Who pays Security Deposit?

27/08/2014 15:59

Landlords must stop asking their tenants to pay Fiji Electricity Authority security deposits when tenants are not the account holders with FEA.

The Consumer Council of Fiji is reiterating its earlier call to landlords to be mindful that if they have an account with FEA for the supply of electricity then they are responsible to pay the security deposit.

The only time, tenants pay the security deposit is when the FEA meter is under the tenant’s name.

This reminder comes in the wake of recent cases which display a blatant disregard of the law by some landlords who continue to pressure their tenants to pay security deposit even when the FEA meter is under the landlord’s name.

As per Section 62(1) and (2) of the Electricity Act (Cap 180), every customer with a Fiji Electricity Authority account has to pay the security deposit.

It is simple- if the account is in the name of the landlord then the landlord will have to pay the additional security deposit.

Furthermore, FEA will only refund the consumer security deposit to the account-holder.

The Council finds it deplorable that despite several reminders in the past, some landlords continue to squeeze money out of their tenants pocket by imposing such charges when the account is under landlords’ name.

The Council is aware of cases where tenants are told to pay the security deposit once they move in the rented premises. Many a times, tenants are left with no choice but to clear the security deposit.

In such situations, it is recommended that tenants get the electricity accounts transferred to their name and when they are vacating the rented premises, they can seek refund of the security deposit from FEA.

Tenants have to be proactive when entering into a tenancy agreement, it should be clearly stated as to who owns the FEA meter which they will be using and who will be responsible to pay for the consumer security deposit.