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[Blog] Amendments to the Landlord and Tenant Act: open letter to the Minister of Housing and Minister of Finance by a citizen

Honourable Steven Obeegadoo, Minister of Housing and Land Use, Honourable Dr Renganaden Padayachy, Minister of Finance

In an open letter to the Minister of Housing and Land Use and to the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, a citizen, who also introduced himself as part of the "small and medium category properties owners" is seeking urgent measures following the amendments made to the Landlord and Tenant Act 2020. He is appealing to "restore an equitable balance of hardship to our legitimate rights as property owners/property investors in the present situation".

We are publishing the letter in its entirety below:

Open letter:-

To The Honourable Minister of Housing and Land Use. 

To The Honourable Minister of Finance and Economic Development.                                       

The financial distress  imposed on us, the small and medium category properties owners and contributors to the MRA by the hasty irrational amendments to the Landlord and Tenant Act 2020 disregarded our financial obligations to pay taxes, overhead costs, monthly repayment of loans contracted with commercial banks and other obligations such as  tertiary studies of a dependent etc. etc. It has unjustly deprived many of us of our only means of livelihood since March until August 2020 and an unforeseeable future in the aftermath. May I draw the Hon. Ministers attention to the fact that among us many have been unfairly categorized as not eligible to apply with commercial banks for a reschedulement of our loans contracted prior to the amendment to the Landlord and Tenant Act 2020. 

The government has not deemed necessary to provide us with any consequential hardship relief such as local authority taxes payment by installments facilities etc. This dramatic impetuous "fait accompli" prompted me as a citizen and stakeholder exercising his rights of expression to address this open letter to the Hon. Minister of Housing and Land use and the Hon Minister of Finance and Economic Development and seek urgent redress measures to this blunder by restoring an equitable balance of hardship to our legitimate rights as property owners/ property investors in the present situation.

May I humbly draw the attention of the Hon. Ministers to the principle that any enactment to the Landlord and Tenant Act should not deviate from the principles of good logic and equity of hardship. Furthermore, I verily believe that the substitution  to agreed terms and conditions contracted in legal documents  between landlord and tenant and the absence of any provision addressing third parties contracted liabilities by the owners  as directed without  prior consultation and consensus may not only constitute a dangerous encroachment  to properties ownership rights and mortgaged  properties but also a serious threat to present and future investments  in immoveable properties enterprise  to which the near future shall give answer to them and bear witness to its possible legal consequences.

The above may have incomprehensibly escaped the Hon. Ministers attention through possible oversight during confinement curfew slowdown.

Legitimate request to the Hon. Ministers:-

1. Are the Hon. Ministers willing  to consider restoring rightfully the eligibility of all those indebted property owners  left incapacitated and handicapped as to their present financial commitments  post amendment to the Landlord and Tenant Act 2020 to apply for a reschedulement of their loan repayments  with commercial banks over mortgaged properties or  the government shall propose an alternative loan remedy to our survival ?   

2. Does the present limitation to eligibility criteria not constitute a blunder regarding our rights to renegotiate under " force majeure " more flexible terms to repay back monthly loan taken over  mortgaged properties  prior to the aforesaid amendment to Landlord and Tenant Act? Is it not legitimate for us to seek urgent reparative measures from the government to this financial urgency and our means of financial survival?

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