Soon, rent authority to resolve tenancy issues in Chandigarh
The landlord-tenant relations, often marked by long legal disputes and incessant bickering, are set to find a resolution mechanism with the Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, approving the Model Tenancy Act on Wednesday.
The Chandigarh administration will adopt the Act, being a Union Territory, said Uma Shankar Gupta, additional secretary, estates. It will replace the existing tenancy provisions of the East Punjab Urban Rent Restriction Act 1949.
The Act clearly delineates the rights and duties of the landlord and tenants, and provides for speedy adjudication mechanism. It will facilitate an overhaul of the legal framework with respect to rental housing, which would help spur its overall growth.
“It will enable creation of adequate rental housing stock for all the income groups; thereby addressing the issue of homelessness. Model Tenancy Act will enable institutionalisation of rental housing by gradually shifting it towards the formal market,” said a senior UT official.
The Act is also expected to facilitate unlocking of vacant houses for rental housing purposes.
DC will act as rent authority
The district collector will be designated as the rent authority. An independent body with exclusive jurisdiction over tenancy issues, it will regulate the landlord-tenant relationship and provide a speedy adjudication mechanism for all disputes.
Currently, rent-related disputes are resolved by civil courts, where the pendency rate is high. Appeals against the authority’s orders will be made in the rent court, headed by a senior judicial officer, and the case will have to be disposed of within 60 days. Against a rent court order, an appeal can be filed with the rent tribunal.
Notably, notwithstanding anything contained in any other law for the time being in force, in the areas to which this Act extends, only the rent court and no civil court shall have jurisdiction relating to tenancy issues. A rent court may consist of two members to be appointed by the UT administration in consultation with the high court.
All agreements to be registered with it
All the rent agreements will have to be submitted to the rent authority. The landowner and the tenant will have to separately file the particulars about the tenancy agreement within a month of the agreement. Currently, these can be registered at the sub-registrar’s office.
After reviewing the agreements, the authority will give registration numbers. It will publish online information and registration numbers of all tenancies.
Both tenant and landlord are responsible for maintenance under Act. The rent agreement will define their responsibilities. Cutting off or withholding essential supplies or services is prohibited. In case the landlord does not accept rent, it is to be deposited with the rent authority.