Commission divided on rent cap

Legislator Jose Pereira Coutinho, one of the nine legislators who proposed a new Rent Cap Bill last June, believes that the Chief Executive should decide the rent cap by taking into account inflation and the Consumer Price Index (CPI) in addition to being involved in the establishment of an arbitration body for mediating conflicts between landlords and tenants. “I don’t believe that the current proposal by the nine legislators’ commission will resolve the issue, so I believe that if the Chief Executive got involved it could resolve the question well,” Coutinho told Business Daily, adding that more developments on the issue will unfold in tomorrow’s Legislative Assembly (AL) meeting. This comes after president of the Third Standing Committee and leader of the new rent cap bill commission, Cheang Chi Keong, stated that a consensus that the rent cap should be defined according to the Civil Code – which establishes that interest can be charged three times above the legal rate – was achieved by the commission, local Portuguese language publication Hoje Macau reported. However, legislator Song Pek Kei contradicted Cheang’s consensus statement by telling local media that although most of the commission members, such as herself, suggested at the beginning that the bill should use the Civil Code as the basis for the new rental cap they now believe that a coefficient decided by the Chief Executive would be more suitable, local media reports. “We never said the rent limit should have as its base the charging of interest three times above the legal rate, nor that 30 per cent should be the rent cap,” she clarified, according to Hoje Macau. When asked about the disagreements legislator Cheang refused to answer, stating that he would only respond to questions regarding the “rent control mechanism,” local media reports.