House OK’s Landlord-Tenant Act

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MEMBERS of the House of Representatives discussed a number of issues during a marathon House session last week.

Among the measures discussed was House Bill 21-79, which will regulate the relationship between landlords and tenants, a matter that is not explicitly addressed in the Commonwealth Code.

Introduced by Rep. Janet Maratita, the bill lists the rights and responsibilities of landlords and tenants in the Commonwealth.

During the session, a floor amendment was introduced by Rep. Tina Sablan to include comments received by the Micronesian Legal Services Corporation.

The amendment addresses issues that have historically been prevalent between landlords and tenants, such as who, between the landlord and the tenant, will be responsible for the maintenance of the premises during the lease period.


Rep. Tina Sablan, left foreground, speaks during a House session last week. Photo by K-Andrea Evarose S. Limol

Under the proposed amendment, should a landlord and tenant both agree that the tenant will be responsible for the maintenance of the property, the landlord will be obligated to pay the tenant “fair and reasonable compensation and consideration.”

The author of the bill supported the floor amendment, noting that MLSC has been known to aid residential tenants, which is essentially what the measure aims to do.

The floor amendment was unanimously approved by the members via voice vote, and the bill, as amended, also unanimously passed the House. It now heads to the Senate.

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