Attending a hearing can be daunting. Tribunal hearings are less formal than a normal court hearing, but you still need to know the rules and procedures.
Important COVID-19 information on the Tenancy Tribunal: During the COVID-19 lockdown, the Tenancy Tribunal has the power to have hearings on the papers presented, without each party attending in person. The Tribunal may also have hearings by telephone or videoconference. How this works in practice will be managed by the Tenancy Tribunal itself.
Landlords and tenants should talk to each other, work together and take care of each other wherever possible. Try to come to an arrangement that suits everyone. We need to work together and help each other to fight Covid-19.
1. Tell the truth
The Tribunal will ask you to make a promise at the beginning of the hearing. This promise confirms that you’ll tell the truth.
2. You tell your story, and so will the other person
Both landlord and tenant will tell their story.
If you’re the applicant, you will explain your side first. Present the facts briefly and clearly. You may find it useful to have everything written down and summarised beforehand.
The adjudicator (who’s like a judge) may ask questions.
3. Any witnesses can speak
If you have witnesses, they can be called to give evidence.
If they can’t come to the hearing, talk to us about other options. Affidavits, unsworn statements or letters from witnesses might be allowed as evidence instead. These may not be as effective as the witness being present at the hearing.
4. The adjudicator makes a decision
The adjudicator will listen to you, the other person, and any witnesses. They’ll then analyse all the evidence presented. They will make their decision based on how the Residential Tenancies Act applies to the situation.
5. You receive an order
The adjudicator will issue an order to settle the dispute. You and the other person will both receive a copy. You both have to obey the order.
In most cases, you’ll receive the order on the day of the hearing. If the decision is more complicated, the adjudicator will write up the details of the order and post it out later.
Tribunal orders are public information. They’re published on the Ministry of Justice website (external link) and available from the District Court where the hearing took place.