CAPTION: Consumer Council of Fiji CEO Premila Kumar. File Photo.
The Consumer Council is advising all tenants to return house keys to their landlords when vacating premises to avoid paying rent after the notice period.
The Council whilst attending to landlord/tenancy complaints has noted that many tenants fail to return the keys because of personal grievances against landlords. Some tenants use this as a tactic to cause further frustrations and inconveniences to the landlord.
The Council has also come across cases where tenants do not return the keys because they doubt whether their landlord will refund the deposit/bond.
What tenants fail to understand is that even though they have vacated the premises but if they are still in possession of keys, after the notice period has ended, they are liable to pay rent. The landlord will charge rent for holding on to the keys. For instance if a tenant vacates a house on the 23rd of June 2013 (the day one month notice period ends) and returns the key on the 2nd of July 2013, he/she is expected to pay rent till 2nd of July.
It is a good practice that the keys should be handed over after joint inspection is carried out by the landlord and the tenant to assess any damage.
In the last six months of this year, the Council has recorded a total of 111 landlord tenancy complaints. Tenants have lodged their complaints against landlords for not issuing receipts upon rent payment, failing to refund deposits/bonds, increasing rent despite residential rental freeze, no provision for tenancy agreement and failing to repair the premises.
Meanwhile, the Council reiterates that the tenants vacating premises must return the keys within the notice period to avoid paying rent unnecessarily.
Chief Executive Officer