Today’s story about a pensioner faced with a rent increase of about 30.7 per cent is encouraging. It means the Rental Committee often said not to be functioning in this case did.
As explained, a change made to the Civil Code in 2014 even allows the tribunal to make binding decisions regarding the rent amount based on the market value of the property and structure built on it. Many probably were not aware of that.
This time a landlord, reasoning that the apartment had gone up in value, approached the committee after the tenant of 15 years refused to pay the additional US $200 per month. However, it had been substantially damaged by Hurricane Irma in September 2017 and was not repaired until late last year, when notice was given of the increase. All this time the full rent of $650 continued to be paid.
Attorney Cor Merx, who provided clarity on the matter, said more people should find out about and pursue their rights. There is at least some protection for both tenants and landlords against unfair practices when it comes to the rental market for housing up to a certain price-range. Realise that the committee’s rulings could turn out in either party’s favour.
On another note, 80 contractor employees working at Global Terminal Investment Statia getting laid off (see Tuesday paper) is a big blow especially for such a small island with limited economic activity. While several of them came from elsewhere and may leave, their income too will be missed in terms of consumption, accommodations, taxes, etc.
With the regional oil sector being what it is these days, advice of DP-spokesman Koos Sneek to urgently further develop heritage tourism is well-taken. Both local and national authorities need to give that sector top priority.