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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 06 Hansard (Tuesday, 5 June 2018) . . Page.. 1988 ..


make them get out of the market or not invest. If legislative provisions erect additional barriers against an owner’s ability to recover rental arrears then you can change all the planning rules you want but these will not incentivise investors and will see acres of empty blocks of units or vacant paddocks. It is going to get too hard for mum and dad investors.

It is very easy to get the impression that this government is out to demonise and victimise property owners and property investors. I think we need to appreciate the drivers which supply rental accommodation and what incentivises investors and owners. I cannot help sensing that from a holistic view we are starting to go too far. On this basis the Canberra Liberals will not be supporting this bill.

MS LE COUTEUR (Murrumbidgee) (11.14): I rise today to support the amendment bill. The bill contains a number of amendments to the Residential Tenancies Act. The first area I want to talk about is that which Mr Parton has talked about, but with a slightly different bent. The first of the concerns is about replacing the previous provisions for granting a conditional termination and possession order, a CTPO, with a payment order. The JACS review of the Residential Tenancies Act, completed in 2016 but started in 2014, noted that many CTPO decisions made by ACAT relate to social housing tenants. Submissions to the review suggested that the current provisions lacked clarity, especially because of the interaction between two sections of the RTA—that is, section 49(1) and section 42A—which meant there could be legitimate confusion about when a tenancy is terminated and the legal arrangements between the parties if a tenant remained in the property.

The amendments also remove the self-executing component of a CTPO. Under current arrangements when a breach of a CTPO occurs—that is, a failure to pay rent—the lessor becomes entitled to possession and all rent is payable immediately regardless of whether the rent is a day late or if a payment plan is in place. The bill before the Assembly inserts a procedural speed hump before a tenancy is terminated for the people at greatest risk, such as social housing tenants and/or people suffering from mental illness or people who have just lost their jobs and have to urgently reorganise their affairs. This change could be the difference between maintaining a tenancy or homelessness.

I note the comments of Mr Parton, and it is important to be fair on all sides of the equation. But he did not talk about the fact that most landlords actually have insurance, and while it may take some time for the insurance company to pay, I am hopeful and assume that this would be the sort of thing that, in fact, is covered by landlord insurance.

The bill also includes some administrative tidying up following the regulatory changes introduced on 17 May 2018 by the Attorney-General. The changes to the Residential Tenancies Act’s regulation are designed to ensure that business models of entities offering rental bond guarantees do not disadvantage tenants compared to if they had paid an up-front bond. On the surface, of course, rental bond guarantees may be an attractive proposition, and may work for some people. But it is exactly the same situation as with payday lenders or post-pay credit companies—that is, the companies concerned expect to make significant amounts of money from ongoing payments


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