Minister of Housing, Urban Renewal, Environment and Climate Change, Hon. Pearnel Charles Jr., says the proposed amendments to the Rent Restriction Act will provide opportunity for more persons to get into the real estate industry.
“The amendments could very well see a positive impact where persons will now see this as an industry that they can get more involved in, with more developments, more landlords and more persons having access to better places to rent,” he said.
Minister Charles Jr. was speaking at the Realtors Association of Jamaica’s Annual General Meeting on Wednesday (December 9) at Jamaica College in St. Andrew.
The Rent Restriction Act, enacted in 1944, is being amended to strengthen the outdated provisions and to introduce new measures to better manage the relationship between landlords and tenants. It was last amended 37 years ago.
“We… want to create a better and a more judicious balance between the landlord and the tenant,” Minister Charles Jr. noted.
He said that the relevant stakeholders have been meeting since September 3 to refine and fine-tune the amendments, and a draft should be before Cabinet within the next two to three months.
He explained that the amended Act will address issues including security deposit, recovery of possession and notice to quit.
As it stands now, Minister Charles said, a landlord cannot, by law, use his intention to sell a property as a means to serve a tenant with a notice to quit.
The changes being made will give landlords the power to use the intention for sale as a legal method to ask a tenant to leave, but the notice will have to be supported by evidence.
The Minister said that the law will also clearly outline how the security deposit would function between landlords and tenants.
“We have been using security deposit for years, but it is not defined and detailed in our law, and so we want to put it clearly and detailed in our law,” he noted.
He said that the Ministry welcomes recommendations on the issues and invited members of the Realtors Association to get involved.
The Minister further urged the members, to “encourage developers who come to you, persons who come to you to buy, to rent and to sell, to introduce sustainable practices in all that they do, such as rainwater harvesting and other mechanisms”.
“People should be encouraged to spend their money where others are exemplifying the need for that sustainable development,” he added.