Enforcing a VCAT order

We had a tenant damage an IP.....about $8K worth of damage. We took him to VCAT and won. He got off light. He is to pay us about $2K plus we got the bond. But he hasn't paid. Turns out VCAT can't force him to pay. We now have to apply to VCAT for a "Certified Order" ... even though it was issued by VCAT in the first place. Then we have to apply to the Magistrates Court. Then we have to contact the Sheriff who will " do something". This system seems to strongly favour the criminal ..... LL
 
Unfortunately that's how the civil legal system works. Even after you get a judgement sum, you need to commence enforcement proceedings if they don't pay.

Simple way to think about it is that judgement is an order saying that someone owes you money - and enforcement orders are the thing that says how and when they need to pay up.
 
And then after going through the process all you will find is they don't have any money to pay you anyway.

In the UK I evicted a tenant for non-payment and got a judgment for £1050. He didn't pay that so I then again took it to court to enforce it because he pleaded poverty the judge awarded me 50p per week for 40 years, no kidding. He sent me a cheque every week for the next 3 weeks and then they stopped. If I wanted to go back to court it would have cost me another £50. And so it goes on. You can't win against these people, you have his bond, put it down to experience and move on.
 
Thanks for reminding me. I have a VCAT order against a tenant from 10 years ago for $2000. I didn't bother enforcing it because it was so small and I didn't know where the tenant moved to. Limitations Act would probably prevent me from enforcing it now.

If you don't know where they are then you cannot enforce it. If they don't have income or assets then there is nothing to enforce it against.

For $2000 it is probably no worth it to tell the truth.
 
This is the thing I hate most about VCAT and why insurance is so important.
Valid point. We self insure. Over the years we're well ahead. But, yeah, if I was smarter I should have insured this one. That's life ! Funny thing is the only IPs we've ever had "bad tenant" problems are our two "prestige properties". LL
 
Learning all the while ....

The VCAT member also advised us incorrectly on the day. He told us the guy had "normal commercial terms" to pay. He said that meant 28 days. But the VCAT website clearly says "immediate payment". See link below. So I've wasted a month thanks to the member's poor advice. I know who the tenant is and I know where his business is located. I'll proceed even if it costs me more than the $2K he owes me. There's a principle involved here. LL

http://www.vcat.vic.gov.au/sites/default/files/guide_to_enforcing_a_monetary_order.pdf
 
We have a tenant paying us $10 a month, and owes $430 more.
He started out paying more at a time (it was around $1000 when he started) and he continues to pay, so I won't ruin his credit score yet.

Other tenants we have the orders ready, and only bother going to the Sheriff (Canada) when we know we may have a chance to collect.
Other than that, we will need to be satisfied knowing their credit is crap for 20 years, or until they pay us. Yes, I am vindictive :)
 
The VCAT member also advised us incorrectly on the day. He told us the guy had "normal commercial terms" to pay. He said that meant 28 days. But the VCAT website clearly says "immediate payment". See link below. So I've wasted a month thanks to the member's poor advice. I know who the tenant is and I know where his business is located. I'll proceed even if it costs me more than the $2K he owes me. There's a principle involved here. LL

http://www.vcat.vic.gov.au/sites/default/files/guide_to_enforcing_a_monetary_order.pdf
Usually the order will specify eg "$2,000 payable to the landlord within 28 days".
 
The order we have doesn't specify a time frame.... :( LL
I don't think judgement orders can specify a time frame. Even if it did, then its not binding. As I mentioned, a judgement is just an order saying that the money is owed.

Its only enforcement orders that can bind a person to a timeframe in payment. (Although you can generally claim interest from the judgement date).
 
A judgment could and often do include a time frame. This would be binding on the person who it was entered against. If there was no date specified then it would be immediately due. Probably in VCAT they would be mainly dealing with small debts so they may not list dates, but in the courts it would be more common.

But whether the judgment would be enforceable or not is another matter. The creditor would then still have to apply to seize the debtor's property.

This is how the law works in Australia. You would need a court order to prove the debt, generally but not always, and then you would need to enforce the order. There are a number of ways to enforce such as:
1. seizing personal property and/or land
2. garnishing bank accounts
3. garnishing wages

You need court orders to go all of these and the sheriffs can assist - or do the enforcing. But before they can go to seize someone's property they generally need to know what that property is.
 
A judgment could and often do include a time frame. This would be binding on the person who it was entered against. If there was no date specified then it would be immediately due.
I can't see how a judgement which has a timeframe attached to it is any different from a judgement that "falls due immediately" - when the only way to enforce payment is to commence enforcement proceedings.

Otherwise I think we're saying the same thing - after a judgement is made, a judgement creditor would need to consider what enforcement proceedings to bring, if any.
 
I can't see how a judgement which has a timeframe attached to it is any different from a judgement that "falls due immediately" - when the only way to enforce payment is to commence enforcement proceedings.

Otherwise I think we're saying the same thing - after a judgement is made, a judgement creditor would need to consider what enforcement proceedings to bring, if any.
The only difference would be the courts or tribunal wanting to give the debtor some time to raise the money.
 
This is painful ....

I haven't been paid. To move this issue forward I have to apply for a Certified Order. Gees what red-tape BS !! You wait 60 days to go to VCAT to have your case heard. Then you wait 30 days for the ex-tenant to pay. He doesn't. Then to enforce your rights you have to go back to VCAT and get a "Certified copy" of the VCAT order that VCAT issued in the first place. Is this country up -the creek or what ! Not only that you have to apply in writing . Are these guys just making it hard for the "good guys" ? Why wouldn't you just issue a Certified Order in the first place ? Anyway being a good citizen I do as I'm instructed. I write to VCAT on 12 Oct 2012. I wait. I figure two weeks to "rubber-stamp" a piece of paper is more than fair. Nope. Wrong again. 17 days later and "zip". So I phone them this morning. They tell me they "cannot locate my file" and can they call me back. Sure. Did you get my letter I sent 12th Oct? "Yes, we got it on 16th". Phew ! They call me back...I should have my "certified" order in about another week! ..... can you believe this ? LL
 
..... can you believe this ? LL
Yes unfortunately that's how the enforcement system works. And court/tribunal registries sometimes get the paperwork wrong.

You don't have insurance to you hand the judgement debt over to? Trying to enforce the order on principle is probably going to be an expensive and time-consuming process - and you're only at the beginning.
 
i reckon you should have just claimed the amount from landlord's insurance and taken the bond.

Otherwise it's too stressful and takes up a lot of time. think of the opportunity costs involved.

The other issue is to find the person, he could have moved somewhere else and you wouldn't be able to enforce the order by the magistrate's court.

There are many VCAT orders that don't get enforced only because of addresses etc. You could have a VCAT in your favour and then the other party does not turn up so you get it to go your way but then find out the other party has moved address and you cannot find him.

Some people have also use nicknames and abbreviations such as Joe Smith but actually it could be joseph H. Smith as their legal name and it only complicates the process as there could be hundreds of Joe smith. Builders and trades normally have short end of straw unfortunately

I know of incident where a lady requested a renovation on her house. However prior to the renovation finishing, the lady broke up with her partner in which it was later found out that the house belonged to her partner. As the lady had moved out elsewhere- VCAT ruled the builder had no claim on the partner as he did not sign the contract etc.
 
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