Pet law’s sting in the tail
THE Territory’s leading authority in real estate says it’s unacceptable the NT Government has used COVID-19 as an excuse to not address controversial rental legislative changes.
In February, the government passed legislative changes to the Residential Tenancies Act, which included a controversial new clause that presumed tenants had a right to keep a pet by providing written notice to a landlord.
The changes received heavy criticism. However, the Act did not take effect due to the coronavirus pandemic taking precedence. Now the changes cannot be addressed until after the Territory’s general election on August 22.
Real Estate Institute of the Northern Territory chief executive Quentin Kilian said it was not appropriate the legislation was “hidden in a drawer” when it could damage the industry.
“Our biggest fear is that they’re going to quietly bring it back out after the COVID nonsense and essentially start taking away landlords’ rights,” he said. “We had a number of investors say ‘I’m not going to be an investor here because I’m not going to have the government dictate to me how I operate my rental property’. And that’s essentially what this legislation was doing.”
A spokeswoman for Attorney-General Natasha Fyles said dealing with the coronavirus pandemic remained the Territory government’s top priority.
Both CLP Opposition Leader Lia Finocchiaro and Territory Alliance leader Terry Mills have committed to abolishing the changes.
“These changes unfairly remove property owners’ rights to refuse tenants requests to have pets in their rental properties,” Ms Finocchiaro said. Mr Mills said, if elected, his party would “rescind and reset” the legislation.
“They thought a Victorian Labor approach would just be accepted in the Territory and that’s not the right approach — nor is it good governance not to consult respectfully in the first place,” he said.