Approve SACAT to make orders for the re-imbursement of costs, where the Tenant is at fault

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The current position of SACAT in relation to Residential Tenancy orders, is that SACAT members do NOT currently have the authority under direction of the government to make Residential Tenancy determinations that require/enforce a Tenant to re-imburse a Landlord for the legal expenses incurred as a result of the tenant being at fault. (in particular the SACAT application fee)

This position must change, and SACAT must permit orders to be made for the re-imbursement of the landlords legal costs when a tenant is at fault!!!

At present, the landlord of a Residential Tenancy Agreement in South Australia must beare ALL Tribunal Application and representation costs that maybe incurred in having a Tenant breech of contract remedied through SACAT, including but not limited to the access of Bond monies being owed.

The current relevant legislation already provides jurisdiction for this to occur when deemed appropriate, however SACAT have stated on numerous occasions they are a "no cost" jurisdiction and cannot make such orders.

RESIDENTIAL TENANCIES ACT.....

78A—Compensation for expenses

(1)  If, as a direct consequence of a tenant being at fault, a landlord reasonably incurs costs or expenses in connection with the residential tenancy agreement, the landlord is entitled to compensation for the costs or expenses.

SACAT ACT.........

57 (2) - Costs

(2) Unless otherwise specified in a relevant Act, the Tribunal may make an order for the payment by a party of all or any of the costs of another party, or of a person required to appear before the Tribunal or to produce evidential material

There is currently a very genuine disadvantage and injustice to the landlord (financially) in having to outlay further expense to seek rent money already owed, or bond money for which they should be entitled to settle without even further non-refundable legal expense.

The Law Society review of the SACAT Act (2013) confirmed that the Act "permits the tribunal to make an order for the payment of another party's costs so as to include a payment of an amount to compensate the other party for any loss or expense......resulting from any proceeding or matter"

The authority to make such orders must be authorised immediately and the current position of SACAT is not acceptable and must be actioned to ensure they utilise and practice the very principles that govern their objective to promote natural justice, procedural fairness, quality, transparency, consistency and accountability.



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