SUNBIZ

FCCC Urges Landlords To Show Compassion

Mr Abraham reminds landlords that they must not use this time to evict tenants unlawfully and that the law is very clear on this matter - a court order is always needed to evict tenants.
18 May 2021 16:33
FCCC Urges Landlords To Show Compassion

The Fijian Competition and Consumer Commission (FCCC) has urged landlords to show compassion during these difficult times, and refrain from unconscionable conduct such as evicting their tenants while they are in a vulnerable position.

This comes after FCCC received several complaints regarding residential, micro-business, and small business tenancy issues from both tenants, as well as landlords.

FCCC CEO, Joel Abraham, said that the COVID-19 pandemic has severely impacted and disrupted the lives of thousands of Fijians in many ways, notable among them, the increase in the number of tenancy related complaints.

“We have received quite a few complaints with regard to landlord and tenant issues – some legitimate and some not. While we are able to step in and help, we encourage the two parties to try and resolve the matter amongst themselves first,” said Mr Abraham.

“Issues regarding rent payment or eviction can easily be solved through a private contract between landlords and tenants. I encourage both parties to sit down and negotiate agreeable terms which would benefit everyone. Any resolutions made, would of course need to becaptured in writing to avoid any problems in the future.”

Mr Abraham reminds landlords that they must not use this time to evict tenants unlawfully and that the law is very clear on this matter – a court order is always needed to evict tenants.

“Various cases have been reported where landlords are verbally putting undue pressure on tenants by asking them to move out or find alternative accommodation without giving proper notices. This is wrong and eviction is only legal if proper notice is provided by the High Court.”

“The nation, as a whole, is going through difficult times and many Fijians have not been spared from the devastation that COVID-19 has caused. Taking this into account, I urge landlords to show solidarity towards their tenants and instead of removing them, support them during these hard times.”

If you are a tenant and you are facing issues with regard to your tenancy, the steps that you can follow are:

  • Writing to your landlord, stating the nature of assistance being sought and retaining a copy of the letter.
  • If your landlord is able to agree on the terms proposed, ensure that you honour the terms of the variation of the agreement.
  • If your landlord does not agree, you can contact FCCC to assist in the mediation process.
  • If you have been served with an eviction notice, a distress order or a court eviction order, you can contact FCCC, where we will examine your case and assist you under the relevant laws that are available.

If you are a landlord and you are facing issues with regard to your tenancy, the steps that you can follow are:

  • Assisting your tenant on humanitarian grounds if you receive a letter from your tenant seeking deferment or rent reduction.
  • Contacting FCCC if you feel your tenant has the ability to pay but is trying to mislead you.


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