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‘No Drop’ Policy On Illegal Increase

The Commission has been inundated with complaints against landlords and their agents on illegal increases in residential rent since 2010. As such, the Commission has adopted ‘NO DROP’ policy on
13 Mar 2017 10:50
‘No Drop’ Policy On Illegal Increase
Commerce Commission

The Commission has been inundated with complaints against landlords and their agents on illegal increases in residential rent since 2010.

As such, the Commission has adopted ‘NO DROP’ policy on anyone found illegally increasing the rent of a residential premise during the rent freeze period.

A rent is considered illegal when it is increased above the rent applicable on the premises on 2nd March, 2007.

The rent deemed ‘applicable’ if it is being legally charged that is the amount is equivalent to the first rent fixed by the landlord and tenant on the first letting of the property; or the increase has been approved by the Commission after receiving the twelve(12) weeks written notice from the landlord.

If the rent charged is a product of an increase made without the approval of the Commission, the said rent would be deemed an illegal increase and cannot be legally applied.

Any person who causes an illegal increase of rent for a given property during the freeze period would be liable for legal action.

 

  1. Restriction to residential rent Increases

Paragraph 2 of the Commerce Commission (Rent Increase Restriction on Residential and Ground Rent) Order, 2016 (published as Legal Notice 117 of 2016) restricts any person from charge a rent on a premises under any tenancy that exceeds the rent applicable on that premises as at 2nd March, 2007.

This could also mean a breach of Section 45 of the Commerce Commission Act 2010 (CCA2010). Excluded from this restriction are the rentals of Public Rental Board flats.

 

  1. Restriction on Ground Rent Increases

Paragraph 2 of the Commerce Commission (Rent Increase Restriction on Residential and Ground Rent) Order, 2016 (published as Legal Notice 117 of 2016) restricts any person from charge a rent on a piece of land under any tenancy that exceeds the rent applicable on that parcel of land as at 2nd March, 2007.

This could also mean a breach of Section 45 of the Commerce Commission Act 2010 (CCA2010). Excluded from this restriction are the rentals of ITLTB land, Rotuma Council lands and Banaban lands.

 

  1. Unfair tactics of increasing rent

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

 

This includes the following:

  • Evicting tenants with the reason for renovation or refurbishments, only to let the same out to another tenant at an increased rent;
  • Charging late payment fees on tenants without proper agreements;
  • Increasing the number of occupants per flat and charge the same rate per occupant as previously done to a lesser number of occupants and in the process increased the total rental for the whole flat;
  • Increasing rent to every new tenant that comes in to rent a given flat;

 

Any person (or class of persons) found engaging in any of the abovementioned conducts will be severely dealt with by the Commission under the powers prescribed to it by the CCA2010 which may include a maximum ‘spot fine’ of $1,000 to a natural person or $3,000 to a body corporate; or criminal prosecution.

 

Advice to Landlords and tenants

The Commission urges both landlords and tenants to strictly observe the rent freeze currently in force and to be informed of the ‘NO DROP’ policy against anyone found breaching the rent freeze order or aids, abets, conspire or counsels a person to commit the breach.

nThis 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.fjor join us on our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/commcomm.gov.fj



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