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Major Offences in 2016/2017 Financial Year

Whilst in the process of preparing the new ‘Landlord & Tenancy Act” (LTA) and the public consultation currently underway under the charge of the Fiji Commerce Commission (‘Commission’), it is
27 Feb 2017 17:19
Major Offences in 2016/2017 Financial Year

Whilst in the process of preparing the new ‘Landlord & Tenancy Act” (LTA) and the public consultation currently underway under the charge of the Fiji Commerce Commission (‘Commission’), it is important for the Fijians to take the opportunity and participate by making constructive submissions on issues they feel needs to be captured.

The first round of public consultation on the proposed “Landlord and Tenant Act, 2017” has come to a close and preparation is in progress for the second round.

There are already landlord/tenant provisions under the Commerce Commission Act 2010 (CCA2010) which include but not limited to the following:

1.Restriction to residential and ground rent Increases

Section 45 of the CCA2010 empowers the Commission to restrict increases to residential and ground rent by order through the approval of the Minister of Industry & Trade.

From 2nd March, 2007, the Commission imposed a ‘rent freeze’ on all residential and ground rent to which the CCA2010 applies.

The rent freeze remains in force today and the current order will expire on 31st December, 2017. 

Any person who illegally increased rent during the period mentioned is liable for legal action by the Commission.

2. Landlords to keep records of tenancy agreement and receipts

Section 56 of the CCA2010 requires the landlord to keep records of tenancy agreements and receipts for the renting of their property for a period up to three (3) years and should not destroy any of these records.

These are vital documentary evidences of a tenancy and the absence of such records can have negative effect on both landlord and tenant, particularly in the event of disputes that requires the intervention of a third party including the court.

Any person who fail to keep such records is liable for legal action by the Commission.

3.Unfair Conduct against tenants

Section 76 of CCA2010 prohibits any landlord from engaging in conducts against a tenant that would be deemed unfair or unreasonable under normal standard. 

Also Section 90 restricts landlords or their agents to engage in the conduct of harassments or coercion against tenants during the tenancy.

Some examples of these conducts would be:

•Disconnecting power and water supply to the tenants flat without any reasonable cause;

•Imposing additional clauses to the tenancy agreement without the consent of the tenant;

•Demanding another rent payment when the period of the current has not been exhausted.

•Holding a tenant’s bond without any valid cause or by making baseless damage claims;

•Evicting a tenant without proper notice or court order or through a defective notice or verbal threat or physical intimidation

Some of the major offences in the 2016/2017 financial year

1. Illegal Rent Increase

There were twenty two (22) cases of illegal increases of rent between 1st August, 2016 and January, 2017 recorded from the three divisional offices of the Commission in Fiji.

2. Fail to keep proper records of letting agreements and receipts

One hundred and nine (109) of cases of landlords failing to keep records of tenancy agreements and receipts as required under Section 56 of CCA2010 recorded from the three divisional offices of the Commission in Fiji.

3. Unfair evictions

Unfair evictions has dropped to twelve (12) in the first half of the 2016/2017 financial year as compared to the same period in previous years.

4. Bond Refund

A total of eighteen (18) cases of unfair bond refund were captured in the first half of the new financial year.

Next Week:  ‘No Drop Policy’ on Illegal rent increase

ν This is a weekly column compiled by the Fiji Commerce Commission in the hopes of raising awareness on what the FCC does so people  can benefit from developing a better undestanding. For more information/details on Fiji Commerce Commission and Commerce Commission Decree 2010, visit our website on http://www.commcomm.gov.fj or join us on our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/commcomm.gov.fj




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