Tenancy disputes involving Wodonga owners of Albury homes can’t be decided through the usual tribunal in a NSW anomaly that has already disadvantaged one Border tenant.
The tenant, who lived near Albury, took her Wodonga-based landlord to the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal just before Christmas seeking compensation over a broken door but the case could not be heard because of a federal jurisdiction issue.
NCAT advises it can’t determine matters where the parties live in different states, although it can assist with mediation.
“However if you do not settle your dispute or you want to have the agreed settlement registered and enforced, you will need to go to the Local or District Court, depending on the size of the claim,” NCAT said.
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Sellbuyrent rental agent Trent Mann, who managed the property in question, said the situation could also impact negatively on landlords who did not live in NSW but owned property there.
“It’s obviously very concerning that you would have to exhaust more funds just to remove a tenant that’s not paying their rent,” he said.
A Fair Trading spokesman said a NSW Court of Appeal decision in February 2017 found NCAT may not determine matters between residents of different states.
But Real Estate Institute of NSW chief executive Tim McKibbin said a simple amendment to the legislation could resolve the issue.
“I think this problem could have been fixed two years ago, but it hasn’t been and now, alarmingly, government seems to be ignoring the problem in the hope it will go away,” he said.
Mr McKibbin said the costs associated with court proceedings would be prohibitive in most cases.
Arthur G Colquhoun & Co property manager Sherryn Orr said the NCAT situation was ludicrous given tribunals in other states did not have a similar restriction.
“A landlord would employ an agent who is licensed in NSW, the property itself is in NSW, the tenancy is under the NSW Residential Tenancies Act, why isn’t it heard in the local NCAT?” she said.
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