NATION

Koya Announces Extension Of Rent Freeze Order

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. It will now expire
02 Jan 2017 16:41
Koya Announces Extension Of Rent Freeze Order
For Rent

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.

It will now expire on December 31, 2017. This extension is based on the assessment undertaken by the Fiji Commerce Commission.

Mr Koya also announced that effective from January 1, 2017, it is mandatory for the landlords to provide letting agreements and receipts. The rent freeze order has been amended to make it mandatory for the landlords to issue proper agreements and accurate receipts to tenants.

Failure to issue agreements and receipts is an offence under the Commerce Commission Act 2010 and appropriate actions will be taken for breaches.

Fiji Commerce Commission (“Commission”), chair Joann Young explained that the rent freeze was in place since March 2, 2007. Therefore, the rent restriction does not allow for increase on any residential tenancy and ground rent to which the Commerce Commission Act 2010 applies.

Hence, the rent that was applicable on a property as at March 2, 2007 becomes the maximum rent and should be charged until the end of the year 2017.

Any increase in rent from the period March 2, 2007 and December 31, 2017 will be deemed illegal and penalties including on-spot fines up to $2000 can be imposed by the Commission under the Commerce Commission Act 2010.

Ms Young further stated that the Commission has received a significant number of complaints relating to landlord and tenancy issues. This indicates that there is a need for more awareness and understanding of the rights and obligations of tenants and landlords. The rent freeze has been extended in an effort to maintain a certain level of control to ensure fair treatment of tenants as well as ensure affordability of residential rental properties.

Ms Young also stated that the Commission was working on a draft Residential Tenancy Bill, which will govern the property rental market. Consultations on the draft will be undertaken this year and all stakeholders will be duly advised on consultation dates.

The legislation is expected to be completed this year and will address issues faced by landlords and tenants, including the issue of fair rental amounts.

Mr Koya calls on all Fijians to observe the requirements under the rent freeze order and abide by the same.

The public are encouraged to contact Fiji Commerce Commission for any illegal rent increase and failure of the landlords to issue proper agreements and receipts.

 

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