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Tightening NT vacancy rate drives increase tenancy disputes

By Steven Cross
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A spike in tenancy disputes has prompted the Northern Territory office for Consumer Affairs to launch an education campaign to highlight the rights and responsibilities of tenants and landlords.

An expanding rental market in the NT has led Consumer Affairs commissioner Gary Clements to encourage both tenants and landlords to familiarise themselves with their requirements.

“The demand for rental properties in the NT is expected to grow with major [mining] projects such as Inpex coming on line,” Mr Clements said.

Darwin's vacancy rate shrunk to a super low 0.4 per cent in May - or just 100 available properties, according to data from SQM Research.

Mr Clements said Consumer Affairs provides free and accessible advice aims to increasing awareness of the provisions of the Residential Tenancies Act to all concerned, including real estate agents and property managers.

“A range of publications are available on the Consumer Affairs website where tenants and landlords can view the legislation and download brochures, fact sheets and forms," he said.

“They can also download the booklet, ‘A Guide to Renting in the Northern Territory’, which clearly summarises the rights and responsibilities of tenants and landlords under the Act."

Speaking with Real Estate Business, Mr Clements admitted there had been an increase in disputes as more rental properties came onto the market.

“We have seen a slight increase in demand on our office; we undertake dispute resolution and hear applications between landlords, their agents and tenants," he said.

“We make determinations about rental issues, with rent being one factor as well as tenants wishing to leave their tenancy early and other issues that are easily fixed if people follow their rights and responsibilities set out by the Act.”

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