The 2016 Census showed that the trend towards renting over owning a home has continued to rise. The percentage of Australians who are renting has increased slightly from 29.6 per cent to 30.9 per cent in 2016 (from the last census). In a society where renting is the preferred option, it’s only fair to expect that landlord/tenant issues will also be on the rise.

Why do issues arise?

Most landlords will rent their property through an agent which will help them navigate the best path forward with the appropriate paperwork and protective measures in place. Most of the time issues arise at the end of a lease when a property has been damaged, rent is significantly outstanding, or the landlord and tenant can’t agree on what needs to be taken out of the bond for apparent damage or other expenses. The agent can only do so much to negotiate the outcome especially if the landlord and tenant cannot agree, and so when the resolution of a dispute is outside the agent’s ability to manage, the tenant or landlord can apply to the state’s Civil and Administrative Tribunal (eg. SA – SACAT) for an outcome.

The issue with tribunals

Tribunals are the courtroom of tenancy disputes. The process can be long and arduous with SACAT generally dealing with an issue at a full hearing, conference, conciliation or mediation to resolve an issue. In the meantime, the bond is still held by the Consumer and Business Services, and it’s hard to move on from the situation.

Once you get to the final stages of the dispute, the judge makes their decision based on the paperwork in front of them. It can go either way, and at the end, you may find yourself wondering whether taking the issue to the tribunal was really worth it.

Alternative Dispute Resolution

Mediation without the Courts is a great way to get the landlords and tenants talking things out with the help of an outside mediator. The discussion held in mediation can help both work through the issues and come to a quicker resolution and one that saves you time and money. A mediation can be set up within 48 hours and the dispute resolved quickly. You can then get on with enjoying the next season of your life.

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