House owners liable for illegal activities in their premises

Property owners must ensure that a tenancy agreement is in place to prevent themselves from being prosecuted if illegal activities are conducted on their premises.

Malaysian Institute of Estate Agents (MIEA) councillor Alex J. Gomez said the tenancy agreement is a legal contract between the tenant and the landlord which clearly states the responsibilities of each party.

“If gambling or other illegal activities are being conducted, the landlord must lodge a police report and take legal action,” said Gomez.

He was responding to StarMetro’s report on Oct 9 titled “Covert Casinos” which revealed that many gaming centres located inside shoplots and apartments at Taman Sri Manja, Petaling Jaya had been converted into casinos.

A landlord said he had rented out his premises to a cybercafe through a registered real estate agent without knowing that he could be prosecuted if illegal activities took place.

The owner said that he now knew that under Section 4 (1) of the Common Gaming Houses (Amendment) Act 2013, owners can be fined and jailed.

Section 15B and 16A states that the premises could be seized and may be liable to forfeiture.

He claimed that the real estate agents were offered attractive commission rates by the cybercafes and had become their accomplices.

Gomez explained that real estate negotiators (Ren) should be registered through their firms with the Board of Valuers, Appraisers & Estate Agents.

“The public should check the credentials of agents who should have Ren tags issued by the board.

“Alternatively they can also check the names of their agents or negotiators through

Gomez also advised landlords to check the nature of their tenant’s business before entering into a tenancy agreement to avoid problems.

“They should conduct checks at their premises to ensure that no illegal activity is taking place.”

He said if any condition in the tenancy agreement had been violated, the landlord should engage the services of a lawyer to evict the tenant.

MIEA represents both registered estate agents as well as Rens.

Gomez said any complaint should be forwarded to the board which has the power to take disciplinary action.

The board is currently involved in a campaign to warn the public about the dangers of engaging unauthorised agents. - By StarProperty

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