Is there a govt dept that apartment renters can access to ensure their “rights” are protected? I signed a 1 yr lease for an unfurnished apartment and the owner is really annoying and continually threatening to evict me every month. She does surprise inspections, demands I clean off the counter of small appliances, tells me I have too many shampoo bottles in the shower stall, tells me I must remove some of my furniture (extra mattress), and even no smoking cigarettes outside in the parking lot, even though cig butts go in a tin can then garbage. She also requested I reorganize my storage closet. I was to have cable provided and did have for a few months. She says she won’t turn it back on until someone confesses that they broke it. Water is turned off every evening. No access to cistern water either! What can I do or does she have the power to evict me anytime for any small infraction (in her eyes)? Signed, a 30 year old female Canadian teacher who has been renting for over 10 years in 4 different countries.
Will post this to our BVI Newbie community page – thanks
FIRST ANSWER FROM GILES:
Giles Cadman – Easy answer, unless you’re ‘born here’ you have no rights! But to rent they should have a trade license so speak to the trade department. But if they are born here well…
One beautiful thing in the BVI is the lack of over-regulation, so dominant in Europe and North America. Although it brings many good things, the social deformation of people who never lived in a free market is appalling (they look for a regulator:)
Rule number one for long term rentals in the BVI – local (BVI especially, applies to Caribbean in general) landlords are usually problematic. They often don’t have respect for “your home” and feel that your deposit is their blank check for apartment restoration. Be sure you get a substantial discount if you have to deal with this type of landlord. Just for putting up with that ****
They can do very little too- if you feel they don’t fulfill their end, you could decline to pay the rent. Should you get “evicted,” it would be a good idea to have a video and report it as theft.
If you do not wish to escalate things, just move out…. I would recommend not paying the last rent, it sounds like you are not getting your deposit back:)
Kate Purdy in response to Giles’ comment above…
“You don’t need a trade license if you live in part of the building. Found that little snippet in the small print on a trade license application.”
ANOTHER COMMENT FROM JUDITH CHARLES:
Judith Charles – I’m a belonger and have had some experience as a land lord and non of my tenant nightmares were with other belongers, they were all with expats. People do bad things to other people regardless of whether they are the tenant or the landlord. In the final analysis all you have is the courts and even when you win there is nothing that says the person at fault has to pay up, they simply move on. Are there nightmare landlords here? Absolutely. But have you ever lived in Greece for instance? Because if you aren’t a belonger there, no one cares what your problems or your rights are. So I don’t think we are so bad here. But if you feel your rights are being violated and you are being stone walled everywhere I can tell you that it’s a renters market these days, and there are nearly as many realtors as there are lawyers in this town, so you’ll find an alternative in a heart beat. Give your notice and kiss your wicked landlord good bye.
COMMENT FROM ELAINE MANDRISH
Elaine Mandrish – I don’t think anyone has raised this yet – but if the lady signed a lease, what were the terms of the lease with respect to landlord access, smoking and the other issues raised? The leases I have had experience with have usually had clauses that allowed the landlord access to the apartment for certain reasons e.g. repairs, pest control spraying, regular maintenance work, and even then they had to give advance notice. And does the lease allow the landlord to evict the tenant? If so, I think there should be an advance notice period. And finally, if the lease allows the tenant to get out with say two months notice – I’m with Judith Charles and I’d suggest she give the landlord notice and find somewhere else.