The introduction of laws improving protections for tenants against the misuse of tenancy blacklists has commenced with the introduction of the Residential Tenancies Amendment Bill 2018 (No. 43 of 2018) (the Bill) to the NT House of Assembly on 8 February 2018, by the Hon Natasha Fyles.
The Bill is currently with the Economic Policy Scrutiny Committee where it is awaiting further discussion and submissions. It is proposed to amend the Residential Tenancies Act  and the Residential Tenancies Regulations .
The Bill’s Explanatory Statement (the ES) indicates that the Bill’s primary purpose:
According to a NT Government:
The changes create regulations guiding how agents, lessors and database operators can use, record and access personal information about tenants and prospective tenants listed, and also provide that landlords can be penalised for doing the wrong thing.
Database owners will also need to comply with the new regulation when listing or using a tenant’s personal information on a database.
The Bill will implement the national Residential Tenancy Database Model Provisions which were developed by the former Standing Committee of Attorneys-General (now the Council of Attorneys-General) and the former Ministerial Council on Consumer Affairs (now the Consumer Affairs Forum) during 2009 and 2010. The Bill sets out the nationally agreed minimum level of rights, obligations and limitations in relation to residential tenancy databases.
The other purpose of the Bill is procedural in nature, where it will address a drafting oversight during conferral of jurisdiction of residential tenancy matters to the Northern Territory Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NTCAT) in the Northern Territory Civil and Administrative Tribunal (Conferral of Jurisdiction Amendments) Act 2014 by formally providing the NTCAT with jurisdiction to hear matters arising under the former Tenancy Act.
Minister Fyles said all other Australian jurisdictions have enacted comprehensive regulatory provisions on this issue. She said recently in a:
It’s envisaged the legislation could be in place by July 2018, with landlords, agents and database operators provided a further three months to review and modify existing database entries to comply with the new framework.
A key reform is the introduction of maximum time periods that tenants can be placed on a blacklist. Under current NT legislation, a tenant doing the wrong thing can be blacklisted potentially for life.
Andrew Smith, a Solicitor with Darwin Community Legal Service said:
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Residential Tenancies Amendment Bill 2018 (NT) and supporting information available from TimeBase LawOne Service.
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