Penang mulls restoring rent control for pre-war houses

  • Nation
  • Tuesday, 05 Jul 2016

GEORGE TOWN: The state government is looking at re-introducing the repealed Rent Control Act to prevent the inflation of property rentals in the George Town heritage site.

Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said the move would stop gentrification that was driving the locals and living heritage away from pre-war houses in the core and buffer zones of heritage site.

He said the proposed enactment would be an improved version of the Rent Control Act and houseow­ners would only be allowed to impose rentals according to market rate.

Before the Act was repealed in 1997 and enforced in 2002, city dwellers and business owners only paid a pittance to houseowners.

“We are still discussing the mechanism on carrying out the implementation.

“What we want is a fair and reasonable rental rate. Of course, the rental should not be way below the market rate. We may be looking at 20% in­crease over five years,” he said du­­ring a press conference yesterday.

The Star had reported that the pre-war property market in the heritage enclave could be overheating with foreign corporations “snapping up properties by the rows” and causing the rentals to skyrocket.

After evicting the old tenants and sprucing up the shophouses, the foreigners are leasing them out at more than 500% above the previous rent.

It was learnt that shops near the Komtar end of Jalan Pintal Tali are being rented out at between RM7,000 and RM10,000 by their Singaporean owners.

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