Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal
The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (Residential Tenancies List) settles disputes between tenants and landlords.
VCAT operates like a court but is not as formal, and deals with a wide range of issues, including disputes arising from the Residential Tenancies Act.
VCAT is able to make decisions or ‘orders’ that can be enforced by law. It is intended to be informal and cheap, and to resolve disputes quickly and fairly.
VCAT hears a range of disputes, including those between tenants and landlords.
Application forms are available from VCAT and Consumer Affairs Victoria. Once you have applied for your case to be heard, VCAT will inform you of the date, time and place of the hearing.
Hearings take place in the city, suburbs and country Victoria. It is important to be prepared for a hearing.
The VCAT member will hear and consider all the evidence presented from both sides. This might include listening to evidence from witnesses or looking at photographs and other documents brought to the hearing by you or the other party.
VCAT’s decisions are usually made on the day of the hearing; they must be obeyed by both parties in the same way as a court order. VCAT will also consider urgent hearings in cases of extreme hardship.
You must include a letter outlining the reasons why a matter is urgent when you lodge your application.
Interpreters at VCAT
VCAT can provide interpreters for the parties directly involved in a dispute. If you need an interpreter, VCAT must be told at the time of making the application.
VCAT will then arrange for an interpreter free of charge. Friends or relatives are generally not allowed to interpret for a tenant or landlord.