Top tips to help you raise and resolve tenancy disputes

19 November 2019

Tenancy disputes or issues often arise in times of stress, especially during the vacate process where issues may relate to bond monies.

As tenancy disputes and issues involve a tenant’s home, a property owner’s investment and a property manager’s business, emotions can intensify quickly.

When it comes to raising and resolving tenancy issues, all parties can benefit from maintaining a proactive, respectful and constructive approach to the process and each other.

The Residential Tenancies Authority (RTA) reminds all parties to remain calm and always keep lines of communication open as good communication is key to resolving most disputes.

In this article, we share a few tips to help you manage an issue and find a mutually agreeable outcome.

Below, you can also watch our practical tips for navigating tenancy conversations webinar.

  • Share information, knowledge, documentation and evidence

Make sure everyone is on the same page from the start. Sometimes misunderstanding stems from not having enough information or the correct information, so share knowledge generously. Ask questions and don’t act on assumptions. Understand each other’s expectations and limitations in the process.

  • Talk to each other and keep an open mind

Determine whether a phone call, a meeting (online or in-person) or an email is the best way to discuss the issue. Talk to each other and consider all options. Be considerate and be prepared to work together to find an agreeable solution. Remember, all negotiations involve give and take from both parties, so be realistic and flexible in your approach.

  • Be respectful in your communications

Ensure your communication is clear and constructive. Listen to the other person. Acknowledge their efforts so far to resolve the issue and move forward. Watch your language and tone of voice. State facts and not personal opinions, and focus on the problem, not the person.

  • Confirm what you agree in writing

Put any agreements reached in writing so there is a clear understanding of the responsibilities, actions and dates moving forward. Keep a record of all contact, including phone calls, emails, documents, photos, letters and text messages exchanged.

  • Don’t be afraid to seek support

If you are unable to reach agreement through self-resolution, the RTA’s free dispute resolution service may be able to help. RTA conciliators are impartial and can help disputing parties make informed decisions and reach a mutually acceptable outcome.

Related webinar: Practical tips for navigating tenancy conversations

In this March 2020 webinar, you'll hear practical advice on initiating and leading essential tenancy conversations from an RTA conciliator with over 10 years of experience. Learn how to overcome common communication barriers and navigate differences of opinion with confidence, respect and skill. We also explore the key factors of productive conversations, which can help you achieve positive outcomes and preserve relationships.

Original publication on 19 Nov 2019
Last updated on 23 Feb 2021

Note: While the RTA makes every reasonable effort to ensure that information on this website is accurate at the time of publication, changes in circumstances after publication may impact on the accuracy of material. This disclaimer is in addition to and does not limit the application of the Residential Tenancies Authority website disclaimer.