AN ELECTED representative is calling for the Housing and Local Government Ministry to set up a landlord-tenant tribunal to settle disputes between them.
Bukit Gasing assemblyman Rajiv Rishyakaran said such a tribunal would be a step in the right direction towards protecting the rights of both the landlord and their tenants.
He said many landlords and tenants signed agreements without understanding the clauses that stated each other’s obligations.
Rajiv said landlords who faced problems such as rental collection from tenants may resort to hiring gangsters or harassing the tenant’s family, both of which were wrong.
“Tenants also have problems with landlords who do not maintain their properties properly.
“A tribunal will be a platform for such disputes to be resolved quickly with a small fee, ” he said during a 90-minute forum to discuss discriminatory practices in the property rental sector.
The forum was organised by Rajiv with lawyer and social activist Shahredzan Johan as panellist.
Shahredzan said legal proceedings might not be worthwhile as the cost would likely be higher than the damages both parties wished to claim.
He also highlighted that the entire process would take many months.
“A tribunal would be a better platform to resolve such disputes in a cost-effective and timely manner, ” he said.
One of those who took part in the online forum was business analyst Pingalayen Rabinthra Kumar, 24, who recounted his experience in renting a room in Klang Valley after moving from his hometown in Alor Setar, Kedah six years ago.
He said he had many unpleasant experiences of discrimination by prospective landlords and agents, noting that some landlords would explicitly state in online property listings that they did not want tenants of certain ethnicity.
He highlighted that the rental for rooms available to him were 19% more expensive on average.
“The difference can go up to 34% in the city centre.”
Pingalayen urged landlords to change their racially-based assumptions and be more open-minded about their tenants.