How to send and access evidence in a residential tenancy case

If you're part of a residential tenancy case at VCAT, it's important to organise the documents you plan to use as evidence and send them to VCAT and the other parties.

If you don't, the hearing may be delayed.

Hearings only run for a limited time and the VCAT members and all parties need to know what document you're referring to when you give evidence.

How to organise your evidence

  • Sort your documents – arrange them so documents about the same issue are together.
  • Number each document so everyone can refer to the right one.
  • If you are sending photos, identify the date each was taken and the room in the rented premises it was taken in.
  • Prepare a cover page listing the documents you are submitting so that everyone can check that they have all the documents for the hearing.

Send your evidence to VCAT and other parties

You must send a copy of your application and evidence to VCAT and all the other parties in the case at least three business days before the hearing date. (If it’s an urgent application, send them right away.)

Quote your VCAT reference number, hearing date and hearing time when you send these documents. This helps us keep all your correspondence and documents together. We include your reference number on any correspondence about the case.

If you send your documents by more than one email, number the emails. For example:

  • R2020/12345 Hearing 30 June 2020 at 2:00pm - Email 1 of 3
  • R2020/12345 Hearing 30 June 2020 at 2:00pm - Email 2 of 3
  • R2020/12345 Hearing 30 June 2020 at 2:00pm - Email 3 of 3

You must send a copy of your evidence to VCAT before each hearing date. If you already sent your supporting documents before receiving your notice of hearing, you must send them to us again.

If we change your hearing date or schedule another hearing, you must send a copy of your evidence again to VCAT before your hearing.

Access to information held by VCAT

If you're a party in the case you can ask to have specific documents sent to you if you haven't received them from the other party. We can email you a copy of:

All other applications and documents are paper-based. We can arrange for you to access the file at VCAT to photocopy the documents you need. If you can't come in to VCAT, it may take up to five business days to get the documents.

Let us know if the hearing is within the next 48 hours – we'll do our best to make urgent arrangements.

You may find it faster to contact the applicant or their representative (for example, their real estate agent) to get a copy of the application. The applicant is legally required to provide a copy of the application to the other parties in the case.

Who can access documents

You can access documents submitted by others in a rental property case for free if you’re:

  • a party in the case (applicant or respondent)
  • representing a party at the hearing – for example, you are the renter’s representative or the rental provider's estate agent
  • advising or assisting a party who has given you permission to access documents on their behalf.

What if I’m not part of the case? Can I see other documents?

When you're not a party to a case, or want to see other documents, you can apply and pay to view most VCAT files.

How to apply for access

Email renting@vcat.vic.gov.au using the template below or call 1300 01 8228.

If you call us, we must still have your request by email as the record of permission to access documents.

You don’t need to send us a separate consent signed by your client.

Email template for your access request

If you’re from a support agency:

Subject: Document request – [party name/VCAT reference number]

My name is [your name] from [agency] and I am assisting or representing [party name] in [VCAT reference number]. I have permission to access documents on their behalf.

The hearing is scheduled for [time and date].

I need/do not need the documents urgently.

I would like to access these documents: [list the documents that you want].

My telephone number is [your telephone number].

If you’re a party:

Subject: Document request – [party name/VCAT reference number].

My name is [name] and I am the [applicant/respondent] in [VCAT reference number for your case].

My hearing is scheduled for [time and date].

I would like to access these documents: [list the documents that you want].

My telephone number is [your telephone number].

Related pages

How to communicate with VCAT and other parties

Understand when and how to communicate with VCAT and any other parties involved in your case.

Prepare for your hearing

It’s important to prepare for your hearing day. There are documents to organise and decisions to make so you’re ready to present the best case possible