Jamaica News: The Rent Assessment Unit reports that it successfully addressed 335 cases from January 2017 to May 2019.
“Matters brought before the Rent Assessment Board included tenants suing landlords for security deposits and landlords suing tenants for arrears owed,” Executive Director of the Rent Assessment Unit, Shenese Headlam, told JIS News.
Mrs. Headlam explained that the Rent Assessment Board is a quasi-judicial body with similar judicial power as the Parish Court. Hearings are held twice per month and a new Board is appointed by the Government every three years.
“Matters are heard by the Board Chairman, who is an attorney-at-law, and his or her ruling is treated as that of a Parish Court Judge. After the hearing is completed, we lodge the Order to the courts for it to be enforced. Every Order which is lodged with the Clerk of Courts is treated as if it were an Order made by the Resident Magistrate’s Court for the payment of money,” she noted.
Meanwhile, Mrs. Headlam said that for the January 2017 to May 2019 period, 19,458 complaints were received and addressed by the Rent Assessment Unit, which acts as the Secretariat for the Board.
“We received complaints and queries from both landlords and tenants. Complaints ranged from illegal increases in rent, arrears owed, withheld security deposits, notices to quit and harassment,” she pointed out.
The Board protects the interests of both tenant and landlord, so when a complaint is made, no action is taken until both parties have been consulted.
“We just want to encourage persons to utilise the service of the Board, because this not only helps with the court backlog but it ensures matters are settled legally between tenants and landlords,” Mrs. Headlam said.
The Rent Assessment Unit is a subdivision of the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, with its office at 25 Dominica Drive, Kingston 5.
Source: JIS News