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One party lives interstate

Information about what to do if one party to a residential tenancies dispute lives interstate.

Federal Jurisdictional Matters

As of the 29 of November the Magistrates’ Court of Victoria now hears:

Federal jurisdiction applies in several situations, including proceedings:

  • between states, residents of different states or a state and resident of another state
  • where the Commonwealth is suing or being sued
  • involving the Constitution or its interpretation
  • under any laws made by the Commonwealth Parliament.

For example, it often arises in residential tenancies proceedings where a rental provider (landlord) resides interstate.

There is no federal jurisdiction problem if the proceedings involve a corporation, a state political entity, a resident of a territory or a resident of another country.

There is no federal jurisdiction If the proceedings involve more than one rental provider (landlord), and at least one of the rental providers resides in Victoria. It is immaterial that one of the landlords resides in a different state.

People making applications to the Magistrates Court for residential tenancy matters, in addition to their Application, will need fill out additional form titled Residential Tenancies Annexure F10.(opens in a new window)

Please see the Magistrates Court of Victoria Website(opens in a new window) for more information on how Applications are made, including links to Application forms at the base of the page.

For a more detailed explanation and Legal analysis please see: The High Court's Decision in Burns v Corbett(opens in a new window)

More information


Residential Tenancies Act 1997 (Vic)

  • s. 510—application to Supreme Court, County Court or Magistrates' Court

See Residential Tenancies Act 1997 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 1998 (Vic)

  • Part 3A—Federal subject matter amendments (not yet added)

See Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 1998 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

Case law

Meringnage v Interstate Enterprises Pty Ltd & Ors [2020]

In this case, the Victorian Supreme Court of Appeal makes it clear that VCAT is not a 'court of the state' for the purpose of the Commonwealth Constitution and therefore does not have jurisdiction to resolve what are known as 'federal jurisdiction matters' arising under the Constitution. This includes matters where the Commonwealth is a party, where the dispute arises under a Commonwealth law, and where the dispute is between residents of different states (such as residential tenancy disputes where the rental provider lives interstate).

See Meringnage v Interstate Enterprises Pty Ltd [2020] VSCA 30 (25 February 2020)(opens in a new window)

Burns v Corbett [2018] HCA

In this case (concerning a tribunal decision in NSW) it was held that a tribunal did not have jurisdiction to hear matters where one of the parties lives in another state.

See Burns v Corbett [2018] HCA 15 (18 April 2018.(opens in a new window)

Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal

See VCAT—Court decision affects the kinds of cases VCAT can decide(opens in a new window).

Tenants Victoria

This specialist community legal centre has provided a detailed examination of the new laws that relate to eviction. These include a discussion of this interstate issue at slide 90.

See Tenants Victoria—Eviction advanced (pdf, 3.6 MB)(opens in a new window)