JIS News

Many landlords are unaware that they are required to register their premises with the Rent Assessment Board as provided for under the Rent Restriction Act, according to Director of the Rent Board, Cecile Croll.
Noting that the cost to register premises is a mere $20, Miss Croll told JIS News that few landlords however, chose to register.
The Rent Restriction Act requires that all rented premises in Jamaica be registered with the Rent Assessment Board for the purpose of assessment and regulations.
She noted that it is untrue that units built after 1980 are outside of the jurisdiction of the Rent Board but that commercial premises built after this time can in fact apply for and receive exemptions from the Board, which will grant them a Certificate of Exemption. However, only the Minister can authorize exemptions under the Act for residential premises.
Miss Croll said that although there is a perception by some landlords that the Rent Assessment Board always takes the tenants’ side, the Board actually mediates between both parties. She said that 95 per cent of cases that come before the Board, are settled satisfactorily and landlords accept its rulings.
“We have very few cases outstanding, and most of them have to do with security deposits,” she added.
Section 24 (1) of the Rent Restrictions Act prohibits landlords from demanding security deposits. However, this practice is widespread and the recommendation is that this be allowed under the revised ‘Rent Act’ which has been in the drafting stage for some time.
Miss Croll said that when the Rent Assessment Board mediates in cases, tenants are apprised of their responsibilities and landlords are asked not to resort to giving the tenant notice simply because he or she sought mediation from the Board. This approach, she noted usually works.
“Most persons, landlords and tenants alike, are not aware of what they should do under the Act, but comply when this is brought to their attention by the Rent Assessment Board,” Miss Croll said.

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