Debates and Questions - Day 1 - 24 April 2020
Parliamentary Record 27
Debates and Questions for 13th Assembly 2019 - 2020; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 13th Assembly 2016 - 2020
Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
Debates and Questions
Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)
Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
DEBATES AND QUESTIONS Friday 24 April 2020 8335 What rigour is there within the legislationit is just contrary to how contractual negotiations work. You have both parties coming together and accepting what they are both willing to accept and then moving forward on that basis. To what extent can the NTCAT completely rewrite that agreement? Ms FYLES: This is where parties cannot agree and the hardship provision has been acknowledged. That is where the NTCAT has to do its job. It has to balance all evidence presented to it to make a decision. Mrs FINOCCHIARO: Will the NTCAT have the power to forgive a debt owing to a landlord under the modification notices? If someone is temporarily unable to pay their rent because they are experiencing hardship, and is granted that relief, does that debt accrue or is it waived? Ms FYLES: It can waive but only into the futuresomeone cannot go through this process and stop paying rent then use this as a trigger not to pay that rent. It would be into the future amongst negotiated terms. Mrs FINOCCHIARO: If you were in arrears, you would still be required to pay back what was owed. But going forward, if NTCAT makes a decision and the decision is that you do not have to pay rent for 10 weeks or something like that, the tenant is not required to pay ever? Ms FYLES: The rent in arrears has to be paid; you cannot just use this as provision not to pay that. In going forward, that is why NTCAT sees all the evidence. It can acknowledge the hardship and work out a payment plan that is fair for the property owner and tenant. Mrs FINOCCHIARO: Is this where the issue will arise with the acquisition on just terms? The liability could arise for the Northern Territory at that point. If the terms of the rental payment are so grievous could the landlord make a claim that it is an acquisition of property? Ms FYLES: No, because this is for new leases. Mrs FINOCCHIARO: Why is that different? Ms FYLES: Because the new leases are entered into under these terms. Mrs FINOCCHIARO: Was any conversation had about this being a deterrent for people to put their properties on the market going forward? We would hate to see people withdrawing properties because they felt that the risk was too high and therefore would not be able to get into the housing market. Ms FYLES: Can you ask the question again, sorry, Leader of the Opposition? Mrs FINOCCHIARO: When you were in discussions of public council, REINT, Chamber, NAAJA and all the other organisations, did it come up that this could be seen as a deterrent? If you are a property owner and your tenants lease is expiring next week, ordinarily you would put it back on the market and try to get a new tenant because that person wanted to move out. Was there consideration that this could be a deterrent for that property investor because there would be new agreement with their new tenant that comes under this new legislation. Property owners could just think, I will wait a few months, see if this blows over and not put my property on the market. Ms FYLES: This legislation is designed to keep tenants in their properties. It is designed to have a path forward so that landlords are receiving an income. We cannot predict the market, nor what individual business decisions will be made by owners. You have given one scenario, but this is very much about tenants who are in place and keeping them there. It is to provide mechanisms that are fair to the tenant so they have the ability to negotiate and it ensures that owners get a fair income. Mrs FINOCCHIARO: I mentioned in my contribution that other jurisdictions had taken different approaches, including providing temporary assistance to renters experiencing hardship. Have any of the measures used in ACT, Victoria and Western Australia been considered by the government? If so, why has the government decided not to go support renters and landlords in that way at this time? Ms FYLES: The government made a decision separate to this legislation. Our incentives are in the Jobs Rescue and Recovery plan. There is a range of incentives for support as well as for homeowners, such as the home improvement scheme. Mrs FINOCCHIARO: We are passing this legislation on urgency todaythat is certainly the governments intention. It then has to be assented to with a commencement date, there must be one in mind?
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