January 9, 2012

QCAT - two years on (Queensland)

QCAT (Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal) celebrated it's 2nd birthday on the 1st December 2011. QCAT was the biggest judicial change in Queensland history in over 50 years and replaced the former Small Claims Tribunal.

QCAT brought many significant changes particularly to the Real Estate Industry. Some of the significant changes included

* many new statutory forms

* jurisdiction to hear matters up to $25 000 (used to be $7500)

* all hearings are recorded and there is ability to purchase the hearing via transcript or via audio CD at relatively low cost

* ability to appeal decisions (subject to meeting the criteria)

* requirments to provide reasons for their decision and the ability to receive the reason for decision at no cost

* ability for matters to be reopened if a party did not appear and has a reasonable excuse for not appearing on the day.

One of the significant changes is also published decisions and published appeals for all to see. Queensland now has for the first time precedent law which property managers and licensees should be being kept up to date with decisions and appeals to allow for better negotiation and education with lessors and tenants over certain disputes. If there has been a decision made over a matter that is currently being dealt with within agency, some cases should be used to assist in negotiation with the parties.

Real Estate Excellence can assist with training in agency or via telephone. Contact www.realestateexcellence.com.au for a proposal for private services.

Information about QCAT and the forms are available at www.qcat.qld.gov.au

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