Delays with Tenancy Tribunal Hearings

MBIE (Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment) have outlined its process to help landlords and property managers understand why there may be delays in Tenancy Tribunal Hearings.

Did you know?
Cases are scheduled regarding priority rather than in chronological order, however the length of time since an application has been submitted is a factor that is considered when they schedule matters.

Not only this, but cases identified as being a lower level of complexity (i.e., requiring less than 90 minutes to deal with), are generally scheduled by a remote phone hearing rather than in-person in the courtroom. Remote hearings can be scheduled sooner than in-person hearings. Important to note is that cases over the last two years have been more complex than previously with additional court time required.

• Priority one cases are applications involving anti-social behaviour, abandonment, and assault
• Priority two cases involve current tenancies particularly when there are rent arrears, which may be increasing
• Priority three cases are vacated tenancies where the debt is not increasing because the tenancy has ended.

The number of days that a court will hold Tenancy Tribunal hearings per week depends on the volume of cases in that area and courtroom availability. Currently court time is at a premium across the country. Auckland is one of the highest volume areas in the country for Tenancy Tribunal matters. The impact of COVID-19 and recent weather events has meant that some matters have been adjourned or rescheduled. Where possible, some hearings have been moved to MBIE premises to ensure cases were able to proceed as scheduled.

Mediation Services
The Tenancy Tribunal attempts to mediate most applications that are filed. When the case co-ordination team assesses an application, they consider the likelihood of the
matter being able to be successfully mediated. When they are able to get the parties together at mediation, they have been able to successfully resolve most of the matters set down for mediation. For the first nine months of the financial year ended 31 March 2023, the Tenancy Tribunal successfully mediated 86% of the cases where they were able to conduct mediation with both parties, and the settlement rate for matters filed by landlord’s is even better at 90% of those matters settled as of 31 March 2023.

Mediation provides an opportunity to resolve matters in a much more timely and less formal manner than attending a Tribunal hearing and there is always a chance that the Tribunal will send something back to mediation if they feel that the matter can be resolved in mediation.