There are two main factors you must consider when going to court with your rental tribunal claim: the reputation of the property manager and the credibility of the rental law firm. Property owners and their management companies know all too well the importance of the referral system and the impact it can have in terms of the outcome of any court proceedings. Therefore, they will often be over-confident with their case and put forward a case which is full of legal jargon and technical details which the judge has no chance of fully comprehending.
Relying on your word as a tenant when it comes to your rental contract is never advisable. Property managers are often much more experienced than tenants and therefore understand exactly what to anticipate when approaching a rental tribunal as part of a potential dispute with a landlord. But there are generally some simple guidelines which will ensure that the right result is achieved. The first step is to develop an understanding of your agreement with the property manager in terms of the tenure of the tenancy, the notice period, the minimum deposit required, the landlord's responsibilities towards tenants and the common areas of negligence. You should also have a sound knowledge of your local rental legislation so that you can prepare your argument in the event that a judge does not agree with your case.
Many people who have been affected by unlawful landlords will usually approach the rental tribunal as a last resort and this is often where you will get the best advice. The process will normally start with a letter from the tenants referencing a problem which has arisen. This will be followed by a series of further communications which will aim to resolve any problems relating to the lease. If you believe that you have been victimised by a dishonest landlord you will need to follow the procedure outlined by the Residential Landlord's Association of South Australia. After the inquiry the Rental Tribunal will make a decision on the matter and this can often be done by sending out a statement of findings after giving the parties time to submit their written arguments.
If you are not satisfied with the ruling from the rental tribunal then you can appeal against it before the court of appeals. However the main advantage of going to the rental tribunal is that it can help you avoid eviction. If you are able to prove that you have been victims of unlawful rental practices, you may be able to have an eviction stopped. If you choose to go to mediation first, you should ensure that you hire a solicitor who can represent you well in the mediation process. If mediation fails to resolve the case then both you and the landlord will have to go to court.
If you have a good relationship with your landlord, you will be able to reach an agreement that is fair for both parties. Before approaching the Rental Tribunal or the courts you should always make sure that you check out the terms of the lease contract as you would have had to do if you had gone it alone. Always try and involve as many people from your side as possible so that your case gains the support of the majority of potential tenants. As the Residential Landlord's Association of South Australia has stated "A successful tenancy review is likely to result in a rent increase".