Housing and Tenancy

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VCAT fees for proceedings in the Residential Tenancies List

Under the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal Amendment Act 2014, there is a presumption of an order for reimbursement of fees in relation to any proceedings under the Residential Tenancies Act 1997, unless the Director of Housing is a party to the proceeding (see section 115C of the VCAT Act). This means that if an application has been made to VCAT by a community housing provider or a private real estate agent or landlord, there is a presumption that VCAT will make an order of reimbursement if our client is unsuccessful (generally will be $59.80 application fee as at 1 July 2015, but if a warrant has been purchased, it will also include that fee of $144.20).

The Tribunal can decide not to make such an order, having regard to the nature of and issues involved in the proceeding and the conduct of the parties (see section 115C(3)). As such, if you are appearing before the Tribunal with a landlord that is not the Director of Housing and the issue of awarding costs for application fees arises, you should make submissions as to why such an order should not be made.

For example, submissions should be made in regard to your client’s conduct in proceedings, the nature of the issues and the client’s particular circumstances and hardship that would make such an order unreasonable. Note also that if the successful landlord has caused unreasonable delay or failed to comply with a Tribunal order without reasonable excuse, then VCAT will not make such a reimbursement order against the tenant (section 115C(3)(b)).