Rental disputes about bond, compensation or pets

How we're managing residential tenancy applications that involve bond, compensation or pet issues.

When will you hear my residential tenancy dispute about bond, compensation or pet issues?

If you applied before 1 October 2023, we'll hear your case as soon as possible. We aim to resolve all cases in our backlog, starting with the oldest and most urgent.

If you applied on 1 October 2023 or later, we hear your case about 12 weeks after lodgement. This can be earlier or later depending on the complexity of your case.

Can I cancel an application I lodged before 1 October and re-apply?

If you withdraw your application, you can't apply again about the same rental dispute. Laws prevent you from being able to do this without our written permission.

We're allocating exclusive resources to address the backlog. Applications before 1 October involving bond, compensation or pet issues are of high priority to us.

Why has there been a delay in hearing my residential tenancy dispute?

In the past few years, VCAT’s capacity to hear cases was heavily impacted by the challenges in the rental market, COVID-19 pandemic and changes in rental laws. We did our best to prioritise cases considered urgent under rental laws. This resulted in a backlog of cases involving bond, compensation or pet issues. 

We understand the impact of delays to you and have been working hard on meeting demand for our services. 

To address this backlog, we've set up a new team to manage and hear these cases. We've also tailored our tailored our case management processes for these disputes.  

We're now prioritising cases dealing with bond, compensation or pet issues that we received before 1 October 2023.

If your application involves these issues and you applied from 1 October 2023, we'll no longer add you to the backlog. We'll hear your bond, compensation or pet disputes, usually in about 12 weeks.

How is VCAT dealing with residential tenancy disputes about bond, compensation or pet matters in the backlog?

We've created a new team who will resolve applications received before 1 October 2023. This team will check your application to make sure you're ready for a hearing and decide on your case. 

We may group cases from the same applicant and hear them on the same day to save time. For example, schedule as many hearings for bond, compensation or pet disputes managed by the same real estate agent in one day.

We'll schedule hearings in person, by phone or 'on the papers'. A hearing on the papers is when a VCAT member makes a decision on a case based on documents from parties. You won't need to attend and will receive our decision about your case by email.

VCAT has locations in Melbourne, Bendigo, Bundoora, Frankston and Oakleigh. When we conduct hearings in person, we'll hold many of them as close as possible to the rental properties involved in these disputes. This will make it more convenient for parties.

We decide the hearing format based on how complex your case is and individual circumstances. Your application is of high priority to us, so we want to help you avoid delays. This means it’s usually not possible to re-schedule your hearing date or change the format.

We’ll contact you as soon as we can progress your case. We’ll ensure we hear the oldest and most urgent cases first.