JIS News

Water and Housing State Minister, Harry Douglas, has announced the appointment of a new board, with island wide scope, to hear rent disputes now being handed by the Corporate Area Rent Assessment Board and Resident Magistrate Courts.
Mr. Douglas, who was making his contribution to the 2005/06 Sectoral Debate in Gordon House on July 20, explained that since the closure of the regional offices of the Rent Assessment Board, all rural cases were being handled by the Corporate Area body or Resident Magistrate Courts, resulting in a spiraling backlog of cases.
To address the situation a board with members drawn from various parishes has been appointed to provide island wide coverage. It will hold periodic sittings in six divisions namely: Kingston, St. Andrew and St. Thomas; St. Catherine, Clarendon and Manchester; St. Elizabeth and Westmoreland; Hanover, St. James and Trelawny; St. Ann, St. Mary and Portland, to prevent persons residing in rural areas having to travel to Kingston.
Mr. Douglas informed that steps were now being made to identify premises from which the board would operate. He said that once the arrangements were finalized, they would be made public.
Meanwhile, the State Minister informed that the Public Sector Reform Unit of the Cabinet Office had been entrusted with the responsibility for restructuring the Board’s administrative arm with the changes to be implemented shortly.
According to the 2002 Jamaica Survey of Living Conditions, approximately 17 per cent of the Jamaicans live in rented accommodations with 41 per cent of Kingston’s population occupying rented premises.
The Rent Assessment Board was established in 1944 to address problems being experienced by landlords and tenants equitably. It exists to grant rent increases above the 7