A NSW family has been left with no option aside from entering into a costly court case or moving interstate to resolve an ongoing dispute with a Victorian tenant.
Dispute resolution bodies such as VCAT in Victoria and NCAT in NSW, lack authority when parties are in different states.
The Seymours, who asked their first names not to be used, live in Illawarra and were trying to remove a tenant who had reportedly fallen behind in their rent and damaged their Geelong property when the lockdown came in.
"Even if we get rid of this tenant, we're effectively renting a house in a state where we are muted, there is no legal recourse for us beyond the courts, and that's very costly," Mrs Seymour said.
The limitations of state tribunals came to light about two years ago due to discrimination lawsuit case that found NCAT did not have jurisdiction over matters between residents of different states.
It's an issue across state borders, but not with territories which are not subject to the same constitutional restrictions.
"The cheapest possible option for me and my husband at the moment would be to actually go and live in Canberra for a couple of months," Mrs Seymour said.
"We've offered the tenant who now owes us well in excess of $5000 to leave the property and not pay us back a cent."
"Ultimately we want our property back but really we just want to see this changed."
CEO of Tenants' Union of NSW, Leo Patterson Ross, said states have tried to deal with the issue in different ways.
NSW has a work-around system where local courts hear matters in a manner similar to that of a tribunal.
"One thing that can't happen in the courts ordinarily, and this is really the most significant thing, is that evictions in general are the exclusive domain of the tribunals," Mr Patterson Ross said.
"That was a really big problem because essentially eviction is the way the whole system is constituted, that ultimately if a landlord and tenant can't agree, the tenant will get turfed.
"Essentially anything else, all money issues, can be resolved through the courts, it's just that parties don't want to pay their costs."
For tenants and landlords in a dispute over the returning of a bond or getting repairs done, going to court and potentially paying costs is a big risk.
"Then there is the more fundamental issue from the landlord's side where they actually can't get the eviction orders outside of a tribunal, unless the state has done something to allow you to move jurisdictions like New South Wales has by saying that the courts can hear the eviction matter in these instances," he said.
"I think everybody acknowledges that the real solution that actually kind of brings the system back in line with if you're both in the same state is constitutional reform, which is obviously a big ask."