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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 10 Hansard (5 December) . . Page.. 2672 ..

Detail Stage

Bill, by leave, taken as a whole

MR HUMPHRIES (Attorney-General) (4.13): Mr Speaker, I seek leave to move together the two amendments circulated in my name.

Leave granted.

MR HUMPHRIES: I thank members. I move:

Page 2, line 5, clause 4, add the following subclause:

"(2) The amendment of the Tenancy Tribunal Act 1994 set out in the Schedule shall be taken to have commenced on 1 January 1995.".

Page 13, line 14, Schedule, after the item relating to the Supreme Court Act 1933 insert the following item:

"Tenancy Tribunal Act 1994

Subsection 8(1) -

Omit "option before", substitute "option, before".".

Mr Speaker, the Tenancy Tribunal Act 1995 commenced on 1 January this year to give tenants access to mediation and arbitration processes and to establish a code of practice for commercial and retail leases. The code applies to all leases commencing on and from 1 January 1995 and to leases entered into prior to 1 January 1994 as regards multiple rent review and rent ratchet clauses. In addition, the Act was intended to give tenants under leases entered into prior to 1 January 1995 access to the tribunal for any alleged harsh and oppressive conduct which occurred after 1 January 1995.

On 10 November 1995 the president of the Tenancy Tribunal, Mr Somes, in hearing an application by a Tuggeranong Hyperdome tenant who was alleging harsh and oppressive conduct under a pre-1995 lease, ruled that the absence of a comma from subsection 8(1) of the Act meant that, in his opinion, the tribunal had no jurisdiction over pre-1995 leases, except where the relevant lease was extended under an option granted before 1 January 1995. Mr Speaker, a number of similar cases are presently before the Tenancy Tribunal. The explanatory memorandum tabled in the Assembly by Mr Connolly when the Act was passed stated:

... in the case of `harsh and oppressive conduct', the Bill will apply to existing leases, but only where the conduct occurs on or after the substantive commencement of the Code.

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