FAQs on Tenancy Dispute Resolution

Photo: Makertorium by Gregory Bodnar

Disputes can cause big headaches for both landlords and tenants. So we've put together this article to answer some commonly asked questions about various options available for resolving a dispute.

FastTrack Resolution

- What is it?
FastTrack Resolution is the service provided by Tenancy Services to formalise the agreement already reached by the landlord and tenants after the dispute.

- Can any agreement be validated through FastTrack Resolution?
No, FastTrack resolution is not suitable in all the tenancy scenarios. For example, you can't use FastTrack resolution if there are more than 2 tenants on the agreement, or only partial agreement was reached on the problem.

Mediation

- What is it?
Mediation is the service run by Tenancy Services and is considered the first legal step to solve a dispute between landlords and tenants. There are different types of mediation available (telephone and face-to-face), and Tenancy Services typically decides what is most appropriate.

- How quickly can a Mediation appointment be scheduled?
It usually takes about 8 working days for the appointment to be organised.

- Will the mediator decide my dispute with tenants?
No, the mediator does not make decisions, nor do you need to convince them of who is right and who is wrong. The goal of the mediation is for the landlord and the tenant to discuss issues together, reach an agreement and avoid an unnecessary Tribunal hearing.

- Will the decision be publically available?
No, everything discussed during Mediation stays private, unlike Tenancy Tribunal decisions that are usually publically available.

The Tenancy Tribunal

- What is it?
The Tenancy Tribunal is an independent judicial body that provides a quick and inexpensive way for tenants and landlords to resolve their disputes.

- How long does it take for the Tribunal hearing to be scheduled?
It usually takes about 20 working days from the day application is made to the day the Tenancy Tribunal hears your case.

- Do I need to attend a Tenancy Hearing if I submitted all the tenancy paperwork and evidence beforehand?
The importance of attending the hearing can't be stressed enough. In fact, if you can't attend the hearing, your side of the dispute is likely not to be considered. Moreover, if both parties don't show up for the hearing, the Tribunal is likely to dismiss the application altogether.

- Can I discuss multiple issues during the Tenancy Tribunal hearing?
Yes, BUT you must include ALL the issues you would like to discuss on the application form before the hearing. Problems outside of the application are generally not considered.

- Can I make the other party pay for the cost of a Tenancy Tribunal application?
Yes, but you need to request this when making your application.

- Can I have witnesses present during the hearing?
Yes, the applicant can call witnesses. Neighbours, property managers, police, and other tenants are considered 'good witnesses'. It is advisable that your witnesses attend the hearing, but their statements can also be allowed as evidence. Only something that is seen or heard first hand would be allowed as evidence (hearsay is not permitted)

- I'm not confident I can quote the tenancy law correctly. What can I do?
You're not expected to use the legal jargon or to quote a section of the Tenancies Act. In fact, you're encouraged to explain your situation in your own words using simple language both on the application and during the hearing.

- Can I observe someone else's hearing?
Yes, the Tenancy Tribunal is public, and it's actually advisable to attend one or two hearings to get an idea of how the process works.

- What is an attachment order?
An attachment order takes money from the benefits, wages or salary of the person who owes money and pays it directly to the person who is owed the money.

The maximum amount you can claim through an attachment order is the equivalent of 40% of your tenant's net income

- I don't like the decision made at the Tenancy Tribunal. Can I appeal?
No, if you simply don't like the decision, you can't apply for a rehearing or to appeal to the District Court. You can only do so if you believe that the decision was substantially wrong, you think there was a miscarriage of justice, or new evidence has become available.

Learn more about types of disputes and the best ways to resolve them
Learn more about the Tenancy Tribunal and things to expect

The information contained in this article is exclusively for promotional purposes. It does not in any way constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as the basis for any legal action or contractual dealings. The information is not and does not attempt to be, a comprehensive account of the relevant law in New Zealand. If you require legal advice you should seek independent legal counsel. myRent.co.nz does not accept any liability that may arise from the use of this information.

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