Darwin Community Legal Service is committed to ensuring tenants have a fair-go.
If you rent a property in the Northern Territory, your rights are protected by a law called the Residential Tenancies Act (NT). However DCLS believes that this Act is out of date and does not protect tenants from the realities of renting in the Northern Territory.
The Tenants’ Advice Service has started a campaign to get these laws reformed. Our aim is to ensure every Territorian has access to housing that is FAIR, SAFE and CERTAIN.
We can’t do it alone. We are seeking support and input from as many people as possible to ensure our voices are heard.
If you would like to know more about the campaign or want to support the campaign, sign up below, contact our service on 8982-1111 or send us an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have a story about your renting experiences in the Northern Territory that you would like to share, send us an email at email@example.com or share it below and someone from our team will be in contact.
The following are key reforms that support this objective and contribute to broader economic and social outcomes for the NT:
Extend protection and consistency under the Act: Currently many Territorians miss out on basic rights and protections due to gaps or inconsistencies within the legislation. Territorians living in student accommodation, Aboriginal Hostels, supported accommodation, industrial residential arrangements and caravan sites should all be protected equally under the same framework.
Establish an independent bond board: An independent body is needed to ensure transparency and fairness in dealing with the return of bond money, enable quicker re-entry into the housing market at the end of the lease and reduce delays and resources associated with bond disputes.
Improve protections for tenants who are subject to domestic and family violence: Some small amendments would provide victims of domestic violence with a way to terminate their tenancy without penalty, prevent victims of domestic violence being unfairly placed on rental blacklists for damage to property resulting from acts of domestic violence and ensure victims of domestic violence have right to reasonable improvements to the security of their homes.
Abolish arbitrary evictions: Reasons should be provided when terminating a tenancy to ensure there is adequate protection for home stability, fairness, and freedom from discrimination in dealing with renters.
Longer notice periods: In the Territory, a renter can be kicked out of their home with as little as two days’ notice. Longer notice periods would ensure tenants have reasonable opportunity to find a new home and landlords to find new tenants.
Longer term leases and recognition of improvement: Many tenants will be tenants for life. Longer leases and incentives to improve their home would benefit both landlords and tenants and encourage more harmonious relationships.
Maintaining habitable rental properties: Everyone deserves a home that is safe and liveable. The legislation should prescribe minimum standards for rental homes and require greater responsiveness to repairs and maintenance issues.
Protect tenants against discrimination: A specific prohibition on discrimination in accessing housing would promote equitable opportunity to secure housing.
Reasonable rents: Limiting rental increases to once a year and anchoring them to objective standards such as the cost of living underpins a fair market place.
Regulate bills and charges: Landlords and agents should provide a month’s notice of payment for service bills and charges and these should be passed on regularly, not billed in bulk at the end of a tenancy.
Simplifying processes for Co-Tenancy: Shared households are increasingly common, but liabilities are difficult to sever and apportion. Greater clarity is required to resolve disputes, protect individual interests in a co-tenancy and not just lump full responsibility with the last person standing.