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August 22, 2014
Star Features


Changing locks on delinquent tenants

A senior citizen is of the view that it is better not to rent his house because tenants have always robbed him.

He related problems he has been having with tenants for the last 10 years. He said each time he rents his apartments, tenants pretend to be nice, responsible and honest. However, months later they start to "play hide and seek" because they do not want to pay.

The landlord is a returning resident. He said he is frustrated. He is thinking of getting rid of the tenants, lock up the property and sell it.

"I really cannot believe that people can be so dishonest," he said.

"I went to England, for many years, and returned home in 2004. I bought two properties. One was for my residential home and the other to rent so my family could get extra income. I must say, luckily for me, I get a pension because, if it was rent I was really depending on, I would not be able to buy food and pay my bills.

"The rented property consists of three apartments, which are rented for $20,000 monthly. I could have rented them for more money but I know cost of living is very high in Jamaica, so I just wanted the tenants to be comfortable. I have to be giving notices to tenants, all the time, because they refuse to pay me. When I go to collect the rent, they play hide and seek with me. I am seriously thinking of getting rid of all the tenants, lock up the house and sell it.

"Two tenants owe me a total of $200,000 because, for the last five months, they have not paid me. I gave them notice, two months now, and they refuse to move. I am so frustrated that I am thinking of changing the locks when they are gone to work, so they will be forced to move," he added.

It is a criminal offence to change the locks and you could be arrested and charged. The proper thing to do is to take the matter to the Resident Magistrate's Court, where you will be given the relevant documents to serve them to attend court. The resident magistrate will give them a certain time to vacate the premises. If they fail to leave within the specified time, you can seek the assistance of the bailiff to evict them. You can also sue for the money owing to you for rent.

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