Resolving Disputes - Inquiry
An inquiry may be held if:
- the Commissioner decides a matter should be determined at inquiry; or
- the parties are unable to negotiate a settlement at a conciliation conference.
An inquiry will be conducted by the Commissioner with a minimum of formality, and the rules of evidence will not apply. An inquiry will be open to the public.
The Commissioner has broad powers in conducting an inquiry, including summonsing persons to attend or requiring the production of books and records, or entering land or buildings. A person who fails to comply with a summons to attend or produce books or records, or misbehaves or interrupts proceedings at an inquiry faces a fine. PENALTY OF UP TO $11 000
At an inquiry, the Commissioner may:
- declare that all or part of money paid by the tenant as a security deposit be returned or retained by the landlord;
- order that an amount for rent be paid by the tenant;
- order that repairs or maintenance be carried out by the landlord;
- declare that the tenant abandoned the premises on a particular date;
- declare that a tenancy has, or has not, been validly terminated;
- require the tenant to give up possession of the premises to the landlord or require the landlord to give up possession of the premises to the tenant; or
- do anything else necessary or desirable to resolve a matter to which an application relates.
The landlord and the tenant will usually bear their own costs, eg cost of legal or expert advice. If the Commissioner considers the application frivolous or vexatious, the Commissioner may make an order for costs.