rent arrears problem reaches this stage, see Tenancy Factsheet: Defending an Eviction.

In brief - to defend an eviction:

  • Be at the Tribunal at the right time / the right day;
  • Be prepared - have a list of points you want to get across to the Tribunal Member: how/why you got behind in the rent, what steps you have taken, and what you propose for the future;
  • Have ready and in good order any documents you want to show the Member;
  • Keep cool and be courteous, no matter what the landlord, agent or Tribunal Member says.

Information supplied courtesy of the Tenants Union of ACT

Further information and advice for ACT tenants can be sourced from