PETALING JAYA: The National House Buyers Association of Malaysia (HBA) has reminded landlords not to be ignorant of the goings-on in properties they have rented out.
HBA secretary-general Datuk Chang Kim Loong said landlords should not just collect the rent and close one eye to any illegal activities being carried out on their properties.
“It is difficult to implicate landlords, but not impossible. Landlords should protect themselves by way of a written tenancy agreement and the tenant’s nature of business must be revealed.
“Any ‘businesses’ that deviate from what is stated in the contract should raise the owners’ suspicions,” Chang said.
He said legal ownership remained with the landlord and any illegal activities conducted by the tenant in the premises – the running of a drug operation or a brothel, for example – brought serious repercussions to the landlord.
“No owner or landlord in their right mind will knowingly rent out their premises for criminal activities or ‘let’ their business licences to shady groups. If they do so, such perpetrators and abettors should face the full brunt of the law.
“Owners should not think that they can get away scot-free or get off lightly by claiming ignorance or that they are not directly involved in such activities.
“Property owners should not let out their premises to secretive tenants for the sake of high rental. They should watch out for red flags,” said Chang.
The police have said that they would take action not just on gambling syndicates, but also owners who rent out their properties for illegal purposes.
Malaysian Muslim Consumers Association (PPIM) lead activist Datuk Nadzim Johan said while the issue of illegal gambling was huge, he believed the local councils had laws to deal with it.
“The only thing is whether there is proper coordination and enforcement in the matter,” he said.
Nadzim believes new laws would need to be enacted for the police to charge property owners in such situations, and suggested that the Home Ministry set up a taskforce to look into the issue.
Nadzim said gambling was connected to the issue of loan sharks too, with many borrowing to feed the habit.
CAP president Mohideen Abdul Kader said making landlords liable was a good move but he questioned the feasibility of proving that the premises was rented out knowingly for gambling purposes.
He said that if someone rented out their premises but had no knowledge of it being used for gambling, it would not be fair to penalise them.
“It may be a good deterrent for those who knowingly rent out their premises but the police still have to collect enough evidence to take action against the landlord,” he said.
He said gambling is a problem that has to be taken seriously as it encouraged people to take risks, causing family troubles and even suicide.
Article by: The Star
KNOW WHO YOU RENT TOO, LANDLORDS TOLD