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Standard fact sheet.

Resolving renting problems 

First step 

The first step in resolving any problem or complaint is to carefully read the terms of your agreement.

It is always best for a tenant and landlord or agent to try to solve any problems between themselves. To avoid possible problems later, any agreement reached should be put in writing.

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Residential tenancy and real estate complaint service  

If your tenancy problems cannot be solved between you, you can use Fair Trading’s free tenancy and real estate complaint service for selected residential tenancy compaints or disputes.

NSW tenants, landlords and agents can use the voluntary service. It may be a convenient alternative to the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT) hearing your matter.

An experienced Fair Trading Officer will aim to finalise the matter through mutual agreement. If Fair Trading cannot get the parties to agree to a resolution, either party may lodge a claim with NCAT.

Find out more about this free service and the selected matters Fair Trading can help with on the Residential tenancy and real estate complaints page on the Fair Trading website. You can also call our 13 32 20 hotline with your tenancy questions.

The Tenants Advice and Advocacy Services provide assistance and advocacy to all tenants, particularly social housing tenants or the vulnerable. To find your nearest Tenants Advice and Advocacy Service go to or call 8117 3700.

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The NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal 

You may decide to lodge an application with the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal if:

  • Fair Trading cannot find a solution mutually agreed to by both parties
  • your complaint is not covered by matters dealt with by Fair Trading.

The Tribunal is an independent body which hears and decides on applications for orders from tenants and landlords.

Go to the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal website for more information or to access Tribunal application forms.


The NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal fees page lists the fee to apply to the Consumer and Commercial Division of the Tribunal. There is a reduced fee for eligible pensioners and full time students. Hearings are usually held within 1 month at a venue nearby the premises.

Time limits

There are time limits for applying to the Tribunal for certain orders. For example, in cases where an order is requested regarding broken terms of the tenancy agreement, this order should normally be sought within 3 months of becoming aware of this.


The Tribunal can make orders, among others, that:

  • a term of the agreement be complied with
  • compensation be paid to a tenant or landlord
  • a rent increase is excessive
  • the agreement be ended
  • a rental bond be paid.

More information about time limits and orders is available on the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal website.


The Member will first ask the parties to try to reach a settlement. If this cannot be achieved the case will then be heard in the Tribunal hearing room. The Member will allow both parties, in turn, to tell their side of the events and present any evidence.

Hearings are usually informal. Formal hearings can be held on request, where witnesses can be called and evidence is given under oath.

It is up to the person who made the application to provide enough evidence to convince the Tribunal Member that the orders they are seeking should be given. Any orders made are binding.

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