If you’re a renter living in Victoria, you’ve probably heard of VCAT – they’re the folk who resolve disputes under the Residential Tenancies Act between landlords and tenants.
At Anika, we strive to provide all our clients with personalised, online legal support that is 100% free. Whether it’s getting repairs done or negotiating a rent reduction with your landlord, most of our cases result in a successful outcome – however, sometimes things don’t always go as planned. And that’s where VCAT comes in.
The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) is a tribunal (less formal than a court) that resolves legal disputes and cases in Victoria. VCAT often works in conjunction with CAV (Consumer Affairs Victoria) who is an authority on tenancy disputes but do not actually have the power that VCAT has to make decisions and rulings.
CAV are the government body who give general and trusted advice to tenants without being in a position to 'intervene' or make ruling decisions.
CAV provides mediation between landlords and tenants to help them achieve an agreement. CAV’s mediator may make suggestions but will never force the parties into an outcome. VCAT is the organisation that provides a binding decision based on legislative criteria after considering the circumstances of both landlord and tenant.
Generally, people go to CAV to get an 'inspection' of the repairs they need carried out. CAV then decides if a repair is urgent/non-urgent/non-existent. From there they will provide an official report which can be used as very compelling evidence for VCAT (who ultimately have the power to make more binding orders).
If you are looking for a rent reduction, the main factor that determines whether you are eligible is whether you have experienced ‘severe hardship’. This is something CAV can help you determine.
It is worth mentioning that CAV often outsources some of their mediation to the Dispute Settlement Centre and there is often a delay in getting matters before both CAV and VCAT so patience is key!
The VCAT Residential Tenancies Division deals with matters involving:
Consumer Affairs Victoria:
Victoria’s consumer regulator that ensures a fair market place for landlords, tenants, businesses, and consumers in general.
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