NCAT is the acronym for the New South Wales Civil and Administrative Tribunal. NCAT provides a specialist tribunal service over a range of legal matters which commonly include tenancy disputes, consumer claims, administrative reviews, home building disputes plus a whole lot more. The types of matters dealt with by NCAT are both broad and diverse.

NCAT have nine areas they can assist with:

  • Administrative;
  • Consumers and traders;
  • Commercial;
  • Discrimination and Equal Opportunity;
  • Dividing fences;
  • Guardianship;
  • Professional Discipline;
  • Residential; and
  • Strata and Community Schemes.

NCAT Review of Administrative Decisions

The Tribunal has the power to review administrative decisions made by NSW Government agencies. This can include government agency decisions in respect of the use and access to personal information held by the government, firearms licences, guardianship management and administrative decisions made in respect of community services.

The law relating to administrative decisions is quite complex. If you believe that you are entitled to a review of an administrative decision you should seek expert legal advice.

Supply of Goods and Services

The Fair Trading Act 1987 allows NCAT to determine disputes about the supply of goods or services up to the value of $40,000 against a supplier who is carrying on business.
NCAT has the power to make a range of orders including the payment of money, an order that money is not owing, an order that certain goods or services are to be provided; an order to replace or fix faulty goods or an order that goods be returned and a refund provided. Once an application has been lodged with NCAT, a first hearing date is usually set within six weeks.

Home Building Disputes

Before making an application to NCAT, a party to a home building dispute must first refer their matter to NSW Fair Trading. A letter or order from NSW Fair Trading is required to be attached to a NCAT application.

The Tribunal can make a determination in respect of a home building dispute where the claim is no more than $500,000. Disputes can include the construction of a new home, an extension to an existing home, bathroom or kitchen renovations and swimming pool installations. Disputes for determination can include an owner’s failure to pay or where building works have not been carried out as agreed including defective or incomplete work.

Home building disputes up to the value of $30,000 will receive a first hearing date within six weeks, whereas disputes to the value of more than $30,000 will receive a first hearing date within eight weeks.

Tenancy Disputes

The Residential Tenancies Act 2010 (Cth) allows NCAT to make legally binding decisions about tenancy disputes. Disputes are commonly determined by NCAT in respect of unpaid rent, an increase of rent, bonds, termination of tenancy agreements and repairs. This list is by no means exhaustive.

NCAT can only determine matters where the amount in dispute is no more than $15,000. That amount is increased to $30,000 for disputes in relation to a rental bond. Either a tenant or a landlord can make an application to have their dispute determined by NCAT. Matters that relate to termination are first heard within three weeks from the date the application is lodged. All other matters are first heard within four weeks.

Retail Lease Disputes

NCAT can determine disputes between a tenant and a landlord in respect of a retail lease. This can include, amongst other things, a dispute about payment of money, amendments to a lease, or a claim for repairs.

Before lodging an application with the Tribunal, parties to a retail lease must first attempt mediation with the NSW Small Business Commissioner. If mediation is ultimately unsuccessful, the parties will receive a certificate from the Commissioner, which must be attached to a NCAT application. The retail lease dispute will be listed for a directions hearing within four weeks of the application being lodged.

Application Forms

The NCAT website hosts all application forms in PDF. Online lodgment is available for selected types of matters. Fees may apply when you file an application or use registry services. There are four divisions that can deal with your matter:

  • Administrative and Equal Opportunity Division
  • Consumer and Commercial Division
  • Guardianship Division
  • Occupational Division

If you know which NCAT division applies to your matter, you can directly download the relevant application form on the NCAT website.

Key Takeaways

Disputes determined by NCAT have strict limitation periods which must be adhered to. If you believe you have a dispute to be determined by the tribunal, you should seek legal advice promptly. LegalVision’s specialised litigation team have a wealth of experience in advising clients in relation to their NCAT disputes. Get in touch and see how we can help you – fill out the form on this page or call us on 1300 544 755.

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