Urban tenants: need for reviewing law
ABOUT 50 per cent inhabitants of Karachi live in rental homes, and face problems due to land mafia, odd planning by the agencies and poverty, etc. Sindh Rented Premises Ordinance 1979 should immediately be reviewed and the following points be taken into account by the authorities concerned to amend the law to safeguard the rights of tenants. The tenancy agreement should be binding for the period of three years at least and not less than three years. It is noticed that lessor/owner puts pressure on the tenant for increase in rent or to vacate the premises after the expiry of 11 months, which forces the tenant to think whether he should accept the conditions or vacate the premises and find new accommodation.
The tenant should have the right to vacate the premises giving one month’s notice at any time according to his requirement.
The increase in rent should be after three years and not earlier, and the rent should be fixed by the rent controller. If the rent agreement has to be registered, it should be exempted from all kind of fees and charges, etc.
The duty and responsibility of the estate agent/broker as well as his commission should be fixed equal to one month’s rent and both parties should pay 50-50 to the agent. The agent’s role should be impartial.
Repair and maintenance should be the sole responsibility of the owner and not of the tenant and no tenancy agreement be accepted mentioning the responsibility of the tenant in this respect.
The tenant should not be put under burden to take care of repair and maintenance after paying the rent. This is what the owner is getting rent for? The tenant should only be responsible for the damage he had intentionally done.
The owner should have the right to visit and check at the time of vacation and prior to taking possession of the premises or in case he has sound information of serious damage.
In such a case he should inform the tenant in writing about his visit and should maintain all record with photographs according to necessity. The tenant should not be harassed by the owner in this respect.
The deposit amount should not be more than equal to two months’ rent and even that amount should be deposited in a joint account maintained separately by both the owner and tenant and its profit should reach the tenant as the deposit is his sole property and that should have legal protection.
Since money loses value over the years due to inflation, the owners who have the deposit money for years should transfer the amount in a joint account with the tenant and compensate him/her for the amount lost due to inflation.
This would provide relief to the tenants who are suffering loss for years. The amount that is more than two months’ rent should be returned to the tenant.
No one should violate the law of privacy and should not create disturbance of any kind. If it happens then the rent controller should take necessary action according to the law as a special case and even take care of all other disputes related to the premises, the matter should be settled under one umbrella. The tenant should not run here and there for justice in several courts.
The owner and the tenant both should face consequences for false claims/lies and submission of false affidavit, etc., for vacation of premises or vice versa and the punishment should be at least for six months with fine. Submission of false affidavit be taken seriously and should have severe punishment.
If the owner wants vacation of premises on urgent basis for personal use it should be through a just agreement considering the losses of the tenant sustained i.e., agents fees, transportation, collateral damages and also availability of accommodation within the area, etc.
If any dispute arises which is not mentioned in the law then it should be taken care of by the justice department and the matter be settled justly and a suitable law should be promulgated immediately in this respect.