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Residential Rent Freeze Extended

Residential Rent Freeze Extended
January 01
09:38 2016

The Minister for Industry, Trade and Tourism, Faiyaz Siddiq Koya, yesterday announced an extension of the freeze on residential properties and ground rents for one year to December 31, 2016.

Mr Koya said this meant that between January 1, 2016 and December 31, 2016, a person must not charge a rent for letting or continued letting of any premises under residential tenancy, including ground rental in excess of the rental charged in 2015.

The Minister said the rent freeze had been in place since March 2, 2007. Hence, the rent applicable on a property as at March 2, 2007 becomes the base rent which should continue until the end of the year 2016.  For example, if a property was rented for $500 a month on March 2, 2007, then $500 becomes the maximum rent charged on the property between the period March 2, 2007 and December 31, 2016. For new properties, the rent for the first letting becomes the base rent and it cannot be increased.

Any increase in rent from the period March 2, 2007, and December 31, 2016, will be deemed illegal and penalties including on-spot fines up to $2000 can be imposed by the Fiji Commerce Commission under the Commerce Commission Decree 2010.

The rent freeze has been extended to ensure fair treatment of tenants. This also ensures that the Fijian Government is fulfilling its obligation of providing access to affordable housing.

The Minister also stated that effective from January 1, 2016, it is mandatory for the landlords to provide letting agreements and receipts. Failure to issue agreements and receipts is an offence under the Commerce Commission Decree 2010 and appropriate action will be taken for breaches.

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