Expenses related to VCAT hearings are divided into “fees” and “costs”.
Fees are amounts you pay to VCAT. An example is the application fee for a hearing. Other fees include the fee for a warrant of possession or the fee to issue a summons.
Costs are any other amounts you have to pay to go to the hearing and present your case. Examples include travel expenses and costs of preparing evidence.
You don’t have to pay an application fee for VCAT hearings about your rented home if you have a Health Care Card or if you are applying to get your bond money back.
The application fee from 1 July 2016 is $61.50, but it might change. See the latest fees (VCAT website).
If you don’t have a Health Care Card and you can’t afford the fee, you can ask for fee relief (VCAT website).
If you want to pay the fee in cash, you will need to take your application to VCAT in person.
In most cases everyone pays their own fees and costs for a VCAT hearing. It’s unlikely that you’ll get the other side to pay for these, even if you win.
In some cases VCAT may order that one side pay the fees and costs of the other side. VCAT will only do this if one side has made the hearing unfair for the other side. Examples include: taking someone to VCAT without a good reason, not giving copies of evidence to the other side, and causing the hearing to be adjourned (postponed).
Here are some costs that VCAT has ordered landlords to pay to tenants in the past:
If you think the landlord should pay your fees and costs, you need to ask VCAT to make an order that the landlord has to pay. It’s best if you ask for this on your application form (in the section about orders you want VCAT to make). If not, you can ask for it at the hearing.
You should also write the section of the law on your form or refer to it at the hearing when you ask for this order. If you want the landlord to pay your costs, write Section 109, VCAT Act. If you want the landlord to pay your fees, write Section 115B, VCAT Act.
To support your claim, you should:
If the landlord asks VCAT to order that you pay their fees and costs and you don’t think it’s fair, you can explain: