The Consumer Council of Fiji overwhelmingly welcomes the reduction of the stamp duty on residential leases as per the Stamp Duties (Amendment) Decree 2014, which came into force on 30th August 2014.
Residential tenants will now be required to pay only $10 for stamp duty per tenancy agreement if their monthly rental is below $700. Those who pay rent ranging from $700 to $1,500 will be required to pay $20 as stamp duty. Residential tenants having rental rate above $1,500 will be required to pay $500 for stamp duty.
This announcement comes as a big relief to the many consumers who fall in the category of $700 and below.
The Council applauds Fiji Revenue & Customs Authority’s (FRCA) efforts in reducing the stamp duty rates on residential leases and for commercial leases with annual gross turnover ranging from less than $500,000 to $1.5 million and above. Those commercial businesses with annual gross turnover of less than $500,000 will not be required to pay any stamp duty on their leases or agreements for lease.
Affordable housing remains a crucial issue for many Fijians who are often caught in landlord-tenancy bungle, having to move out of one rented premises to another. The former stamp duty rate of $500 as stipulated in the Stamp Duties (Amendment) Decree 2013 on residential tenancy was exorbitant and unreasonable.
Residential tenants can now better protect themselves by securing tenancy agreements with their landlords before moving into flats/house. This is a positive move given the lack of appropriate consumer protection laws to protect the interests of tenants in Fiji.
Ms Premila Kumar