PETALING JAYA: A real estate company has cautioned the government against interfering with the free market with the proposed Residential Tenancy Act.
Commenting on an announcement that the legislation is being drafted, Henry Butcher CEO Tang Chee Meng said he was especially concerned over the likelihood of infringement on the rights of property owners.
Housing and Local Government Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin told the Dewan Rakyat this week the act was aimed at preventing landlords from raising rents and evicting tenants without good reason and to address racial discrimination issues in the property market.
Tang said there should not be a ceiling on rental rates.
“Until more details are available, we cannot comment in detail on how the government will be using the act to control house prices, but it should not be setting the prices on rentals as there are a lot of factors affecting the pricing.
“The government should not be interfering with market mechanisms except in the case of houses that come under the low cost and affordable categories,” he said.
He said he would also disagree if the government intended to prohibit landlords from setting out criteria on the type of tenants they would accept.
“If laws are put in place to control rentals and restrict the rights of landlords to choose their tenants, then it will have a negative impact on investors’ perception of the attractiveness of the Malaysian property market.”
Tang also said controls on rent rates would take away landlords’ incentive to spend money on the maintenance and upgrading of their properties.
“If regulations have to be set on these matters, they have to be fair to landlords and tenants and must be dynamic and comprehensive enough to deal with the wide range of circumstances present.”
Property lawyer Salkukhairi Abd Sukor said he saw no reason for landlords to disagree with the act since it would clarify their rights as property owners.
If the government was intending to set rental rates, he said, it would have to do so according to the location of the properties.