Respect Your Tenants’ Rights; Landlords Warned

01/04/2021 10:17

The Consumer Council of Fiji is baffled with the continued increase in landlord tenancy complaints with a record number of 2250 complaints worth over $500,000 recorded in the past 6 years.

The Council further discovered that certain residential landlords are consistently flouting the law, violating the rights of their tenants. Some issues plaguing this critical housing sector include verbal and short eviction notices, disconnection of utilities, non-refund of bond, not allowing tenants entry into rental flats, failure to issue receipts and tenancy agreements, not allowing visitors and, verbal abuse.

 Consumer Council of Fiji Chief Executive Ms. Seema Shandil says this is an alarming number of complaints and it is high time now that landlords clean up their act and provide the best services to Fijian tenants - which they are legally obligated to do so. 

 “Despite continuous advocacy and awareness on the responsibilities of residential landlords along with numerous warnings, we have seen a consistent increase in landlord and tenancy issues for the past few years” said Ms Shandil.

 She added the number recorded may not correctly depict the seriousness of the problem.

“We understand that there may be more people encountering landlord and tenancy issues but fail to come forward for fear of being evicted by their landlords, causing them to suffer in silence. This is more concerning because tenants will feel that they have no option but to live under poor conditions and landlords get away with providing shoddy services. This is unacceptable and needs to change.”

 From January to date, the Council has received 120 landlord and tenancy complaints from with a monetary value of close to $40,000.

 Meanwhile, tenants are also advised that they have a responsibility to ensure there is a tenancy agreement in place and that they work within the ambits of this contract. Additionally, when vacating rental flats, they must ensure they leave the tenant premises in the same condition as it was when they started the tenancy period. Tenants are also reminded to pay the rents on time as per the tenancy agreements to avoid any issues.  

 Residential tenants who are facing any issues with their landlords are encouraged to contact CCoF on the National Consumer Helpline number, 155 or lodge a complaint via the Consumer Council of Fiji Mobile App.