Shocked by rises in rent

| 01/03/2019

Is there any government body we can appeal to about these crazy rent increases? I just found out my rent is going up another $200 from the $300 it went up last year! Other people I know have had their rent go up by $700. This is crazy! How is anyone expected to live with these kind of rent increases?

Ask Auntie, CNS Local Life, Caymanian status

Auntie’s answer: Your outrage and questions are perfectly understandable but I do not have the answers you are looking for. An experienced realtor in Cayman confirmed that there is no law on the books that restricts or controls rent increases. The prices that landlords charge are based on supply and demand and not any legislation.

Some may hope limits on rent increases will be addressed by the Residential Tenancies Law, 2009, which was passed 10 years ago, but still awaits commencement by Cabinet.

Ignoring, for the sake of brevity, how ridiculous it is that a decade has passed without that law coming into force, even if it had been enacted, it would not have helped you.

Section 26, which deals with rent increases, sets out – among other things – the amount of notice a landlord must give ahead of a hike (60 days), that this must be done in writing to the tenant, and the rent cannot be raised within a year of the previous adjustment.

However, there is nothing in the law that dictates by how much a landlord can increase the rent.

And while Section 9 deals with the appointment of a Residential Tenancies Commissioner by the governor, the rather broad job description is to “mediate in certain disputes arising under tenancy agreements” without any mention of disagreements over an increase in rent.

The realtor advises renters to try to negotiate potential increases before signing a lease. “It is possible to write into the lease that upon expiration it can be renewed and have a limit or range of increase on the renewal amount specified. This is not required but could be included if both parties agree,” he said. However, he added that this kind of clause is common in commercial leases but not so much for residences.

I know that advice is too late to help in your situation and, to be honest, I don’t see many landlords agreeing to such a stipulation since the law is certainly weighted in their favour when it comes to the amount of rent they can charge. The only limiting factor, if elements such as size, amenities and location are similar, seems to be what the market will bear. And unless supply outstrips demand, the market will favour landlords.

The law mentioned above can be found on the CNS Library

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Comments (42)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    We had a new rental put up on the market a fortnight ago. 10 views in 2 days and an offer above the asking sealed it. So moaning non-payers can jog on in the current market.

  2. Anon says:

    Raising rents wouldn’t be so bad if wages raised alongside inflation so people actually could afford it. Cayman is too expensive. I moved to London and ambrenting a decent 1 bed flat with my partner. If I was in Cayman, my same job I have here would pay nothing and I’d still be living with my parents at 30. Nope, no thank you.

  3. Anonymous says:

    There are plenty of people will to pay market rent. Apartment go as soon as they are placed on the rental market. If you can’t stand the heat, get out of my kitchen.

  4. V says:

    You could move to Cuba and then tell us about how great it is living their after.

  5. Anonymous says:

    What is lovely is owning without a mortgage and renting it out. One can then bump up rents to reflect interest rate increases without have to pay the costs.

    • Anonymous says:

      Take economics 101 course. You won’t get more than current rental market dictates.

      • Anonymous says:

        High smarty pants, as many comments on here have mentioned interest rate increases have increased the market price. So don’t try to be clever when you have so little to work with. I take it economics 102 was beyond you.

    • Anonymous says:

      That must be lovely, yes.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Earn more, move homes or get in a time machine and try to get to one of the communist bloc countries where you can just avoid the market consequences of supply/demand and your relative economic stagnation. Grow a pair and stop being pathetic and self-pitying.

  7. Anonymous says:

    As people below have mentioned, interest rates have gone up considerably in the last few years and insurance premiums are also going up because of increased property values and catastrophic losses in the region back in 2017 (Hurricanes Irma, Maria, etc). Your landlord almost certainly has higher costs and that’s why your rent is going up.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Free market. Vote with your feet.

  9. Successful Herbalist says:

    Doesn’t make sense to rent if you are losing. Alot of people decide to rent and include utilities but regret it after. This is probably the cause of the increases….there would be no other good reason I can fathom for an increase in rent. That being said I would always suggest for landlords to let people pay their own utilities and pay you for your property.

  10. Landlord says:

    I am a landlord who is glad that the Residential Tenancies Law, 2009 not enforced as yet because there is no protection from unscrupulous renters for landlords!

    They can go without paying you for months but I can’t kick them out or change the locks, I have to take them to court to get a judgement against them and if they make an attempt and pay something, not what they owe, the whole process starts over. That is crazy!!

    I try to be fair with tenants. My insurance increased and I only increased the rent by a small amount to offset the cost but some landlords they raise their rents every year for no reason.

    It is bad but like Auntie said, supply and demand, if you don’t want to pay that amount, someone else will.

    • Anonymous says:

      So you do not provide a detailed contract that clearly outlines what you can do in the event of non-payment? Once the contract is broken and clearly states that non-payment results in eviction, who can say any different?

      • Anonymous says:

        Unless your lease/contract is duly registered and duty paid, it is an invalid piece of paper and therefore non-enforceable.
        I was told this years ago but nobody ever says anything about it.

        • Anonymous says:

          Did you read the law on it? It only needs to be registered if the least is 24 months plus. Any lease under 24 months does not need to be registered and acts as a legal contract as do other contracts made between people with a witness signature.

  11. Anonymous says:

    free market…if its too high for you…leave.

