Preparing for court - rental disputes

You should understand the section(s) of the Act your case relates to. You should read the Act or seek general advice from the department.

You can can seek private legal advice.  Some tenants can also obtain legal advice from a Community Legal Centre.

Dedicate sufficient time to the preparation of evidence. Lodge your evidence through eCourts as ‘supporting documents’ after you apply and before your court date. Only lodge what is relevant to the claims in your application and make sure the documents are labelled accurately.

Evidence might include:

  • a rent ledger showing dates of rent payments and which periods each payment covered (preferred over receipts and bank statements alone);
  • served notices and evidence of the service of the notice (such as the email it was attached to);
  • the tenancy agreement;
  • property condition reports;
  • bond lodgement certificate and any other bonds forms;
  • general correspondence including emails, texts or instant messages.

Bring copies of evidence to court for your own reference, or a laptop or tablet that you can use to access copies. Ensure everything is sorted properly for ease of use. Before you attend court, make an orderly list of the points you need to make. Any evidence that is digital but cannot be uploaded through eCourts may be provided on a USB stick. You will need to complete a security declaration prior to the hearing, available at the registry of the Magistrates Court.

If you are unable to attend the court proceedings for strong personal reasons, such as illness or being interstate/overseas, or if you can’t represent yourself, the court can appoint an appropriate person to represent or assist you. This can happen as long as the other party will not be disadvantaged by the representation.

Whether you win or lose in court may depend on whether you followed the correct procedures in handling the dispute from the beginning to the court stage, and how thorough you are in preparing your evidence.

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