About the Residential Tenancies Tribunal


Changes to the Residential Tenancies Tribunal

From 30 March 2015 all Residential Tenancies Tribunal matters will be heard by the South Australian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (SACAT). Further information about this new Tribunal is available on the SACAT website.

The Tribunal

The Residential Tenancies Tribunal is an independent judicial body that has authority to make legally binding decisions in disputes between agents or landlords and tenants.

A tribunal hearing can be requested by a:

  • tenant
  • agent
  • landlord
  • rooming house resident
  • rooming house proprietor.

Lodge an application to the Residential Tenancies Tribunal 41.6 KB with copies of any supportive evidence with the application.

Other people who are affected by a tenant's behaviour - eg neighbour, can also request a hearing by completing an application to the Residential Tenancies Tribunal for unacceptable conduct 40.4 KB.

There is a $51.50 application fee which can be paid in cash, by cheque or through a one-off direct debit payment 28.5 KB.

You are exempt from paying the fee 26.6 KB if you:

  • are a full time student, or
  • have a concession card - eg Centrelink health care card.

If you are experiencing financial hardship you can lodge an application for the fee to be waived 30.2 KB.

The tribunal may list your dispute for a conciliation conference. A conciliation conference enables the parties to discuss their issues and attempt to resolve the dispute without a formal hearing.

If you decide not to proceed with a hearing or a conciliation conference, complete the withdraw your application to the Residential Tenancies Tribunal form 19.7 KB and return this to the Residential Tenancies Tribunal Registry.

Tribunal hearings

The dispute will be heard by a tribunal member. They make the final decision after hearing from all parties involved and rely on the evidence provided. They should be shown due respect and can be referred to by their name - eg Ms Smith. Their decision is issued as an Order of the Tribunal.

Hearings may be held in country courthouses, by video conference, by telephone or at the Residential Tenancies Tribunal in Adelaide.

Hearings are informal and are open to the public. You can bring someone to support you - eg a friend, family member or support worker, or as a witness. Legal representation is usually not required. If you feel you would be unable to properly present your case Tenants Information and Advocacy Service may be able to assist you.

You should make every effort to attend the hearing as a decision can be made even if you are not there.

Contact the Residential Tenancies Tribunal Registry as soon as possible if you:

  • are unable to attend the hearing
  • have any questions about the process
  • need an interpreter.

A copy of any decision reached will be given to you in writing, either at the end of the hearing or by post. Decisions are legally binding.

What to bring to a hearing

All relevant parties will be notified of the hearing date by the Residential Tenancies Tribunal and will have an opportunity to present their case and any supporting evidence.

Supportive evidence needs to be relevant to the issue and can include:

  • rent receipts
  • quotes or receipts for repairs or cleaning
  • the lease agreement
  • SA Water bill and calculations based on meter readings
  • photographs (two hard copies required, limited to 30)
  • witness testimony or statements
  • any other documents relevant to the case.

CD, DVD and video footage cannot be accepted as evidence.

Disagreeing with a decision

An outcome of a hearing can only be changed or withdrawn and reheard in exceptional circumstances. Dissatisfaction with an outcome is not considered to be an exceptional circumstance.

You can request to have an order changed or withdrawn and reheard if you were unable to attend a hearing - eg due to an emergency, or have evidence that was not available at the hearing and that would affect the decision.

Follow these steps to request to have an order changed or withdrawn and reheard:

1. Application form

Complete an application to the Residential Tenancies Tribunal 41.6 KB.

2. Give reasons

Explain in writing on the form why you are asking for the order to be changed or withdrawn and reheard.

3. Evidence

Provide a copy of all supportive evidence, including any evidence which was unavailable for the original hearing.

4. Lodgement

Lodge all documentation and the $51.50 fee within three months of the original outcome with the Residential Tenancies Tribunal.

You can appeal a decision made by the Residential Tenancies Tribunal at your local District Court within a month of receiving the outcome. Contact your local District Court for more information.

Conciliation conferences

The Residential Tenancies Tribunal may list a matter for a conciliation conference 57.4 KB (Fact sheet 9) to seek a resolution to the dispute.

The tribunal will list a number of applications at the same time before the same tribunal member.

The tribunal member will provide information at the beginning of the conciliation conference about the process of conciliation and ask each individual applicant to briefly state what the dispute is about.

The tribunal member will direct individual parties to a conciliation room for an informal, private meeting for the parties to talk about their dispute and to try to reach an agreement.

If an agreement is reached through conciliation, the tribunal member will make the agreement into a legally binding order.

If an agreement cannot be reached, a full hearing will be set down for a later date.

Related information

On this site

Landlord role and responsibilities
Tenant role and responsibilities
Dispute resolution


Residential Tenancies Tribunal Hearing your guide 30.9 KB
Residential Tenancies Tribunal Decision: Rights of appeal and review 31.8 KB
Application to the Residential Tenancies Tribunal (example) 42.5 KB
About applications to the Residential Tenancies Tribunal 164.7 KB

For an alternative version of a document on this page contact the CBS tenancies branch.

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Page last updated: 2nd February 2015