OFT announces change from CTTT to NCAT

Rachael Jenkins

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The NSW Office of Fair Trading (OFT) is the governing body when it comes to the  matters of Residential Tenancies. Currently, the tribunal system is known as the CTTT - or the Consumer, Trader and Tenancy     Tribunal. In an announcement made by the OFT on 26 October, the OFT plans to  rework the tribunal system, and combine around 24 different tribunal into a new “super system” known as the NSW Civil & Administrative Tribunal - or the NCAT. 

Whilst I am yet to hear any specific reactions from the industry regarding this decision, I do wonder if it is a good idea. 



 

In other states that have introduced this new system, Property Managers have found that services, schedules and decisions have dramatically slowed down, and waiting longer for decisions by a tribunal system only ends up costing landlords more money. 

In QLD, when the system changed from  the Residential Tenancy Tribunal to QCAT, the changes were publicised as being  wonderful news for the industry. Processes were to be streamlined & decisions made faster - which is what I am now reading about NCAT...but this was not the case. From the mouth of a QLD Property Manager who is heavily campaigning on a regular basis to have the system changed, here is a list of poor outcomes  from the changes;



  • A claim used to be approximately 12 pages - a new claim is 115 pages or more, including a 15 page claim form

  • Times for getting a hearing date have extended from an average of 7 days to 7 weeks - with some having to wait 9 weeks or more

  • Often after waiting for a hearing date, then waiting around all day to be heard, then due to delays in tribunal’s schedule you are unable to be heard - the wait for a new date is two weeks


Is this what we want in NSW? 



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Waiting...for a tribunal hearing



Here are some quotes from the OFT’s own promotion of this new system that concern me;



  • 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 model will be structured to  preserve existing specialities rather than taking a 'one size fits all' approach 

  • NCAT will be different from the super tribunals operating in Vic, WA, QLD &  the ACT..we are hoping to learn from their experiences 

  • The new integrated body would be  divided into five specialist divisions – Consumer, Administrative and Equal Opportunity, Occupational and Regulatory, Guardianship, Victims 


I think anyone in Property Management who has experienced QCAT or VCAT will have concerns when considering the ‘benefits’ of NCAT. Click here for the link to the article from OFT. 

And, I would love to hear you have your say - both Property Managers and Investors. Have you been involved in a Tribunal hearing in any state? What was the system like? The changes to this system are due to come into affect January 2014