Commissioner's blog: Solving tenancy disputes with new service
If you’re stuck in a deadlock with your landlord or tenant over a COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic related tenancy issue, a new service can help resolve the dispute without needing to step foot inside a courtroom.
Our recently launched Residential Tenancies Mandatory Conciliation Service (RTMCS) is a free process that aims to help both sides come to an agreement through informal discussion in a relaxed environment.
Unlike court where a decision is imposed, mandatory conciliation encourages renters and landlords to work together to come up with arrangements that suit everyone.
The service covers a range of rental issues that have arisen during the COVID-19 emergency period, from 20 March to 29 September 2020.
These issues can relate to repairs, rent repayments, rent increases, terminating or changing an agreement, and covers those with a residential tenancy agreement, long-stay agreement in a residential park, or a boarding and lodging agreement.
If you are involved in a dispute being conciliated by the service, you must take part in the process, meaning you have to at least talk to the conciliator and be involved in a discussion with your landlord or tenant. You may be fined if you refuse to participate.
After launching a few weeks ago, the RTMCS is receiving up to 100 complaints a week and is already achieving positive outcomes.
One success story involves a tenant who was facing urgent eviction under shocking circumstances. The conciliator brought both the tenant and landlord together to work out a fair way for the renter to leave the property, and also receive compensation given the situation.
With most complaints involving rent payments, it’s worth remembering that if you’re a renter who lost their job after 20 March 2020 you might be eligible for a grant that will cover four weeks’ rent up to the value of $2000. See if you qualify at: www.dmirs.wa.gov.au/covidrentgrant
For more information about the mandatory conciliation service, visit: www.dmirs.wa.gov.au/covidrentdispute
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