Singh op­ti­mistic of returns from in­vest­ment in Nakasi prop­erty

Per­mit­ted to set a rental price. This is sup­ported un­der the rent freeze

Fiji Sun - - Suncity - SHALVEEN CHAND Edited by Percy Kean

Ahome owner in Nakasi, near Nau­sori is op­ti­mistic of com­plet­ing work on his two flats soon so he can rent it out. Paul Singh has en­dured a lot in finishing the two flats and is look­ing for­ward to earn­ing some money back for the in­vest­ment on his prop­erty.

He said houses in his neigh­bor­hood with sim­i­lar fa­cil­i­ties were be­ing rented out for be­tween $600 to $800.

“It is a two-bed­room flat, liv­ing room, kitchen and hot wa­ter fa­cil­i­ties. It has bur­glar bars and grills

and the Nakasi shop­ping malls are just a walk away,” he said.

“I think this is the mar­ket price. Houses in my area are be­ing rented for this amount so I think there are peo­ple out there who can af­ford it. I am not forc­ing any­one to stay here.”

As a land­lord plan­ning to rent his place for the first time, Mr Singh is per­mit­ted to set a rental price. This is sup­ported un­der the rent freeze.

Un­der the rent freeze, prop­erty own­ers who have let out their premises for res­i­den­tial ten­ancy can­not in­crease rent un­til De­cem­ber 31, 2019.

The Fi­jian Com­pe­ti­tion and Con­sumer Com­mis­sion (Rent In­crease Re­stric­tion on Res­i­den­tial and Ground Rent Or­der 2017), pro­vides for that.

Be­tween the pe­riod of Jan­uary 1, 2018 and De­cem­ber 31, 2019, a per­son must not charge rent in re­spect of the let­ting or con­tin­ued let­ting of any premises un­der res­i­den­tial ten­ancy in­clud­ing ground rentals to which the Act ap­plies which ex­ceeds the rent ap­pli­ca­ble to those premises as at De­cem­ber 31, 2018. This same rent freeze was in place in 2018 how­ever, ac­cord­ing to com­plaints re­ceived by the Con­sumer Coun­cil of Fiji, the il­le­gal prac­tice of in­creas­ing rent was still prac­ticed by un­scrupu­lous land­lords. Com­plaints re­lat­ing to Land­lord and Ten­ancy ranked num­ber one on the coun­cil’s list.

A to­tal of 338 com­plaints from Jan­uary this year to De­cem­ber 11 in 2018 worth $99,100.44, ac­cord­ing to a state­ment.

For own­ers in­tend­ing to in­crease rent af­ter ren­o­va­tion, con­sul­ta­tion has to be done with FCCC.

The FCCC has sum­moned 20 home own­ers be­fore the courts for il­le­gal rent hikes. One of the most com­mon com­plaints re­ceived by the Con­sumer Coun­cil is the is­suance of evic­tion no­tice by home own­ers in the pre­tence of ren­o­va­tion; how­ever it has been found that some own­ers tend to ask for higher rent with the new ten­ant.

Mar­ket dic­tates

Avi­nesh Karan, a home owner in Nailuva Road said the mar­ket was dic­tat­ing the prices.

“My be­lief is that prop­erty value went up af­ter for­eign buy­ers started of­fer­ing lu­cra­tive amounts to buy homes,” he said.

“So if my neigh­bor sold his house for a mil­lion dol­lars, au­to­mat­i­cally, the value of my prop­erty goes up. “But as home own­ers, we have to be rea­son­able. I be­lieve in giv­ing the flat for what it is worth and not ask for an in­flated price un­fit­ting of the flat or house.”

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