VCAT hearings to be held via phone

The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) yesterday announced it will begin conducting hearings via telephone due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19).

‘In the interests of public safety and in an effort to implement social distancing measures, VCAT has moved to conducting hearings by telephone. As a result, VCAT venues will be closed to the public until further notice.

‘No face-to-face hearings have been scheduled for Wednesday 18 March 2020, and all non-critical matters have been adjourned for the time being. Residential Tenancies and Guardianship matters (and a small number of other critical matters) will be heard by telephone.

‘We are working hard to expand the range of matters that can be heard by telephone as soon as possible,’ the announcement noted.

New RTA/VCAT expert at CHIA Vic

CHIA Vic has taken seriously our Residential Tenancies Act (RTA) and VCAT expert Mark Smoljo’s threat to retire in a few months and has employed a replacement in preparation.

Jason Perdriau is taking over all of Mark’s roles relating to the RTA and VCAT and has now taken over the RTA/VCAT Help Line.

Jason is an experienced housing manager in both the community and public housing sectors and is available Monday to Friday via 0422 798 447 or email at Jason.perdriau@chiavic.com.au

If your experienced colleagues have been unable to assist you with a tricky RTA/VCAT situation, you should contact Jason. Although he is a qualified lawyer, Jason will be providing assistance based on experience in tenancy management and VCAT procedures rather than legal advice. If he believes you need legal advice, he will advise you to access the limited legal advice available for CHIA Vic members through the firm Russell Kennedy.

 

 

How much do you know about VCAT?

Do you have the skills and information you need to prepare for appearances at the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT)?

This full-day training at CHIA Vic will give participants the confidence to ensure they follow polices and procedures correctly in the lead up to any appearance, including the correct serving of notices and calculation of rental arrears and termination dates.

The course will run on Tuesday, February 18 from 9.30am to 4.30pm.

Click here to register or click here to view our other housing-sector-specific training.

December VCAT update

CHIA Vic’s Victorian Civil and Administrative guru Mark Smoljo reports back on the latest VCAT news:

The new Head of the Residential Tenancies Division, Ian Proctor is very keen on improving VCAT processes and making the whole system easier to use for all parties. Improvements underway include:

  • Supreme Court summaries of important cases now being put on the VCAT website
  • a project looking at increasing the use of telephone and video for hearings
  • texts to be sent to tenant respondents at the time of application and again five days before a hearing
  • faster process for renewals of hearings. You no longer have to wait five to six weeks for them to retrieve files out of the archives in Werribee. Hearing waiting times should be the same as for new applications.
  • new information on supported disability accommodation on the VCAT website
  • major project underway to prepare for next year’s changes to the Residential Tenancies Act, including many changes to the RT VCAT Hub. Unfortunately for those of you managing rooming houses, this will mean a further wait until you can use the Hub for rooming house matters. Ian is aware of the issue with rooming houses and hopes it can be addressed later next year.
  • VCAT has a new Koori Engagement Officer – Wendy Harris.
  • a major project is being conducted on increasing the use of email communication by VCAT. They may need to investigate texting as well because many tenants don’t have email addresses.
  • a new purpose-built VCAT venue at Oakleigh is opening in early 2020. It will cover cases currently heard at Moorabbin, and some of the caseload from Frankston and Dandenong. Another new VCAT venue is under construction in Frankston. VCAT is trying to get away from the use of Magistrates Courts.
  • Portland Magistrates Court is closing for VCAT hearings. VCAT is investigating alternatives.

If you have questions about any of these developments  or you are having any issues with VCAT please contact Mark Smoljo on 9654 6077 or on a Monday or Thursday.