Belize's rental law is pro-landlord
June 06, 2006
Proof of this is the ability to forcibly enter the premises to confiscate properties for compensation for unpaid rent and damages.
Rents: Can landlord and tenant freely agree rents in Belize?
Initial rents can be freely negotiated in Belize. However, the Rent Restriction Act limits the amount of rent increase to 10% annually or to a prescribed level mandated by the Rent Assessment Board of each judicial district.
Payment of the first and the last months' rent is required from the tenant prior to occupation.
What rights do landlords and tenants have in Belize, especially as to duration of contract, and eviction?
The duration of the tenancy must be specified in the rental agreement. Long-term lease agreements last for a minimum of six months. The agreement is normally written, but if it exceeds three years, it should be by deed.
With regards to settling disputes, a tenant is given seven days to pay the rent due. If he is unable to do so, the landlord can file charges against him and serve a notice to quit. Non-payment of rent, and subletting without the landlord's knowledge, or as specified in the rental agreement, are legal grounds for eviction.
The law, through a court order, also allows landlords to take the properties of tenants to compensate for damages and unpaid rent. Landlords are also allowed to forcibly enter the property to reclaim it from tenants and claim compensation.
EVICTION FOR NON-PAYMENT OF RENT
|Duration until completion of service of process||50|
|Duration of trial||30|
|Duration of enforcement||15|
|Total Days to Evict Tenant||95|
|Courts: The Lex Mundi Project|
How effective is the Belizean legal system?
Rent Assessment Boards in each judicial district implement the Rent Restriction Act and address complaints regarding the collection of rent. There is a perception that the board is pro-landlord when approving rent increases. The appropriate court hears landlord and tenant disputes.
The Landlord and Tenant Act (last updated December 2000) provides mechanism for recovering property, filing complaints and addressing landlord and tenant issues.
The Rent Restriction Act (last updated October 2003) provides the maximum allowable rent increase.