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The Importance Of Tenancy Agreements And Receipts

Issues pertaining to landlords and tenants are a concern for the Fijian Competition and Consumer Commission (FCCC) as high number of cases have been recorded over the years. In recent
01 Sep 2018 10:00
The Importance Of Tenancy Agreements And Receipts

Issues pertaining to landlords and tenants are a concern for the Fijian Competition and Consumer Commission (FCCC) as high number of cases have been recorded over the years.

In recent times, FCCC has been inundated with complaints from tenants against landlords for failing to keep proper records of letting agreements and receipts.

Through analysis, FCCC has noted that number of complaints came to light after number of months or in some cases after years of the relationship being in existence.

 

Sour relationship

In other words, the matter only gets reported when the relationship between the landlord and tenant turns sour.

Furthermore, Section 56(3) provides that no trader, without the consent of FCCC, should destroy any documents relating wholly or in part to the business until a period of seven (7) years has elapsed.

 

Rent freeze

In addition, pursuant to paragraph three of the Fijian Competition and Consumer Commission rent increase restriction on residential ground rent Order 2017 provides that landlords are to keep records of tenancy agreements and receipts to the satisfaction of the commission.

Failure to keep proper record will constitute to an offence.

As such, landlords should keep copies of every tenancy agreements and receipts for a period up to seven years.

Tenants should also act responsibly and ask for a tenancy agreement prior to moving into the rental property.

Reasons behind not Having Tenancy agreement and Receipts.

It has been noted that some landlords tend to evade keeping records for a number of reasons

 

They include:

To conceal the relationship from authorities such as the Fiji Revenue and Customs Service, I-Taukei Lands Trust Board, municipal councils and Housing Authority of Fiji;

 To conceal the account of money being exchanged in such business relationship(s)

Mutual agreement between the parties

 Informal nature of the discussions made during the negotiation stage

 Hastening to establish the relationship without proper negotiation

 To conceal the true identity of the person(s) involved

Pure laxity against the law

 

Importance of tenancy

agreement and receipts in trade or commerce

It is important to capture the terms and conditions including the implementation by virtue of documents.

This will act as a record of what transpired or is expected for reference by the parties and those connected to them.

For example, a tenant paying rent will only be proven to have done so, once a receipt is produced.

Likewise, a tenant would not be considered a tenant, unless he/she is bound to a tenancy agreement.

 

Captured in writing

The parties to a tenancy must always bear in mind that whatever communication transpired during the negotiation can only be believed or capable to be believed if captured in writing.

All undertakings agreed to at the start is of no value if not properly documented and signed.

Otherwise, it becomes hearsay information that lacks the standard of evidentiary validity.

 

Sticky issues

‘Sticky’ issues such as the state of the property including the bills should be documented to provide proof of the condition that was for future comparison basis.

To ensure transparency of the documentation process, both parties must be provided a copy each to keep, as reference.

Any amendments or deletions made thereafter must be reflected on both copies kept by the respective parties.

Feedback:  maraia.vula@fijisun.com.fj

 

 

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