  12. Anonymous says:

    This is like a lot of other promised legislation to protect the public – too many people with connections in the LA pulling strings to make sure it never happens.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Supply and demand. Simple like that. The abcense of affordable rental would lead to shortage of service industry workers for they would not be able to save anything which would eliminate the reason for working here.
    As for young caymanian people leaving the nest, you would be better off some other places, unless living with mom and dad.
    This is rather sad. But your leaders have sold your country to the higher bidders, leaving you with nothing. They go from one crazy idea to another, doing absolutely nothing for you. Your parents, who are politically docile, to blame.

  14. Anonymous says:

    I’ve been subject to these hikes over the last few years by my landlord. I’m pretty sure he is plotting another major increase up from the $200.00 last year and the $200.00 the year before. Thankfully I can finally tell him in a few short months to kiss my a$$ as I’m moving in to my own home.

    • Anonymous says:

      Don’t burn bridges, they say. Say thank you for providing a roof over your head for few years. Landlords have at least to break even. It is not always possible without rent increase. As a homeowner you will learn it soon.

      • Anonymous says:

        The difference now, even with interest rate hikes, is that I am paying for my own home and not someone else’s mortgage or just putting my money in their pockets. I’ll feel much better now if I’m asked to pay more. I’ll burn this bridge to the ground. My landlord is a wealthy old man who is just greedy and has no need for the significant hikes every year, so yes, I will be telling him to kiss my ass when the email comes about rent increase at lease renewal.

    • Anonymous says:

      Wait until you have interest rates go up 2% and see if you can argue with the bank about the increase of your mortgage. First property I had here i was paying 9% interest to the bank and we around 6% at the moment, $2400 increase in rent will seem cheap if they keep going up. This is not government housing, people don’t go through this to breakeven.

  15. Anonymous says:

    There’s a temporary apartment inventory shortage (esp SMB corridor), rising mortgage, strata, and insurance costs, and real-world localized inflation is much higher than reported.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Strata fees have gone up everywhere on island because insurance costs have gone up 25 to 35% due to fears of another big hurricane.

    • Anonymous says:

      The increase in insurance is due to property value increasing and insurers looking to recoup their losses from the 2017 hurricanes that hit the Caribbean.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Mortgage interest rates go up, tenants’ rents go up x2. Gotta keep that landlord profit margin.

    • Anonymous says:

      And wages have stayed the same. Probably why I see like 4 people sharing a studio apartment. It’s really criminal how poorly workers are treated here. My Father was able to raise 5 kids and own his own home on his single income as a janitor.

      Also, let this sink in. Car manufacture workers got the equivalent of $55 an hour in today’s money which also included benefits like health and pension. People are worthless in 2019, the robots have taken everyone’s job and now no one is worth more than $10 to $12 an hour if they are lucky.

      • Anonymous says:

        You speak as a victim. Listen to “Rich Dad, Poor Dad: What The Rich Teach Their Kids About Money” audiobook on YouTube. You might learn a thing or two.
        I don’t completely agree with the author’s philosophy, and some things are not applicable to the 21st century, but still, lots of good insights.
        Everyone is entitled by birth to basic healthcare, food and a dwelling. Your rich government must make sure that children, disabled people and elderly are not starving or living on a street. If they don’t do, that while billions go unaccounted or wasted, you have only yourself to blame.

      • Anonymous says:

        Yup. Government have been warned about this pending crisis for more than a decade. It is a simple result of globalization mixed with technology. Many lower skilled jobs ar disappearing, or scare simply worth much less than they were before. Higher skilled jobs are close behind. It makes it critical that our immigration policies cater to this reality, but they don’t, and so our children will be paying the price.

    • Anonymous says:

      Wages don’t go up.

  18. KY_Landlord says:

    May landlords with mortgages would have suffered 3-4 increases in interest in 2018 of 0.25% each. I trust this may have played a part in the problem at hand.

  19. Anonymous says:

    you also have to ask yourself how much have interest rates and strata fees increased over the last two years – if you’re an investor those cost will have to be passed on. Doesn’t make sense to rent out a property for less than it costs you when there is a willing party to take your place and cover costs.

  20. Anonymous says:

    CNS thank you for this but slightly confused.. it’s law but not enforceable?

    My landlord has consistently raised the rent every year without notice.

    This go around I’m certain the same will happen. We offer to renew, they say ok, then when the contract is due for signing I see a figure higher than last year. I only put up with it because my commute to work is 5 minutes.

    Can I slap back and tell them by law they can’t increase rent two consecutive years or is the law not able to be enforced yet?

    Auntie: The law passed but has not been enacted, so it is not enforceable.

    • Anonymous says:

      They said rent increase within a year so a year and one day and then….

  21. Anonymous says:

    Of course, the best way to avoid high rents is to own. The landlord does. Sure, owning takes higher risk and is expensive, which is exactly why landlords charge seemingly high rents. They have a mortgage to pay, property to maintain, and are taking significant financial risk.

    • Anonymous says:

      Chose to ditch renting here in 1991 , then buy a home & self insure . No damage in Ivan , nor in Mitch during 1998. If you are trapped in the condo rental / insurance/ strata fee racket , its just a matter of time now before another bad storm season gives insurers another opportunity to whack policy holders. Many home owners here in Cayman self insure since 2004 , just make sure you are not buying on the ocean and have solid concrete construction and a well built roof .

      • Anonymous says:

        If you have a mortgage, the bank does not allow you to self-insure…