PETALING JAYA: Putrajaya has been cautioned against restricting the rights of landlords in a new law which is aimed at preventing racial discrimination in the property market.
The National House Buyers Association (HBA) said the proposed Residential Tenancy Act which the government intends to table in Parliament next year, should not restrict the landlord’s rights to reject a potential tenant or evict an existing one.
“HBA is against racial discrimination but if an owner meets a potential tenant who seems problematic, they should have the right not to let their property,” HBA said in a statement.
“No landlord would want to be faced with the additional expenses of fixing a badly damaged property as the current deposit of two months’ rent and half month utility deposit are inadequate in most cases,” it said.
The association said the relationship between a landlord and tenant should not be violated by terms and conditions set by a third party.
The HBA said housing loans have included terms that the properties cannot be used for illegal or criminal activities, and any damage to the house or any detrimental activity conducted within can have serious repercussions to the owner.
“A landlord that carefully chooses a tenant to ensure the tenant is not a criminal is also abiding by the terms of his housing loan agreement,” it said. Poor tenant choice could also devalue the property, especially for stratified properties.
It also questioned how the ministry will determine whether a potential tenant is rejected based on skin colour. “Is the ministry only to rely on the complaints of the disgruntled rejected potential tenant? Will the minister and those under her charge accompany potential tenants to meet potential landlords to ensure no racial discrimination?”
HBA said the RTA should instead enhance remedies to resolve disputes between landlords and tenants.
It also proposed for the ministry to form a residential tenancy tribunal to settle disputes between landlord and tenant.
HBA said the government should address real housing issues such as expensive properties, especially in urban areas which is due to the cost of construction being levied heavily on house buyers instead of developers.
There are also issues of abandoned projects and unlicensed developers, it said.
“There are 281 private licensed housing developments certified as abandoned projects between 2009 until July 2020. These 281 abandoned projects are equivalent to 73,959 housing units which affect 48,810 house buyers.”