A rental freeze barring landlords from increasing residential and ground rent has been extended.
Cited as the Fijian Competition and Consumer Commission’s Rent Increase Restriction on Residential and Ground Rent Order 2017, its extension came into force on January 1.
“Between the period of 1 January 2018 and 31 December 2018, a person must not charge rent in respect of the letting or continued letting of any premises under residential tenancy including ground rentals to which the Act applies which exceeds the rent applicable to those premises as at 31 December 2017,” a noted a statement from Industry and Trade Minister, Faiyaz Siddiq Koya.
“Any person or class of persons (including the State) must keep to the satisfaction of the Fijian Competition and Consumer Commission such letting agreements and receipts as are customary and proper in respect of the letting or continued letting of any premises under residential tenancy, including ground rentals to which the Act applies.”
The rent freeze was initially incepted on 2 March, 2007 and has been continually extended over the past decade, so hence, the rental charge of a property on 2 March 2007 is the base rent that should still be imposed on tenants. Exceptions for raising rental charge are usually for properties that undergo renovations, with landlords needing the permission of the Fijian Competition and Consumer Commission (formerly the Fiji Commerce Commission).
For new properties, the rent applied to its initial letting becomes the base rent and cannot be increased. The Minister has previously noted that traditionally, the objective of imposing rent control was to counter inflation, and now serves broader functions such as consumer protection and ensuring the affordability of residential rental properties, alongside a Government mandate of providing access to affordable housing.
Since January 2016, it has become mandatory for landlords to issue letting agreements and receipts for tenants.