Security deposit in Jamaica IS LEGAL

May 15th, 2018 by LegalWiz | Print Security deposit in Jamaica IS LEGAL



QUESTION: Dear Legal Wiz,
Every time I try to get an apartment, the owner is asking me for a security deeposit. Is this something new.
Sue

RESPONSE: Dear Sue,
So to respond to you, reference to an interview the chairman of the Rent assessment Board in 2016 will be posted.
Follow the link to full Article on Security Deposit in Jamaica

Chairman of the Rent Assessment Board, Janice Nelson Brown has stated that charging a security deposit before renting a property is indeed legal.

In a 2016 interview with a local mediahouse, the chairman outlines that once the deposit is in keeping with section 24 of the Rent Restriction Act, it is lawful.

Section 24, subsection 1 of the Rent Restriction Act of Jamaica states that a person shall not… require the payment of any fine, premium, or other like sum, or the giving of any consideration in addition to the rent. It further outlined that where any such payment or consideration shall be paid after the commencement of this Act, the amount or value thereof shall be recoverable by the person by whom it was made or given or his personal representatives.

Breaking it down, Brown explains that according to Section 24 landlords/ladies are not to charge such security deposit sums in excess of or in addition to the rent. Any added sums to the agreed rental amount is therefore regarded as a premium or a fine.

She further stated to the mediahouse that “the courts have interpreted that section to be that a security deposit can be charged once it is returnable based on the happening of certain events. So it’s not a situation where the rent is $10 and the security deposit is $10 and you can’t get back the security deposit. Once the deposit is returnable in certain circumstances, usually if there is no damage to the property, if there is no outstanding utilities or if there is no breach of the rental agreement then the deposit is returnable and in those circumstances it is entirely legal.”

It is interesting to note that although security deposit is legal, the popular act of renting premises without first being registered as a landlord is in fact illegal.

USEFUL INFORMATION:

You may visit the Rent Assessment Board while in Jamaica at The Towers, 25 Dominica Dr Kingston 5, Jamaica West Indies. OR Call them at 876-906-1765, 876-926-1590

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EDITOR’S NOTES:
The above does not constitute legal advice. Inhouse senior journalists research and discuss with specialists eg attorneys-at-law, as necessary before posting responses. Names are changed at times by request.

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