Complaints about occupancy disputes

From 3 March 2021 the ACT Human Rights Commission can handle complaints about occupancy disputes.

Occupancy arrangements include accommodation or living situations not covered by tenancy agreements. This could be temporary or emergency accommodation, people who reside in caravan parks, flatmate or shared home arrangements, short term stays, boarder/lodger agreements, and other similar, less formal situations.

Sometimes disputes may arise between the parties of an occupancy agreement in relation to the terms and conditions of the occupancy.

Occupancy disputes may relate to a broad range of issues. These can include disputes about the payment of fees, house rules, condition of premises and whether an occupant is entitled to continue living in the premises or not.

If you are a student in an education occupancy agreement (eg University provided accommodation), you will have the right to bring a complaint from March 2022.

Making an occupancy dispute complaint

If you wish to make an occupancy dispute complaint, you can complete our complaint form.

Occupants can bring their concerns to the Commission at any time for help with resolving their dispute.

Sometimes it may be best to try to resolve disputes informally with the person you are having the dispute with.

However there is no need to try to resolve the dispute directly if that process is not right for the parties.

When we get a complaint we contact both parties to see if we can assist to resolve the issues informally.

We can also try to help the parties to resolve the complaint through conciliation.

This is an informal, accessible and flexible process focused on assisting the parties to resolve the concerns in their complaint.  

If we are not able to resolve the complaint, the complainant has the option of taking the complaint to the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal (ACAT). 

Information about dispute resolution processes

A grantor (the person who gives the occupant a right to occupy the premises) is required to provide an occupant with information about dispute resolution processes that apply to the occupancy agreement.

 A grantor is also required to provide the occupant with contact details for:

  • the Legal Aid Commission,
  • the Human Rights Commission,
  • at least 1 community dispute resolution provider, and
  • the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal (ACAT).

This is so the occupant is aware of options to have disputes resolved and so that the occupant can access legal advice.

A grantor is also required to provide the occupant with their own contact details to assist to resolve any disputes that may arise.