Several amendments are being proposed to the Rent Restriction Act, which are expected to address current challenges in the rental industry and make it more equitable for landlords and tenants.
According to Senior Director in the Housing Policy, Research and Monitoring Branch of the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Paula Parkes, the challenges which exist in the industry relate mostly to standardisation of security deposits, timely recovery of possessions and breach of tenant and landlord covenants.
Addressing a JIS Think Tank on Friday, May 18, she said among the changes being proposed is an amendment to the name of the Act to ‘The Rent Act’. She said the word ‘restriction’ will be removed to make it clear that the Act covers the entirety of the rental industry.
The matter of security deposits, which are not mentioned in the original 1944 Act, will also be included in the amended Act.
“The provisions will include standardisation of the number of months of deposits that renters are entitled to charge. Currently, we are recommending one month for unfurnished premises and two months for furnished. Additionally, the provisions have guidelines for the use and refund to tenants,” Ms. Parkes clarified.
Another provision being proposed relate to the recovery of possessions, which will now fall under the ambit of the Rent Assessment Board. The Board’s powers will be expanded to manage such cases, thereby reducing case load in courts and bring about timely solutions to matters.
Minimum standards for rental premises; permissible rent; and fines and penalties will also be proposed for inclusion in the legislation.
The public is being invited to provide feedback on the proposed amendments, during a series of consultations being conducted at locations island wide from May 15 to June 20.
The current Rent Restriction Act applies to all building land unless such land is leased for a term of 25 years or more and to all dwelling houses except those which are let for boarding, let for housing pursuant to the provisions of the Housing Act or declared exempt by the Minister of Housing pursuant to section 8 of the Act.
The Act has been amended 11 times since it was enacted, the last being in 1983.