REIV President Leah Calnan says a recent decision by the Court of Appeal, stating VCAT cannot rule on cases where the landlord resides outside of Victoria will create more questions than answers.
VCAT has been the common arena for rental disputes within Victoria since its inception, regardless of where the landlord resides.

The Victorian Court of Appeal recently changed that, when they ruled that VCAT cannot decide the outcome of a dispute when the parties are residents of different Australian states.

The new ruling means that interstate investors that own property in Victoria are no longer covered under VCAT’s jurisdiction.

Ms Calnan said the decision to exclude interstate landlords would create a lot of legal headaches.
“Cutting out interstate owners of Victorian property from having their cases heard in VCAT is absurd.” Ms Calnan said.

“Restricting landlords that don’t reside in Victoria, from being able to access VCAT creates a multitude of problems for both landlords and tenants.”

“This decision casts doubt on whether interstate landlords are susceptible to Victorian rental laws and could also result in tenants involved in disputes forced to travel interstate to have their cases heard.”
“The REIV will seek urgent action by the Victorian government to investigate this matter and ensure the Victorian investor market isn’t adversely affected.”

“With rental vacancy rates for 2019 sitting at 2.2% this is just another area of concern that may see investors leave the market and cause even higher rental shortages.”
“Victoria is a strong real estate market that has attracted investors from across the globe, having interstate owners of Victorian rental properties is extremely common.”

“This new interpretation will create mayhem for borders towns, like Wodonga, Echuca and Mildura, you could own a property a couple of hundred metres away and still not be covered by VCAT.”
“This decision creates stress and confusion to both landlords, property managers and tenants alike; they all deserve to know which judicial body they are covered by.”

“The Court of Appeal’s interpretation could also question the validity of previous VCAT decisions involving non-Victorian landowners.”

“We want Victoria to remain open for business; a lack of legal clarification has the potential to spook off new investors.”