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JIS News

Budgetary allocation for the Rent Assessment Board has been doubled for the 2008/09 financial year when compared to 2007/08, according to the Estimates of Expenditure, now before the House.
The allocation this year amounts to $13.656 million, up from $6.771 million last year. This money is to carry out the Board’s activities in Kingston and St. Andrew.
The Rent Assessment Board is mandated with the administration of the Rent Restriction Act (Act 55 of 1968) and the Local Improvement (Communities Amenities) Act. The Rent Restriction Act, provides for five regional boards to oversee and monitor the rental of property, to ensure that rents charged by landlords are fair and reasonable. The Board can settle disputes and acts as a mediator between landlords and tenants. The Appeal Court deals with all appeals.
Many landlords and tenants who are having problems, as a result of their relationship with each other, go directly to the Courts, according to Director of the Rent Board, Cecile Croll.
She pointed out that a number of aggrieved persons visit the New Kingston Head Office of the Board on a daily basis, while over 400 telephone calls are received monthly.
“We are still in the process of amending the Rent Restrictions Act, but in the meantime, we are still listening to people’s complaints. The only things we don’t do in rent related issues, are recovery and possession of properties,” Miss Croll told JIS News.
“The Board has a three-member panel which adjudicates cases. Any decision that the Board makes can be lodged with the Resident Magistrate, while appeals go to the Court of Appeal. We adjudicate for both landlords and tenants as we administer the Rent Act. It is not skewed to one or the other,” she emphasized.