'Ask Legal Neil' - How do I find out if a property is rent-controlled?We have the third in our series of questions for 'Ask Legal Neil'. Neil this month discusses rent control here in Bermuda.
Q: How do I find out if a property is rent-controlled?
Rent control essentially refers to laws mandating the maximum rent that landlords may charge tenants.
Often buyers and residents – particularly tenants - are not always clear about rent control here in Bermuda.
Rent-controlled property in Bermuda applies to residential tenancies of dwellings with an annual rental value (“ARV”) threshold of $27,000 or less.
You can find the ARV of a property at the Land Valuation Department’s website at www.landvaluation.bm.
Other points to consider:
• Contact the Rent Commissioner’s office (www.gov.bm) to find out if a controlled rent has ever been set for a property – personnel there are very approachable.
• If the property has never been let before, the first rental is not subject to Rent control. Subsequent lets should not be at a rental exceeding that of the first let unless approved by the Rent Commissioner.
• If purchasing a home with a rental unit, get copies of previous lease agreements to find out whether the rent charged was in compliance; non-compliance can be expensive for the owner and possibly those who buy the property from the owner.
• Persons looking to purchase a home can deal with potential liabilities by way of a property price reduction.
Neil Molyneux is a member of the Property Practice Group at Appleby (Bermuda) Limited.
The above content should not be used as a substitute for professional legal advice. Before proceeding with any matters discussed here, persons are advised to consult with a lawyer.
If you have any questions you would like to ask Neil - on any and all legal matters regarding Bermuda property, please direct your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org