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Trinidad and Tobago - Renting Property
Those who are renting a furnished house and paying a monthly rent of less than $1000 or an unfurnished property at less than $1500 a month will find that their home is subject to a rent restriction. This means that any rent adjustments have to be approved by the Rent Assessment Board, and both the landlord and the tenant have the right to request this.
All landlords and tenants, no matter what monthly rent is involved, must register with the Rent Assessment Board. A landlord needs to do this only once, but if a tenant moves to a new property he must register again. Anyone who is unregistered will find that they have no rights under the law.
Deposits and rents have to be paid in advance. The terms for these will vary from property to property and should be specified in the tenancy agreement, although should be clearly explained prior to the contract being signed.
Most tenancy agreements are for a period of one year. If the tenant decides he wishes to stay on in the property he must inform his landlord in writing before his current agreement runs out. If a new contract is not agreed the tenant may be served with a notice to leave the property. In the event of a tenant refusing to leave, the landlord can apply to the courts for an eviction notice. The police will then be able to help the landlord to remove the unwanted tenant.
However, it can take several months for the whole process to be carried out, so some landlords will find it easier to try to negotiate with the tenant first. The legal system in Trinidad and Tobago is slow with respect to tenancy issues, and cases about rent disputes have been known to last for years if the Rent Assessment Board does not reach a solution and the case has to go to court.
Some apartment blocks will have shared services such as cleaners, particularly for communal areas, but this will be specified in the contract. Those who wish to hire domestic staff for cleaning and gardening should have no trouble doing so, although it is advisable to ensure that you obtain references.
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