June 7, 2013

QCAT – the now and the future of Property Management

QCAT (Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal) has been in operation since December 1 2009. Our industry is continuing to learn about the many changes that the new tribunal brought which replaced the former Small Claims Tribunal.

Some of main changes that QCAT brought for our industry include;

·        New forms

·        New procedures

·        Ability to appeal decisions (subject to criterion being met)

·        Hearing are recording with ability to purchase the transcript or audio CD

·        Ability to apply for a reopening (subject to criterion being met)

·        Decisions and Precedents are published

Our industry now has decision and precedent appeal decisions which are published publicly to review.  There are over 100 decisions published including appeals at time of publishing this blog.

It is imperative the property managers and licensees are aware of this important matter given our professional duty and obligations to our landlord client. If a precedent decision is similar to a matter that is being negotiated with a lessor and or tenant, the decision should be used to assist in negotiation. This is recommended for many reasons, namely;

·        To try and prevent attending tribunal and to self-resolve matters; and

·        To be seen to have acted in our clients best interests with our knowledge and professionalism

The QCAT decisions are recommended to be used in staff weekly training. For example discuss the case with the team and what your office has learnt from the decision plus how it could be used in situations. It is further recommended that the cases are saved electronically or manually to refer back to as needed. There are a vast myriad of decisions published that include break lease, mould matters, compensation, bond disputes, maintenance and much more.

It is further recommended that if a matter is being heard in Tribunal and there is a precedent that could assist in the application, include a copy of precedent (for all parties) and reference the particular paragraphs with the application.

How to access the QCAT published decisions and appeals

Simply visit the QCAT website www.qcat.qld.gov.au and click on the right hand side of screen where it states decisions (hyperlinked). Follow the prompts from there to either the Supreme Court library website or the Australasian Legal information Institute website. It is strongly recommended that when the cases are reviewed electronically that they are then saved in an electronic format or printed out and filed accordingly. This will enable easier later referencing and review in the future as needed. If saving the cases electronically, save the file with the catchwords as part of the case such as “break lease, dispute” for easier sourcing.
If your agency is a member office of Real Estate Excellence, please note that the cases are sourced and uploaded for you to access online as part of Membership services.