The Northern Territory government has made changes to the negotiating and notice periods between landlords and tenants in response to the global Covid-19 pandemic. While the measures have been introduced to help tenants experiencing hardship as a result of the Covid-19 shutdowns, they don’t include the six-month moratorium on evictions agreed on by the national cabinet in March. The national cabinet left the specific enactment of the moratorium to individual states and territories and all except the Northern Territory and Tasmania have since passed laws enacting a six-month moratorium.
Negotiating and notice period legislation
Introduced on Friday 24 April, legislation guided by the national cabinet principles includes the extension of the negotiation period between tenants and landlords on rent from 14 days to 60 days. When a landlord has to give notice of eviction to a tenant, the 14 day period will also be extended to 60 days. The measures don’t exempt tenants from paying their rent and they will need to show and prove they have experienced genuine hardship caused by the Coronavirus. These laws will be implemented under the Tenancies Legislation Amendment Bill 2020.
Incentives for commercial landlords
Incentives for commercial landlords have also been passed with businesses who have been hit hard by the Coronavirus able to claim a six-month waiver on payroll tax, and relief on rent, bills and council rates. Commercial landlords must try to lower rents for tenants and negotiate with their tenants in good faith, in line with the recent code of conduct.
While the new measures for residential tenants don’t include the moratorium on evictions that the national cabinet agreed on, the Northern Territory government believes that extending the negotiation and notice periods to 60 days is enough to help tenants experiencing hardship.