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Rent control ‘soon’

rhondathompson, [email protected]

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Government is moving to stop landlords from charging exorbitant rents for houses.Deputy Prime Minister Freundel Stuart made this disclosure in the House of Assembly yesterday.He said Government had done a lot of talking about the rental situation “and the time is fast coming” when legislation will be brought to Parliament.In much the same way that landlords need permission from a magistrate to raise rents above a certain level, home-owners would have to seek approval for certain increases in room/house rents, Stuart explained. A magistrate, a special panel or some “arbiter” will have to decide whether the increase being sought is justified.Stuart told parliamentarians the idea was not to stop landlords from increasing rent, but to ensure that this was not done “whimsically and capriciously”.The issue of increasing rent will have to bear some relation to how much of the rent is being spent on upgrading the property, Stuart explained.He said not all tenants were saints and that some were tardy in paying rents, but “too many landlords” collected rent, smiled all the way to the bank and did nothing to keep the premises in a good state.He noted that because of the housing shortage, landlords found themselves in an enviable position.The demand for housing was so acute that some people would pay any amount for renting a house, he said.Some landlords had taken advantage of the situation by getting a number of families to rent rooms in circumstances where they are “colliding” with each other in sharing toilet and other facilities, Stuart charged.Stuart was speaking on a land acquisition resolution. (TI)