Landlords should be registered before renting property, Rent Board cautions

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Landlords should be registered before renting property, Rent Board cautions

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

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KINGSTON, Jamaica— Director of the Rent Assessment Board, Shenese Headlam, is encouraging landlords and tenants to exercise diligence when negotiating rental arrangements.

“Tenants and landlords should… ensure that a written agreement is [drafted] because sometimes things that were not initially agreed on are brought into play. Both persons should understand what the contract is saying and a formal agreement made before the tenancy starts,” she said.

“Tenants should also find out if the landlord is registered with the Rent Assessment Board, because the 1983 Rent Act stipulates that all landlords should be registered,” she emphasised.

Landlords not registered are deemed in breach of the law, and risk being convicted by a parish court judge and fined.

Headlam noted that it is quite common for people urgently seeking to enter into rental arrangements to overlook the importance of investigating the potential options that are available.

She recounted an incident where a client who was robbed at his rental home later discovered that the previous tenant had a similar experience at the same premises.

Headlam said that arrangements for the rent payment cycle should also be agreed on by both parties “because under the Rent Restriction Act, landlords are not obligated to provide a grace period for [payments]”.

The Rent Assessment Board facilitates both landlords and tenants.

When it receives a complaint from a landlord or a tenant, no action is taken until both parties have been consulted.

The Board's Tribunal, which has similar powers to that of a Parish (Resident Magistrate's) Court, adjudicates over issues pertaining to arrears and refund of rent, and illegal increases, and conducts hearings bimonthly.

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