New service for rental disputes
If you’re stuck in a deadlock with your landlord or tenant over a COVID-19-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 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 March 20 to September 29, 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.
The RTMCS is receiving up to 100 complaints a week and is already achieving positive outcomes. One success story involves a landlord and tenant who were initially unable to resolve their issues; however, after sensitive reality checking by the conciliator, found a workable solution with the final agreement converted into a binding order.
With more than 90 per cent of the complaints so far involving rent payments, remember that if you’re a renter who lost their job after March 20 you might be eligible for a grant that will cover four weeks rent up to the value of $2000.
Visit dmirs.wa.gov.au/ covidrentgrant. For the mandatory conciliation service, visit dmirs.wa.gov.au/ covidrentdispute.
Tom Chapman is the senior regional officer for Consumer Protection in the Kimberley.
Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.
Sign up for our emails