Minister of Housing, Urban Renewal, Environment and Climate Change, Hon. Pearnel Charles Jr. has commended the Rent Assessment Board (RAB) for 76 years of providing service to tenants and landlords across the island.
“The Rent Assessment Board has been doing a very good job in treating with complaints from landlords and tenants as the department of government with responsibility for overseeing property rental in Jamaica,” he noted.
Minister Charles Jr., who was addressing a recent JIS Think Tank, said that over the years, the RAB, through the Rent Services Unit (RSU), has provided a wealth of information on the rights and responsibilities of landlords and tenants.
He noted that the agency has become “a stalwart institution for the provision of a framework for the business of renting properties”.
He said that as the entity continues to create a viable property rental industry, changes to the legislation that governs its operations are crucial and imminent.
“The Rent Restriction Act was first passed in 1944 and since then there have been 11 amendments to the legislation, the last being done 37 years ago. Without a doubt, an update of the legal framework is needed, as renting is a popular housing solution and income earner for many citizens,” Minister Charles Jr. said.
Director of the Rent Service Unit, Shenese Williams-Headlam, said that the unit intends to increase public awareness activities in keeping with its mandate.
“The unit was created in 2005 to support the services of the RAB so part of our function is to educate landlords and tenants on their rights and responsibilities. In light of the pending amendments to the Rent Restriction Act, we intend to ramp up our online public education activities,” she said.
Mrs. Headlam shared that before the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the unit would host regular sensitisation sessions targeting landlords, tenants, tertiary students, communities and corporate entities.