While a NSW government plan to amalgamate the state’s “complex and bewildering” tribunal system might reduce costs and make it easier to understand, the overall impact could undermine the dispute resolution process for property managers, according to one industry professional.
Sandra McGee, rental manager from Starr Partners and member of the property management chapter for the Real Estate Institute of NSW (REINSW), described the idea of amalgamating tribunals across the state as a catch-22.
“It might even be better because they could cut costs,” she told Residential Property Manager. “One of the problems with the Consumer, Trader & Tenancy Tribunal (CTTT) at the moment is the terrible costs it takes to run all these offices.
“But, in the meantime, if there aren’t as many members to handle residential tenancy, then that would cause a problem.
“At the moment, I have to wait three or four weeks after an application is submitted in Sydney. And in the country it’s even worse.”
The NSW Attorney General, Greg Smith, announced a plan in October to simplify the state’s “complex and bewildering” tribunal system and make it more accessible to the community.
Mr Smith said 23 of the state’s tribunals will be integrated into a new overarching tribunal that will provide “a simple, quick and effective process for resolving disputes, supervising occupations and reviewing executive action”.
“The NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT) will be a one-stop shop for almost all state tribunals, ranging from relatively small bodies such as the Chinese Medicine Tribunal through to the much larger Consumer, Trader & Tenancy Tribunal,” Mr Smith said.
Ms McGee’s local tribunal in Parramatta, in Sydney’s west, was closed last March.
“We would take an hour and a half at the most, we’d get in the car and drive ten minutes. But now we have to catch a 45 minute train, walk from the station. It pretty much takes up half your day now.”
The CEO of the Real Estate Institute of NSW (REISNW), Tim McKibbin, said the institute is keeping their finger on the pulse.
“We’re watching this space very closely and we have some participation in it, but the dispute resolution process is a very important part of property management and we certainly wouldn’t want to see the service they provide deteriorate or disrupted,” he told Residential Property Manager.
“So it is something that we’re concerned about, but in all societies things evolve and develop and it’s important to have things regularly reviewed, but nevertheless there can be unintended consequences which is why we’re keeping close to the issue and providing feedback.”