Frequently Asked Questions - Interstate parties with residential tenancy disputes
Since February 2020, VCAT has been unable to hear matters where a party resides outside of Victoria. Here are some frequently asked questions for interstate parties with residential tenancy disputes.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why can't VCAT hear matters involving individuals who live interstate?
In February 2020, the Victorian Court of Appeal found that VCAT is not a 'court of a state'. In effect, this means that VCAT does not have federal jurisdiction and cannot hear certain matters specified in the Commonwealth constitution, including matters between individuals who live in different states.
Why can the Magistrates' Court of Victoria now hear matters with interstate parties?
New legislation that commenced on Monday 29 November (the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal and Other Acts Amendment (Federal Jurisdiction and Other Matters) Act 2021) means the Magistrates' Court of Victoria can now hear matters that VCAT cannot hear because VCAT does not have federal jurisdiction.
Can I still make an application through VCAT or do I go through the Magistrates' Court?
If at the time of the application you know that one of the parties resides interstate, you can make an application directly to the Magistrates' Court.
If you make an application to us and we ultimately determine we do not have jurisdiction in your matter, the application will be struck out and any fees will be refunded. If this happens, you can then apply to the Magistrates' Court.
How are parties classified to be outside of the state?
If a person's primary residential address is within another state of Australia that is not Victoria, then VCAT is unlikely to be able to hear a case where that person is a party (either the applicant or the respondent).
Is the classification at the time of the issue that warranted the application or at the time of the application?
If either the renter or rental provider are residents of a state other than Victoria at the time the application is lodged, it is outside of VCAT's jurisdiction – it is not determined by where the parties resided at the time the dispute began.
What about if the agent resides outside of Victoria? Does that matter?
No. Only the residential status of the renter and rental provider is relevant.
If I believe a party in my case resides outside of Victoria can I apply directly to the Magistrates' Court?
Yes, you can.
Will any fees I've paid to VCAT as part of my application be transferred to MCV?
No, they will be refunded to you and you'll need to pay Magistrates' Court fees separately. Be advised that it can take up to six weeks to have fees refunded.
If VCAT does not accept my application will VCAT transfer it and all supporting documents to MCV?
No. You'll need to make a new application to MCV and re-submit all supporting documentation.
Am I still able to use the RT Hub for creating a Notice to Vacate (NTV)?
NTVs are not affected by the federal jurisdiction issue and can continue to be generated using the VCAT RT Hub even if one of the parties resides interstate. In such a case, if the NTV ultimately results in an application to VCAT that VCAT cannot hear, the completed NTV can then be attached to the new application with the MCV.