Today the Northern Territory Parliament marked its commitment to modernising tenancy law in the Territory by passing long overdue reforms to the Residential Tenancies Act to increase protections for tenants across the Territory. The amendments will remove the practice of blacklisting tenants on private databases without their knowledge. These listings are often unsubstantiated and until now tenants have had difficulty correcting the record or having a listing removed.
While Darwin Community Legal Service (DCLS) welcomes the reforms contained in the Bill, the passing of the Bill should be considered as the first stage of reform toward ensuring tenants in the Territory enjoy the same rights as those in other States and Territories across Australia. In debating the Bill today there was bipartisan support for a comprehensive review as a matter of priority.
DCLS supports making renting fair and safe through:
- the establishment of an independent bond board;
- protections for victims of domestic violence;
- longer term tenancies and longer notice periods;
- protections against evictions without reason; and
- minimum standards of habitability and safety.
As housing becomes less affordable the reality is that more people will be renting for longer. In the Northern Territory, more than half the population rents and yet legislation and incentives are still geared towards home ownership.
Rachel Athiade from the Tenancy Advice Service at DCLS states
“We urge the Territory Government commit to broader reforms that enable tenants to make their property feel like home, increasing sustainability for both landlords and tenants. If we are going to attract and retain students, families and workers in the Northern Territory they need to know their housing will be secure.”
If you are a tenant and are seeking information in regard to your tenancy, contact the Tenants Advice Service for a free call 1800 812 953.
Media Contact: Andrew Smith/Rachel Athiade/Myles Brown 8982 1111--