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Anguilla's tenancy protection laws

May 28, 2007

Anguilla's law is PRO-LANDLORD


Rents: Can landlord and tenant freely agree rents in Anguilla?

The rent can be freely negotiated between the parties, as can the level of the increase in rent over the life of the tenancy, and other contractual terms.

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However, there is an unenforced Rent Restriction Act (RRA), which applies to all building land, unfurnished dwelling houses and public or commercial buildings. It was intended to restrict rent increases for unfurnished and commercial property to 15%, except with the sanction of the Rent Commissioners.

In the absence of critical components such as appointed Rent Commissioners, the legal regime contemplated by the Rent Restriction Act does not currently exist. The Act remains on the statute books, but has been of no real effect. This may change (see below).

Deposits

The parties are free to agree on a deposit, again in the absence of an enforceable RRA. The deposit is usually one months' rent.

What rights do landlords and tenants have in Anguilla, especially as to duration of contract, and eviction?

There is no limitation on the length of the contractual period. The tenancy may be ended by notice to quit by either party, in accordance with the terms of the rental agreement. If there are no express provisions in the contract, the general principles of common law apply.

Legislation

The Rent Restriction Act, Revised Statutes of Anguilla, Chapter R50.
Important Note: There are ongoing efforts to revamp this Act, to make its provisions relevant to current societal needs.

The Aliens Land Holding Regulation Act, Revised Statutes of Anguilla, Chapter A55.
Prohibits Aliens from holding any estate or interest in land without a licence. Land not exceeding five acres may be held by an unlicensed alien on an annual tenancy, or for any lesser period, for the purpose of his residence, trade, or business.

An application for a licence should be made before the Alien completes the property purchase. If the Alien intends to rent out the property, this should be disclosed on the application form, with details of any proposed development, to ensure that the Alien Land Holding Licence expressly permits this development.

The Villa Rental Business Regulation Act 2006.
Every alien who carries on, or intends to carry on, a villa rental business in Anguilla is required to obtain a licence to operate a Villa Rental Business.

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Such an alien is required to appoint a villa agent, though this requirement may be waived if the alien is resident in Anguilla, and is deemed capable of performing the functions of an agent.

A villa is defined to include a vacation residence, retirement home, holiday home or dwelling house however called; but does not include guest-house, hotel, inn, motel or any villa or condominium developed and operated as part of a hotel or condominium hotel project for resale or otherwise, even if such premises are rented on a daily basis.

Licences are not transferable, but where a licence is granted to two or more persons jointly and any one of the joint licensees dies leaving a survivor during the currency of the lease, the licence remains in force.

The Registered Land Act, Revised Statutes of Anguilla, Chapter R30
Division 2 of this Act covers implied obligations on the part of the Lessor and Lessee.

Covenants implied on the part of the Lessor include:

  • To allow the lessee peaceful enjoyment;
  • Not to use or permit to be used adjoining premises of which he is the proprietor in such a way which would render the leased premises unfit or materially less unfit for the purpose for which they were leased;
  • Where part only of a building is leased, to keep the roof, main walls, main drains, common passages and common installations in repair.

Covenants implied the part of the Lessee include:

  • To pay the rent at the times and in the manner specified by the lease,
  • To pay all rates, taxes and other outgoings in respect of the leased premises that are by law not payable by the Lessor;
  • Where the lease is of furnished premises, to keep the furniture in good condition, fair wear and tear excepted, and to replace such articles as are lost, destroyed or damaged beyond repair with articles of equal value to those items;
  • Not to transfer, charge, sublease or otherwise part with the possession of the leased premises or any part thereof without the previous written consent of the Lessor, provided that such consent shall not be unreasonably withheld.

The Agricultural Small Holdings Act, Revised Statutes of Anguilla, Chapter A 50.
Governs contracts of tenancy in relation to parcels of land of between a quarter of an acre and 25 acres, intended for cultivation or pasturage.

How effective is the Anguillan legal system?

Claims for the recovery of rent not exceeding EC$15,000 may be instituted in the Magistrates Court. But actions for the recovery of possession of property have to be commenced in the High Court.

Contested proceedings are generally more complex and costly in the High Court than in the Magistrates Court but the generally efficient operations of the High Court should allow for recovery proceedings to be completed within a reasonable time.

Brief History: Recent changes in Anguilla's landlord and tenant law

The principles governing the tenancy relationship are to a great extent derived from English Common Law.

Anguilla's relatively recent commercial growth, and the influx of a huge number of non-nationals, has resulted in the landlord tenant relationship assuming a new level of importance.

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The Rent Restriction Act was passed in December 1954. It was intended to be an important first step in regulating Landlord and Tenant affairs, but was accorded little importance in a society not dependent on such relationships. The act is clearly now in need of some refinement, and this has not escaped the attention of the legislators. With time, the legislative provisions will no doubt be amended to keep pace with the needs of this developing society.

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