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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: Week 6 Hansard (24 June) . . Page.. 2744..


clearly defined rights of privacy subject to access for inspections and other appropriate purposes; clear information concerning the rules of the premises and the rights of residents; and access to appropriate in-house and external dispute resolution processes.

This extension of the Act to occupancy agreements involves two specific elements. Firstly, the Act is amended so that the jurisdiction for determining disputes under short-term occupancies would be vested in the Residential Tenancies Tribunal. Initially, disputes in relation to this extended jurisdiction would be determined under existing contracts and the common law. This measure will permit access to a fast cost-effective tribunal with significant experience in these types of disputes.

When considering an occupancy agreement, the Residential Tenancy Tribunal shall have regard to the occupancy principles.

The second element of the process amends the legislation to permit the development of new sets of standard occupancy terms that would apply to different short-term occupancies. These terms are required to be consistent with the occupancy principles. This measure will enable the formalisation of core provisions for contracts in this area, designed to protect and balance the interests of occupants and those people they contract with.

The development of these new sets of standard occupancy terms for occupancies will be by regulation, and will be conducted in close consultation with stakeholders to ensure that all interests are adequately represented. A range of other amendments are included in the Bill.

These amendments clarify the definition of residential tenancy agreements. As noted above, the bill allows some agreements to 'opt into' the operation of the Act in relation to residential tenancies. Some of the terminology used in the existing Act has had to change to accommodate the new concept of an occupancy agreement - in particular, the concept of "prescribed terms"is renamed "standard residential tenancy terms". This is necessary to distinguish between prescribed terms of residential tenancies, and those that might be prescribed for occupancy agreements.

The bill makes it clear that an endorsed term cannot be inconsistent with the Act. As at present, it will remain possible for terms endorsed by the tribunal to be inconsistent with the standard residential tenancy terms.

In light of experience, the bill removes the existing requirement for a condition report to be lodged with the Office of Rental Bonds. At present, a condition report is required to be lodged with each bond - however, in practice, these reports are not further called upon, and so the requirement has been removed.

The bill improves a number of provisions in the bill dealing with the abandonment of premises, retaliatory actions, successor in title and quiet enjoyment.

In particular, the bill defines the concept of quiet enjoyment, confirming the approach of the Supreme Court in the 2001 case of Anthony Worrall v Commissioner for Housing for the ACT. The concept of 'quiet enjoyment' is used in the Act and in standard residential tenancy terms.

It is an important concept in considering the rights and responsibilities of tenants. Until relatively recently, the common law has required evidence of direct physical


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