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?
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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