SUVA, Dec. 31 (Xinhua) -- The freeze on residential and ground rents has been extended to the end of 2020, said Acting Chief Executive of Fijian Competition and Consumer Commission (FCCC) Senikavika Jiuta on Tuesday.
According to Fiji Broadcasting Corporation (FBC) on Tuesday, this means landlords must not charge extra rent, for letting or continued letting of any premises under residential tenancy including ground rent, in excess of the rental applicable to the same premises in 2019.
Senikavika said any increase in rent from the period March 2, 2007 to Dec. 31, 2020 will be deemed illegal.
Penalties of up to 50,000 Fijian dollars (about 23,000 U.S. dollars) for a natural person, or a custodial sentence of up to 10 years, or both, apply to those who break the rule.
For a corporate body, the fine is up to a maximum of 250,000 Fijian dollars (about 116,000 U.S. dollars).
FCCC said the rent freeze has been extended in an effort to maintain a certain level of control to ensure fair treatment of tenants in Fiji.
For newer properties, the rent applicable for the first letting becomes the base rent and any increase thereafter would be subject to the rent freeze in the period stated above.
To ensure transparency and accountability in the rental business, landlords are required to keep copies of letting agreement and receipts for up to a maximum of seven years.
This is to assist the monitoring of compliance to the rent freeze and other rental matters captured under the FCCC Act 2010.
Failure to issue agreements and receipts is an offence under the FCCC Act 2010 and appropriate actions will be taken against those landlords for breaches.