It is not uncommon for landlords and tenants to have disagreements. You and your tenants can usually settle these issues. However, there may be conflicts that you cannot resolve yourselves. Here, you may wish to place a claim with the Tenancy Tribunal. The Tenancy Tribunal is a public forum with the jurisdiction to resolve tenancy disputes through an adjudicator’s help. This article will outline:

  • how you can apply to the Tenancy Tribunal;
  • what you will need to do to prepare for a Tribunal hearing; and
  • the Tenancy Tribunal hearing process in New Zealand. 

Applying to the Tenancy Tribunal

To apply to the Tenancy Tribunal, you must complete an online application form. Applying is a four-step process. 

1. Register to Apply

To access the application form, you will have to have a RealMe login. If you do not have a RealMe login, you can create an account on the Tenancy Services website.

2. Log on to the Tenancy Tribunal Application Website

Once you have created a RealMe login, you will need to log on to the Tenancy Tribunal application online tool.

3. Fill in the Application Form

You will need to have certain documents with you when you are completing your application. You will need to provide electronic copies of:

  • the tenancy agreement between you and the tenants you are in a dispute with;
  • a 14-day notice to remedy, if you provided one to your tenants; and
  • any letters or correspondence between you and your tenants. 

These documents must be A4, easy to read and one-sided.

While completing the application form, you will have to outline why you are applying to the Tenancy Tribunal. You should clearly state what these reasons are in simple language. You should also include any specific details concerning that particular issue.

For example, if you are seeking overdue rent from your tenants, you should include:

  • an outline of the rent throughout the tenancy. This outline should state whether the rent was to be paid on a weekly or fortnightly basis;
  • an indication of the missed payments; and
  • the total amount of rent overdue. 

You will need to provide certain details about your tenants, including an address. This address, or the address for service, is where the Tenancy Tribunal will serve the notices of mediation and hearings. If the tenancy ended less than two months ago, you could use the tenancy address as your tenants’ address for service. However, if the tenancy ended more than two months ago, you should;

  • state a new address for your tenants. This address could be your tenant’s workplace or new residence;
  • state the name and address of a solicitor or an agent that your tenant has consented to receive notices on their behalf; or
  • apply for substituted service. A substituted service involves serving notices to a different party, such as a relative or a partner of your ex-tenant.

4. Submit the Application

Once you have filled out the application form, you will have to pay an application fee. This fee is $20.44 (including GST).

Preparing For a Hearing

Once you have submitted your application, the Tenancy Tribunal will:

  • offer mediation to resolve your dispute;
  • offer to use the FastTrack Resolution process; or 
  • schedule a hearing.

If you are scheduled for a hearing, you will receive a notice of hearing from the Tribunal. This notice will include the:

  • details about your dispute;
  • hearing date and time; and
  • location of the hearing.

Your hearing will usually be scheduled within the 20 working days after you have submitted your application. It is best practice to use this period to prepare for your hearing. You should gather all of the original documents that you submitted as evidence in your application. This evidence may include:

  • bank statements;
  • inspection records; 
  • letters; or
  • photos.

If you wish to bring any witnesses to affirm your case, you will need to:

  • ask them to speak at the hearing; and
  • notify Tenancy Services that you will be bringing a witness. 

You will not usually be allowed to have a lawyer or a representative to appear on your behalf in the hearing. As you will have to explain your own case, you may wish to prepare and write out what you would like to say.

The Hearing

A Tenancy Tribunal adjudicator will administer the hearing. Before you engage in any substantive material, you will be asked to confirm that everything you say at the hearing is true. Once you have made this promise, you will tell your side of the dispute. You should present your case succinctly and clearly. If you have any witnesses, you will call on them to present their evidence and answer any questions that the tenant or adjudicator may have. Your tenants will do the same.

Once you and the tenants have presented your case, the adjudicator will analyse all of the evidence presented. They will reach a final decision by analysing how the law applies to your particular dispute. The adjudicator will release their final decision, or an order, on the day of the hearing or shortly after. This order will summarise your hearing and describe the adjudicator’s final decision and any actions that should be taken. For example, the adjudicator will detail the amount of money that your tenants have to pay to compensate for their overdue rent. 

Key Takeaways

As a landlord, you may get into a dispute with your tenants. If you cannot resolve this issue yourself, you may have to go to the Tenancy Tribunal. You can place an application with the Tenancy Tribunal on the Tenancy Services website. Once you have submitted your application, you will be scheduled for a hearing. It is important that you prepare for this hearing and present your case effectively to the adjudicator to ensure that all issues are resolved. If you are experiencing issues with your tenants, contact LegalVision’s property and leasing lawyers on 0800 005 570 or complete the form on this page.

Frequently Asked Questions 

What is the Tenancy Tribunal?

The Tenancy Tribunal is a public forum in which tenancy disputes can be resolved through an adjudicator’s help.

How does the Tenancy Tribunal work?

The Tenancy Tribunal resolves tenancy disputes through a meditation or hearing process. In a hearing, the landlord and tenants will present their case. The adjudicator will resolve the dispute and reach a final decision by applying the law’s evidence.

How do I prepare for a tenancy tribunal hearing?

To prepare for a tenancy tribunal hearing, you should: gather all of the evidence that supports your case, such as photos or inspection records; contact any witnesses that support your case. If you are going to bring a witness to the hearing, you should notify Tenancy Services; and prepare what you would like to say at the hearing.  

What can the Tenancy Tribunal do?

The Tenancy Tribunal can make a wide range of orders to resolve disputes between landlords and tenants. These orders can be in relation to the landlord regaining possession of their property by ending the current tenancy; paying overdue rent or the cost of damage caused to the property; repaying the bond back to tenants; or ordering the landlord to have work done to the property. 

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