Wed | May 23, 2018

Landlords encouraged to register with rent board

Published:Friday | May 18, 2018 | 12:00 AM
From left: Rose Bennett-Cooper, chairman, Rent Assessment Board; Authrine Scarlett, senior director, housing management, ministry of economic growth and job creation; and Patricia Ramsaran, legal officer in the ministry, listen to Vincent Haldane, senior director, Land Administration Unit in the ministry. The occasion was the first public consultation on the amendments to the Rent Restriction Act at the Portmore HEART Academy on Tuesday.

Chairman of the Rent Assessment Board Rose Bennett-Cooper is calling on landlords to take advantage of the low registration fee to sign up with the entity in order to benefit from the range of services provided.

She pointed out that legislation being proposed will raise the registration fee from the current $20.

Bennett-Cooper, who was speaking at the first in a series of public consultations on amendments to the Rent Restriction Act at the Portmore HEART Academy in Portsmouth, Portmore, on Tuesday, said that often, when persons come to the board with a situation with tenants that requires intervention, they are not registered.

 

CURRENT FEE

 

"At the moment, the fee is just $20 to register, and the law does require that you register. Now, when you need to get the benefits of the services of the rent unit, one of the questions they're going to ask you is if you have registered. If you haven't, it's not that we are going to refuse to give you the services, but there are benefits to registration," she noted.

Bennett-Cooper said that the $20 fee is based on 1983 legislation. "Within a very short while, we are expecting that there will be significant amendments to the act and that all the fees are going to go up, and what will not change is that you (landlords) are still going to be required to register," she said.

She noted that "with the changes that are coming to the legislation, you're going to find that more of these matters are [going to be] coming before the board, and at that point, [landlords are] going to be forced to register".

"If you do it now, the fee is only $20, so this is the time for you to come in and register with the Rent Assessment Board," she stressed.

The Rent Restriction Act was originally enacted in 1944. It was developed at a time when tenants were being seriously disenfranchised and was geared towards their protection.

The act has since been amended 11 times, and changes are being proposed to address the current challenges facing the rental industry.