In Legal Affairs

Northern Territory Attorney General Selena Uibo

Residential Tenancies Legislation Amendment Act 2019 To Commence In 2021

Victor P Taffa

Changes to the Northern Territory Residential Tenancies Act 1999 commence on 1 January 2021 after being passed by Parliament earlier this year.

Commencement of amendments to the legislation was deferred to allow for further legislative changes required in response to COVID-19.

“These changes offer clarity around a range of issues impacting the rental market and have been widely consulted.” Attorney General Selena Uibo said.

Act had not been reviewed for 18 years, however this new regulatory framework guides interactions between landlords and tenants and reflects modern practices across the Northern Territory.”

Changes include:

  • Balancing of rights between tenants and landlords by allowing tenants to have pets unless landlords have reasonable grounds to refuse tenants’ requests. While landlords will have the final say as to who rents their properties, the amendments allow a presumption in favour of rental tenants keeping pets. Body corporate rules (for example, the banning of pets) still apply and are not overruled by the changes. Also, the Act enables landlords to seek restitution from tenants for damage caused by their pets.
  • Making it an offence to fail to comply with the requirement to place tenants’ unclaimed bond monies into the Tenancy Trust Account;
  • Removing the option that condition reports may be entirely based on images.

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