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Government to intervene in late rent payment disputes

Date Posted: 2010-03-18

Financial circumstances have caused many rental unit tenants to be late with their payments to building owners, and those owners have responded with threats and bullying. Now, the government says ‘enough’ and is intervening to stop the practice.

“If the rent is going to be late, please advise the home owner or the guarantee company,” the government is now saying in response to a new law that kicked in this month that stops debt collectors from threatening tenants to pay. With payments only a month or two behind, building owners had turned to financial guarantee business companies acting as bill collectors, and those agents have been making threats such as “pa now. If you don’t pay your rent today, we will shot off your water or change the locks on your apartment.” The government rule now prevents that type of threats.

The Okinawa Consumer Life Center says the number of phone threats to rental tenants has been increasing, with 378 cases reported last year. The Life Center says it appears the number of threat cases could exceed 400 this year. The Life Center says that until last year, late rental payments were not the target of bill collectors. Before, it says, the targets centered around return of security deposits or making restitution for damages.

The Life Center says the problem is not limited to Okinawa, but is spreading across Japan.

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