Fiji Time: 11:50 PM on Friday 19 December

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Unfair eviction

Mere Naleba
Saturday, December 15, 2012

THE Consumer Council is warning landlords and those renting out their properties to be mindful of their responsibilities.

"Landlords should rent out their property, provided it is free from claims and disputes," said council chief executive officer Premila Kumar.

This comes after Laucala Beach resident Parmal Gounder was given an eviction notice by his landlord after paying for previous tenant's water bill.

The dispute between Mr Gounder and his landlord began when Mr Gounder was issued a water bill of $452 just a few weeks after moving into his new flat at Nokonoko Rd in Laucala Beach.

Mr Gounder, after enquiring with the Water Authority of Fiji, found out that the water bill was for the previous tenants.

"Because the water meter was still under the old tenant's name, I was told by the caretaker of the house that he could not do anything," Mr Gounder said.

"So I went to the Water Authority seeking their help. They told me I had to clear that amount before they could reconnect the meter."

Mr Gounder felt he was unfairly treated by his landlord by being handed an eviction notice two weeks after clearing the bill and paying for the transfer of water meter under his name.

"After clearing the bill I then told my landlord that I was going to deduct the money that I had paid the bill for.

"He didn't say anything and when he returned to the flat I was given an eviction notice," he said.

Mrs Kumar said: "In this case the water bill is the responsibility of the landlord. He should have separate water meter that is on his tenant's name.

"Each time a tenant leaves, then bill issues can be sorted by the tenant and the Water Authority of Fiji," said Mrs Kumar.