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Debates and Questions - Day 1 - 24 April 2020



Debates and Questions - Day 1 - 24 April 2020

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Parliamentary Record 27


Debates and Questions for 13th Assembly 2019 - 2020; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 13th Assembly 2016 - 2020




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Debates and Questions

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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory

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Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)

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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory



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DEBATES AND QUESTIONS Friday 24 April 2020 8334 Mrs FINOCCHIARO: In clause 10, you stated publicly that the time limits for issuing a breach notice will be extended to 60 days along with a 60-day waiting period before applying for a possession order. That totals 120 days. You had to arrive at some figure, who was consulted and how did you develop the 120-day moratorium? Ms FYLES: The Chamber of Commerce, REINT, Darwin Community Legal Service, NAAJA, Property Council and NT Shelter. Mrs FINOCCHIARO: That was the most palatable time frame for all the stakeholders? Ms FYLES: That was the most balanced feedback. Obviously, there was a range of representativesbut that 60 days. Mrs FINOCCHIARO: Will the modification notice include a provision extending the period or criteria for the suspension of an order of possession, noting that NTCAT already has the power under section 90 of the act to suspend a possession order for up to 90 days? Ms FYLES: I am advised there is the ability for NTCAT to have a limited extension but it would be need to be on the provision of the evidence presented to show that they have the ability to pay. Mrs FINOCCHIARO: How is that extension governed? What is the time frame? Ms FYLES: NTCAT would make that decision on a case-by-case basis. Mrs FINOCCHIARO: Section 157C(8) specifies that the minister may: specify any evidentiary or procedural requirement for determining whether a party is suffering hardship or may suffer hardship. What might those procedures be? Ms FYLES: It would be documents that show a hardship or a drop in income: a letter from an employer; bank statements; or a JobKeeper application. Mrs FINOCCHIARO: Section 157C(9) provides the minister with the power to alter a landlords right to obtain fair rent or terminate a tenancy making the alleviation of hardship the principle consideration. Should there not be a balancing of those hardships and does this clause not imply that the alleviation of a hardship is only one way? Ms FYLES: In conjunction, the hardship is the trigger and then it would be the considering factor in those matters. Mrs FINOCCHIARO: Surely the alleviation of hardship being the principle consideration has to apply equally to both parties? Ms FYLES: Yes, correct. Landlord hardship is also a consideration. Mrs FINOCCHIARO: I want to make sure because it is drafted to sound like it has greater implication on the landlord to alleviate pressure from the tenant, which may be fine in the circumstance but surely the test of hardship is applied equally so that you are not alleviating for one and creating for the other. Ms FYLES: No, it is as you said. It is to be fair in terms of hardship. Mrs FINOCCHIARO: Under 157C(10), a modification notice may give the NTCAT additional powers. This would include the power to terminate a lease and substitute it with a new lease in terms that have not been negotiated or agreed to by a landlord or lessee. That is pretty extraordinary. What is the governments intention with this section? Ms FYLES: This is in relation to new leases and is about the hardship provisions that give NTCAT the tools on a case-by-case basis to do that. Mrs FINOCCHIARO: Yes, that is right. For any new leases being entered into after the operation of this act commences, the NTCAT has the power under this section to terminate a lease or replace it with a new one.