Know Your Rights: Tenants & Landlords

 

Information Provided The Rent Assessment Board

Dear Member of the Public,

Please be reminded that the Rent Board facilitates both Landlords and tenants. When the Board receives a complaint, whether from the landlord or a tenant, no action is taken until both parties have been consulted. Problems involving arrears of rent refund of rent and illegal increases are dealt with by the Tribunal.

Landlords and tenants should not go straight to court with problems. The Tribunal has the same power as the RM Courts.

REGISTRATION OF PROPERTY

Tenants and Landlords do you know your rights? The Rent Restriction Act states that all premises that are rented must be registered with the Rent Board for assessment.

It is not true that houses built after 1980 are exempt from the jurisdiction of the Rent Board. An application may however be made for an exemption. Commercial premises built after 1980 cab be made exempt from the jurisdiction of the Rent Board if owners obtain an Exemption Certificate from the Board.

SUBLETTING

Any sub-tenant to whom the premises or any part thereof have been sub-let, wither with the consent of the Landlord, or in accordance with the express authority conferred by or under the tenancy agreement or lease shall, subject to the provisions of the law, be deemed to become the tenant f the landlord on the same terms as he would have held from the tenant if the tenancy had continued.

INCREASING RENT

Landlords are allowed to increase rent by 7 ½ per cent annually without the permission of the Rent Board. If a landlord wants an increase that is more than 7 ½ per cent, he/she has to go to the Board. The Rent Board is very flexible and will consider the increased cost in the rate of property taxes, improvements to property, among other things. If there is an unreasonable or illegal increase in rent, the tenant is entitled to a refund.

GIVING NOTICE

Quit notices served by landlords or tenants must be for valid reasons. Notice must be given NOT less than 30 clear days of the rent due date. If a landlord gives a tenant notice to quit the premises for arrears in rent and the tenant pays before the expiry date of the notice the notice is no longer valid. If the notice expires and the tenant has not paid and is still on the premises the landlord cannot use any form of harassment to evict the tenant. He has to take the tenant to court for possession. The judge will then give the tenant a time period within which he/she should leave the premises.

Up until two weeks before the expiry date, the tenant may go back to the court for an extension or he/she may go to the Legal Aid Clinic at 131 Tower Street, Kingston for assistance.

Tenants should not wait until the expiry date to apply to the courts for an extension. Once the expiry date has passed the landlord is able to go to the bailiff’s office, pay the necessary fees and have the tenant evicted from the premises.

Landlords and tenants should, however, try to settle disputes in an amicable manner. At the Rent Board you find a team of good listeners. Although it is not possible to please everybody, they do promise to give justice to all.

FOR ANY COMPLAINTS

Whether from a landlord or a tenant no action is taken until both parties have been consulted. Landlords and tenants should not go straight to court with problems. If this is done the court will send them back to the Board.

You may call or visit:
The Rent Assessment Board,
The Towers, 25 Dominica Drive,
Kingston 5
Tel: 926 1590-3 906 1765

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