The Minister for Industry, Trade and Tourism Hon. Faiyaz Siddiq Koya has extended the freeze on residential rents for another year, until December 31, 2015, based on the advice received from the Fiji Commerce Commission.
“The current freeze was due to come to an end on 31 December 2014, however, keeping in mind the need to maintain a certain level of control to ensure fair treatment of tenants, the Ministry has decided to extend the Commerce (Rent Increase Restriction and Ground Rent) Order for another year,” Minister Koya said.
In accordance with the Order, a person must not raise the rent for residential tenancies above the level that was applicable to the same premises as at 31 December 2014.
The Minister explained that, traditionally, rent control was imposed to counter inflation and regularise an imperfect housing market, however, now it also serves the broader purpose of ensuring protection for all Fijian consumers.
“Amongst other initiatives announced in the 2015 Budget, by further extending the rent freeze, the Fijian Government will ensure that it is fulfilling its obligation of providing access to adequate housing at reasonable cost,” the Minister said.
“However, the Government also has an obligation to ensure that both the landlord and tenant are protected.
“Therefore, next year, the Ministry, the Fiji Commerce Commission and the Solicitor General’s Office will work towards developing a Residential Tenancy Law that will provide appropriate level of protection to tenants and also ensure that the interests of landlords are protected.”
He also said the legislation will be aimed at protecting the rights of both the landlord and tenant, as well as ensuring fair treatment and fair play in the market.
In the meantime, landlords are encouraged to continue to register with the Fiji Commerce Commission and to maintain proper records, as per the requirements of the Commission. These records and documents include Letting Agreements and receipts.