The Hon’ble Supreme Court in a Judgment passed in the month of May, 2011 has expressed deep anguish over the abuse of the rent control legislation and the pendency of litigation in the landlord-tenant disputes.
The Hon’ble Supreme Court in a Judgment passed in the month of May, 2011 has expressed deep anguish over the abuse of the rent control legislation and the pendency of litigation in the landlord-tenant disputes. It was held that majority of these cases are filed because landlords do not get reasonable rent akin to market rent, hence litigation is initiated on one ground or another. The Hon’ble Supreme Court laid down certain guidelines and norms for such type of litigation. These are as follows: (i) The tenant must enhance the rent according to the terms of the agreement or at least by ten percent, after every three years and enhanced rent should then be made payable to the landlord. If the rent is too low (in comparison to market rent), having been fixed almost 20 to 25 years back then the present market rate should be worked out either on the basis of valuation report or reliable estimates of building rentals in the surrounding areas, let out on rent recently. (ii) Apart from the rental, property tax, water tax, maintenance charges, electricity charges for the actual consumption of the tenanted premises and for common area shall be payable by the tenant only so that the landlord gets the actual rent out of which nothing would be deductible. In case there is enhancement in property tax, water tax or maintenance charges, electricity charges then the same shall also be borne by the tenant only. (iii) The usual maintenance of the premises, except major repairs would be carried out by the tenant only and the same would not be reimbursable by the landlord. (iv) But if any major repairs are required to be carried out then in that case only after obtaining permission from the landlord in writing, the same shall be carried out and modalities with regard to adjustment of the amount spent thereon would have to be worked out between the parties. (v) If present and prevalent market rent assessed and fixed between the parties is paid by the tenant then landlord shall not be entitled to bring any action for his eviction against such a tenant at least for a period of 5 years. Thus for a period of 5 years the tenant shall enjoy immunity from being evicted from the premises. (vi) The parties shall be at liberty to get the rental fixed by the official valuer or by any other agency, having expertise in the matter. (vii) The rent so fixed should be just, proper and adequate, keeping in mind, location, type of construction, accessibility with the main road, parking space facilities available therein etc. Care ought to be taken that it does not end up being a bonanza for the landlord. Following the Judgment of the Supreme Court, the Government has formulated a model residential tenancy Act, 2011. The model Act has been drafted to establish a frame work for the regulation of Residential Tenancy matters and to balance the rights and responsibilities of landlords and tenants and to provide for fast adjudication process for resolution of disputes. The author of this Article is Anupam Srivastava who can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org