Sometimes it might feel like the tribunal is the only way to resolve a dispute, but property managers are being warned it could backfire.
Let’s Rent founder and managing director, Lisa Indge, believes property managers should do their best to steer clear of tribunal hearings.
Ms Indge says when there are disagreements between landlords/property managers and tenants, tribunal hearings should be avoided “at all costs”.
“It is important to always negotiate because we don’t want to escalate a situation where it’s not necessary,” she told The Smart Property Investment Show.
Ms Indge suggested settling the dispute outside of an official hearing – even if it goes slightly in favour of the tenant – because the outcome could be worse for the landlord if it escalates to the tribunal.
“Once you get to tribunal the decision is out of your hands because it’s likely that if you have not been able to conciliate and reach an agreement at the first hearing, the other party is going to take it all the way through to the hearing, in which case you have a member who is going to decide and is more than likely going to decide in the tenant’s favour,” she said.
Ms Indge, who is an active member of the REI Property Management Chapter, said in cases of disagreements between landlords and tenants, the outcome is usually favourable to the tenant.
However, in cases of rental arrears, “the legislation is actually in the landlord’s favour” and if the property manager follows the correct procedure, they should be awarded an eviction notice “in the vast majority of cases”.
Ms Indge said it is important to remember that a good tenant can go through a rough patch and the tribunal may not be necessary, even if they are several days overdue on their payments.
“It’s not a black and white situation, [but] it is when you get to tribunal.”