Defending a Hearing Application
If you are responding to a claim lodged by the lessor, agent or provider, you will be the respondent at the hearing. The Tribunal will send you a Notice of Hearing and a copy of the application lodged by the other party.
Read this carefully, as this is what you need to respond to when you attend the hearing. As the respondent, it is important to attend the hearing so that you can present your side of the story. If you don’t attend the hearing, an order may be made in your absence, based solely on the information presented by the lessor, agent or provider.
It is in your interests to attend the hearing because:
- The lessor or provider may apply for other orders that you have not been told about (for example a compensation order).
- Your evidence may show that the claims by the lessor, agent or provider are unreasonable or invalid.
- The Member or Adjudicator will hear both sides of the dispute.
When you gather evidence and prepare your statement keep in mind that you need to respond to the claim being made by the other party. Has evidence been provided to justify the claim? Do you have evidence to dispute the claim? Are there other issues that need to be taken into account? What decision do you want the Tribunal to make to resolve the dispute?
Be aware the Tribunal has limited time to deal with each hearing and may not have time to read a lengthy statement. If you have a long statement with detailed information it is helpful to number the paragraphs so you can refer to them easily.
It is also useful to list and number any attached evidence. When preparing for a Tribunal hearing, it is useful to have a one page cover sheet, which summarises your key points and refers to your evidence. At the hearing this summary can help you stay on track and focus on the most important issues. Your summary statement can also state what decision you think should be made.
If you are the respondent, you may use a Minor civil dispute – counter application form, to lodge a counter application against the applicant. This applies when your claim arises out of the same situation, you dispute the applicant’s allegations and you want to request an alternative Tribunal decision.
For example, a dispute over rent arrears may relate to a repair dispute. You could lodge a counter application to seek a decision about the repairs. You may use this form instead of making a separate application. This means both applications may be heard and decided together.
To lodge a counter application, fill in a Minor civil dispute – counter application form and lodge at least three copies at the same Tribunal where the original application was lodged. A counter application must be lodged as soon as practicable, and no later than seven days after the original application is filed.