Low-cost house tenants seek extension on rent

KUALA LUMPUR: A group representing tenants, known as Rent Freeze Committee, are asking private landlords to exempt their tenants from paying rent for a period of one year.

They have also asked the government to re-introduce the Rent Control Act to help poor tenants.

Tenants of low-cost housing schemes are also urging the government to extend the moratorium on rent until March next year.

The moratorium on rent for government low-cost homes and PPR housing projects is due to end in September.

In the interim, the committee said banks could introduce a moratorium on interests for such landlords.

Committee spokesman Azura Nasron said at a press conference yesterday that these initiatives must be implemented quickly because steps have already been taken by some landlords to evict their tenants for failure to pay their monthly rent.

Azura said the freeze on rent should be extended across the country.

She said while dealing with two cases, she has already been receiving calls for help from people being served with eviction notices on a daily basis.

Azura said she had written to the government three weeks ago but has yet to receive a response.

The committee also wants a short-term policy to temporarily over-rule all tenancy agreements for “a relevant period”.

“People earning less than RM4,000 a month should be granted an exemption from rent payments,” she said.

“At the same time, landlords should be barred from evicting their tenants who cannot afford to pay the rent.”

Another representative of the committee, Sharan Raj, said the government could help those in the B40 group by bringing back the Rent Control Act. The Act was first introduced in 1966 but was repealed in 1997.

He said more low-cost housing schemes should also be constructed to meet the demand for homes with the increasing population.

Raj said the Housing and Finance ministries’ officials should meet with the affected community to hear their grievances.