NATION

Comply! Council Call To Landlords As Rent Freeze Continues

SOURCE: CONSUMER COUNCIL OF FIJI The Consumer Council of Fiji is call­ing on all landlords to ensure that they comply with the extension of the rent freeze which was announced
29 Dec 2018 11:27
Comply! Council Call To Landlords As Rent Freeze Continues

SOURCE: CONSUMER COUNCIL OF FIJI

The Consumer Council of Fiji is call­ing on all landlords to ensure that they comply with the extension of the rent freeze which was announced last week

Under the Fijian Competition and Con­sumer Commission (Rent Increase Restric­tion on Residential and Ground Rent) Order 2018, landlords are not allowed to increase rent for residential tenancy until December 31, 2019.

The Order states that “between the period of 1st January, 2019 and 31st December, 2019, a person must not charge rent in re­spect of the letting or continued letting of any premises under residential tenancy in­cluding ground rentals to which the FCCC Act 2010 applies which exceeds the rent ap­plicable to those premises as at 31st Decem­ber, 2018.”

Any premises rented out for the first time are not subject to the Order, but any in­crease thereafter will be subject to the re­striction.

The Council has received numerous com­plaints over the years about landlords who used various tactics such as renovation to increase rent. Sometimes landlords also use this as an excuse to evict sitting tenants so that rent can be increased for the new in­coming tenants.

The Council is reiterating to landlords that any increase without FCCC’s interven­tion and approval will be deemed illegal. An on spot fine of up to $2000 may also be imposed against those who breach the law.

It is compulsory for all landlords to pro­vide duly executed tenancy agreements and copies of receipts for disputes filed at the FCCC.

The Council is also reminding tenants to act responsibly and read and understand the tenancy agreement before moving into the rental property.

Tenants will be required to pay $10 for stamp duty per tenancy agreement if their monthly rental is below $700. Rent ranging from $700 to $1500 will incur a stamp duty of $20 and rental rate above $1500 has a stamp duty of $500.

In addition to this, the Council is again urging relevant authorities to fast-track the finalization of the Landlord and Ten­ant Act 2017, which is still in its draft stage. Once passed, the proposed Act will be of immense assistance to Fijians as it will pro­vide clear guidelines for many issues faced by tenants and landlords.

Meanwhile, residential tenants are en­couraged to seek advice from the Council or the FCCC on residential rental issues.

They may also call the Council’s toll free helpline 155 to lodge complaints against unscrupulous landlords who fail to comply with the rental freeze order.

The rent freeze order first came into force 11 years ago to counter inflation, and now serves a broader purpose to protect con­sumers, ensuring the affordability of resi­dential rental properties and providing ac­cess to affordable housing as a whole.

Feedback: jyotip@fijisun.com.fj

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