Page 2349 - Week 07 - Thursday, 4 August 2022
give tenants greater confidence in asserting their rights, as they will know their tenancy can only be ended on legitimate grounds.
This is an important step towards increasing tenants’ rights in the ACT. I present the following papers:
Residential Tenancies Legislation Amendment Bill 2022—Exposure draft.
Residential Tenancies Legislation Amendment Bill 2022—Public exposure draft, and Tenancy Rights—Response to Resolution of the Assembly—Ministerial Statement, 4 August 2022.
That the Assembly take note of the ministerial statement.
MR DAVIS (Brindabella) (10.19): I rise to commend the work done by the Attorney-General. In particular, I commend the exposure draft of the Residential Tenancies Amendment Bill 2022—a bill designed to shift the power imbalance between landlord and tenant which has existed not just in this city but in our country for far too long.
I rise to speak on this ministerial statement and this exposure draft as somebody who, in my relatively short life, has experienced all parts of the housing crisis that we are in at the moment—homelessness, living as a tenant, buying my first home, now as a landlord, as a legislator in this place and as somebody with 12 years experience as a property manager and a real estate salesperson in the ACT.
It is based on that cumulative experience and knowledge that I can assure Canberrans and, in particular, landlords that this is a positive, progressive reform that is good for landlords and good for tenants—in particular, Madam Speaker, the more than 20 per cent of our constituents that we serve in this place who are currently tenants, and the more than 100,000 Canberrans who are tenants in this city.
I appreciate the Attorney-General’s comments. Given representations I have received from constituents, including some landlords over recent days, some of the Attorney’s comments are important to note and bear repeating,. In fact, I met a particularly concerned constituent last weekend at my mobile electorate office in Lanyon, who was a landlord and who was very concerned about what he had heard in media reporting about this reform and the potential infringement of some of his rights as a landlord. I want to underline and emphasise a few points that the Attorney-General made in his speech. If you do not pay your rent, your tenancy agreement provides ways for the landlord to seek that rent. If you damage the property, you remain in breach of your tenancy agreement. If you sublet, you will be in breach of your tenancy agreement.
These modest amendments are necessary to protect the growing—I suspect ever-growing—proportion of Canberrans who rent now and will rent into the future. We have heard it put by some in the real estate industry that these progressive reforms are leading to landlords flooding out of the market. First of all, that assumes that that is a bad thing. With respect to modest, progressive reforms that seek to obligate landlords