Residential Tenancy Act to be developed within 2 years

: The government will take two years to conduct studies and develop the proposed Residential Tenancy Act, which will cover all landlords, tenants and tenancy agreements nationwide.

National Housing Department senior principal assistant director Noorihan Abd Halim said studies will be conducted this year and based on the outcome, the formulation of the Act will begin next year.

“The timeline is within two years, to develop the Act itself including creating the standard operating procedure and which agencies will be involved; these will all be studied within two years,” she told reporters on the sidelines of the “Constructing and Financing Affordable Housing across Asia” conference yesterday.

She said the Act is important to protect tenants and landlords.

At present, there is no Act to govern the residential rental market and there is no tribunal for tenancy disputes.

She added that the proposed Act will be modelled after the residential tenancies acts of Victoria and New South Wales in Australia.

Research is being conducted to assess the suitability of adopting these benchmarks in .

Noorihan said the proposed Act would also help to determine the affordable rental rates based on location and income of the people living in the area.

“Right now, we don’t know what rental rates are affordable for the different locations. We don’t have that data so for the first phase now, we want to look at all the data and see how we can govern the tenants and landlords,” she said.

While the Act itself covers all tenants and landlords, the government’s immediate focus is on promoting residential rentals, especially for the bottom 40% (B40) and middle 40% (M40) group of the population, including young professionals who are entering the urban area.

In terms of data collection, Noorihan said the government will start work on the integrated database system this year.

“We are doing research and looking at how to create the overall system, in terms of supply and demand. We have tried to integrate with state systems but the integration seems to have failed because states have different systems. We need one system that can have data from all the states and from federal level,” she said.

She said integration in the past failed as the local authorities, state government and federal government have powers over land matters, and this lack of coordination contributed to the rise in house prices.

However, she opined that an integrated database system would be able to reduce house prices.

“That’s why we have the National Housing Policy, which will be launched this year, either April or June. In the policy, the government will show the formula for development and for the local authorities to standardise the price of affordable homes based on the income of the locality. If local authorities follow this formulation – how to target groups and how to set the price – house prices will become affordable,” she added.

Source: The Sun Daily

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