Application by a tenant or landlord

If you are a tenant or a landlord with a renting dispute you may be able to apply to VCAT to hear your case.

Changes to renting laws

Under the Residential Tenancies (Covid-19 Emergency Measures) Regulations 2020 (reg 12), which took effect on 13 May 2020:

  • VCAT can accept but is not able to consider your application at a hearingDefinitionThe time and place at which VCAT hears the parties argue their case and makes a decision. unless you have contacted Consumer Affairs Victoria and have been provided with a referral to VCAT
  • this means if you have not obtained a referral from Consumer Affairs Victoria by the time of the hearing, the hearing will not be able to proceed
  • at the VCAT hearing, if VCAT does not have evidence that Consumer Affairs Victoria has referred your dispute to VCAT, the hearing will be adjourned until you obtain a referral.

To obtain a referral, complete CAV's application form.

For more information about COVID-19 and your rights, go to Consumer Affairs Victoria's website.

 

Cases VCAT can hear

VCAT can hear disputes between tenants and landlords.

Cases VCAT cannot hear

VCAT cannot hear disputes between tenants and tenants, or disputes between neighbours.

Before you apply

Find out which Section Number of the Residential Tenancies Act 1997 applies to your claim type. You will need to quote the relevant Section Number in your application's claim details. You may also have to provide documents to support your claim. Find out what section numbers in the Residential Tenancies Act mean.

Time limits may apply, so you should apply to VCAT as soon as possible. Find out about time limits.

How to apply

If you are a tenant applying to have your rent reduced for a specific period, you must also complete a financial circumstances statement in support of your application

There are three ways that you can apply to VCAT to hear a dispute between a tenant and landlord. You should check whether you need to pay an application fee.

Residential Tenancies Hub

We recommend applying through the Residential Tenancies Hub. The hub lets you pay your application fee online, gives you a VCAT reference number, get your hearingDefinitionThe time and place at which VCAT hears the parties argue their case and makes a decision. date immediately (in most cases), see all applications you have made through the hub, and withdraw your application if you resolve your renting dispute before a hearing.

If you are an estate agent or from a community housing group, you will need to provide us with some information to register for the Residential Tenancies Hub.

When applying through the hub, you will need to send VCAT any supporting documents separately by email, in person or by post.

Online application form

Using this online form lets you pay application fee online and upload any supporting documents. You can choose to create an account to see all your previous applications.

Paper-based form

You can choose to print a form and send it to us by post. Application fee payments will need to be made by post or in person.

Do I need a lawyer or professional representative?

You do not need to have legal or other professional representation to appear at VCAT.

For renting cases, most landlords are represented by an estate agent. If you are a tenant and your landlord is represented by their real estate agent, you are automatically entitled to professional representation.

When your dispute is about regaining possession of a rental property, you do not need permission from VCAT to be legally represented.

Find legal services that may be able to assist you.

Need help with your application?

We can explain the application process and what the form is asking you for. Contact us to get support.

We cannot give you legal advice. This means we cannot tell you what to write in your application or recommend how to get the outcome you want.

Seek legal help if you are unsure about your options or need advice about your claim.

Access and privacy

VCAT hearings and files are usually public.

VCAT has limited authority to restrict who can access cases and files but, in certain circumstances, you can apply for confidentiality.

Legislation that applies to this type of case