Preparing Your Case

If you are going to a Tenancy Tribunal Hearing you will need to be as organised as possible.

Before the Hearing

Parties are advised, if possible, to watch one or two other cases at the Tenancy Tribunal to get an idea of how the process works. Although the Tenancy Tribunal is public, during the hearing you will be asked by the Clerk if you are with either of the parties or are a witness. State that you are an observer. You can then take a seat at the back of the room and watch the proceedings.

For the Hearing you will need:

  • A copy of your application to remind you what will be discussed at the hearing.
  • The contact details for the Court should you need to contact them for any reason.
  • Copies of any relevant paperwork - tenancy agreements, property inspection reports, a rent summary, letters, any letters of request or 14 day notices to remedy etc. If you are bringing any evidence you MUST have 3 copies.
  • Copies of any relevant emails or texts. It is up to you to print these out before the hearing.
  • If you want to show any media i.e dvd etc you will need to inform the Tenancy Tribunal well in advance so that they have time to organise for a dvd player and screen to be available in the hearing room.
  • A written summary of your claim or response to the other party’s claim. You can either keep this to yourself to keep you on track during the hearing, or you might want to make a copy available to the adjudicator and the other party.
  • Copies of any photos.
  • If required, any witnesses who are free to attend the hearing to provide relevant evidence.
  • Address the adjudicator as Mr./Mrs. (Surname) or Sir/Madam.


The Hearing

  1. The hearing room usually looks a bit like a court room, but is much smaller. The landlord and tenant parties will be seated at tables facing the Adjudicators bench. When the Adjudicator enters the room as a matter of courtesy you should stand as they enter. Stay standing and the Clerk will read out a promise to tell the truth that you must agree to. You will then be invited to sit down. Anyone in the room who is not planning on speaking can sit down when the adjudicator does.
  2. The Adjudicator will then ask the applicant to present her or his case. If there are applications by both the landlord and the tenant, the one who made their application first will normally present first.
  3. Start by giving an introduction stating very briefly the issue and a summary of the facts. Remember, the adjudicator knows very little about your situation at this point so you have to be very clear. It is usually best to do this with the aid of written submissions. Submissions are easier to understand if they are (preferably) typed in the form of numbered points. Copies of written submissions should be presented to both the Adjudicator and to the other side. If you have a lot of paperwork or photos to present during the hearing, it might be useful to number them or colour code them so that you can find them easily, and also so the adjudicator can keep track of the information you have provided.
  4. Remember – it is not a mystery novel with the punch line at the end! Start by saying what you want very clearly and briefly, and then provide your background information and evidence.
  5. Examples of supporting evidence include photos, condition reports, other reports, bank statements, receipts, support letters (better if the person can come in) and sworn affidavits.
  6. The applicant can call witnesses (if any). Good witnesses in tenancy cases may be neighbours, real estate agents, police, other tenants or friends. The best evidence is something that they have seen or heard first hand, not hearsay. Witnesses must wait outside during the hearing until they are called, after which they can stay. Decide if they are more value to you as support person (who can stay with you in the hearing room) or as a witness. You ask your witness questions, making sure that you don’t give the answer you want in the question. The Adjudicator may ask some questions of clarification from them, and the other party will also get to ask the witness questions.
  7. When the applicant has completed their presentation of witnesses and supporting evidence, the respondent goes through the same procedure. The respondent should try to answer all relevant allegations that were made by the applicant. You cannot interrupt the other party while they are speaking, so take a pen and paper to jot down any questions are points you want to make in reply when it is your turn.
  8. When the respondent has completed the presentation of her or his case, both parties should take the opportunity to make brief concluding comments to the Adjudicator.
  9. The Adjudicator will then either give a decision or inform the parties that time will be taken to write a decision which will be given at a later date (reserved decision).

If you forget or choose not to present certain information you will not get any opportunity to present it after the Order of the Tribunal decision has been made. Re-hearings are sometimes granted but normally only if you have new information that was not available at the time and it would affect the outcome, or there is a serious error in the decision.

Contact Details

Tenants Protection Association (ChCh) Inc
Te Tōpū Tiaki-ā-Kainoho
Room 3, 301 Tuam Street, Christchurch 8011
Ph.(03) 379-2297

info [at] tpa [dot] org [dot] nz (subject: Enquiry%20from%20Website)