This article explains the important provisions of the Himachal Pradesh Urban Rent Control Act, 1987, in an easy and simplified manner to help you understand the basics of this Act.
Who Is a Landlord?
As per the Himachal Pradesh Urban Rent Control Act, landlord is:
- Any person entitled to collect rent in respect of rented property on his own account;
- Any person entitled to collect rent on behalf or benefit of some other person as a trustee, guardian, receiver, executor or administrator for the other person;
- Tenant or tenants who sublet the rented property in an authorised way under derivative title bestowed on him/her by the landlord till the time being.
Who Is a Tenant?
As per the Himachal Pradesh Urban Rent Control Act, tenant is:
- Any person by whom or on whose account rent is payable for a residential or non-residential building or rented land and also includes a tenant who is continuing in possession even after termination of the tenancy;
- A deserted wife of the tenant, entitled to be in occupation of the matrimonial house or the tenanted premises of her husband;
- A divorced wife possessing a decree of divorce mentioning her right of residence in the matrimonial house or the tenanted premises;
- Heirs, in case of death of the actual tenant. Order of succession (who will come under succession and in what order after his death):
- Firstly, the surviving spouse;
- Secondly, the son or daughter or both, in the absence of surviving spouse;
- Thirdly, parents, in the absence of surviving spouse and children;
- Fourthly, the widowed daughter-in-law, in the absence of all the above.
- In all the above scenarios, the successor must have been living or carrying on business with the deceased tenant in such rented premise till the date of his death and must have been dependent on the deceased tenant.
- If the tenant hires someone for occupation with regard to such building or rented land, then such person will not be counted as a tenant or an heir of the tenancy until there is a written consent of the landlord or any person who has been given the lease to collect the rent by a Municipal Corporation, a Municipal Council or a Nagar Panchayat or a Cantonment Board.
Properties Exempted From the Application of This Act
The properties that are given exemption under the Himachal Pradesh Urban Rent Control Act are:
- Government-owned properties
- Properties specifically exempted by the state government
Determination of Standard Rent
The Controller shall determine the standard rent on the application of the landlord or tenant. It shall be fixed on the basis of 10% of the aggregate cost of construction and the market price of the land on the date of commencement of construction. Such rent shall be increased by 10% from the year of construction to the present day to arrive at standard rent for that particular year.
In the case of non-residential property, it (standard rent) shall be fixed on the basis of 15%.
Further, the maintenance charges (not exceeding 5% of the standard rent), municipal taxes, including water and electricity charges (as agreed between the landlord and tenant), shall also be taken into account.
Such standard rent shall become payable from the date the landlord or tenant filled the application.
The standard rent, once fixed, will not be increased for a time period of 3 years except in the case where the landlord has done some addition, improvement or alteration on the written request of the tenant. In such cases, the rent increase should not be more than 10% of the cost of such addition, alteration, improvement or repair work.
After every 3 years, the standard rent will be increased by 10% automatically. If there is any dispute with regard to fluctuation in rent between the landlord and tenant, such dispute shall be decided by the Controller.
The landlord cannot demand or claim any additional rent or premium except receiving in advance an amount not exceeding three months’ rent in a lump sum that too due to the presence of a preceding agreement.
Unauthorised Rent to Be Recovered Within One Year
If the tenant paid some form of rent to the landlord that he was not liable to pay, he can recover or deduct such a rent within one year of such payment.
Further, no landlord shall recover from his tenant the amount of any tax or any portion thereof in respect of the rented property occupied by such tenant by increasing the amount of the rent payable or otherwise.
Cutting Off or Withholding Essential Supply or Service
A landlord cannot cut off or withhold the essential supply or service that the tenant was otherwise enjoying without any just and sufficient cause.
In the contravention of this provision, the tenant can file a complaint with the Controller, and if the Controller finds the complaint to be true, then he can order the landlord to restore all the essential supplies and services immediately.
If the complaint was found to be fabricated and false, then the tenant can be asked to pay an amount not exceeding Rs 100 to the landlord as compensation.
Eviction of Tenants
A) A landlord who seeks to evict his tenant will apply to the Controller, and if the Controller is satisfied that:
- The tenant has not paid the rent within 15 days after the term fixed in the agreement of tenancy or if in case no such agreement exists then till the last day of the next month. If the tenant pays the rent on the first hearing along with 12% interest and the cost of application to the Controller, then the tenant will be deemed to have paid the rent. If the payment pertains to arrears prior to the appointed day i.e. 18th August 1987 then the interest will be calculated at the rate of 12% per annum. If an order of eviction has been made by the Controller against a tenant but the tenant pays the rent within 30 days after such order us made then he shall not be evicted;
- The tenant, without the landlord’s consent, has either sublet the rented property either wholly or partially or has used the rented property for a purpose other than that for which it was leased;
- The tenant has jeopardised the property in such a way that it has impaired its utility or value;
- The tenant has been guilty of such acts and conduct as are a nuisance to the occupiers of buildings in the neighbourhood;
- The tenant, without any reasonable cause, has ceased to occupy the property continuously for 12 months.
In all the above situations, the Controller can either ask the tenant to evict the property and handover the possession to the landlord (providing a time period of not more than 3 months to the tenant to handover the possession) or reject the application if not satisfied.
B) A landlord may apply to the Controller for an order directing the tenant to put the landlord in possession:
I. In the case of a residential or non-residential building, if:
- The landlord requires such building for his own occupation. But he must not have any other residential or non-residential building in the same urban area. And he must not have vacated any other residential or non-residential building in the same urban area within 5 years after the filing of such application with the Controller without any sufficient cause.
- It was let to the tenant on the cause of him being an employee of the landlord, but now he has ceased to be so. If the employee has been discharged or dismissed by the landlord in contravention of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947, he shall not be liable for eviction until the competent authority approves such discharge.
- The landlord is a member of the armed forces of the Union of India and requires the building for his family’s residence and is serving under special conditions or non-family station (needs to provide the certificate of prescribed authority to prove so).
- The tenant has built or acquired a vacant possession sufficient for his requirement.
II. In the case of rented land, if:
- The landlord requires it for himself and does not have any other land in such urban area and has also not sold any such other land in the same urban area within 5 years of application to the Controller.
- He requires rented land for the construction of residential or non-residential building or for the establishment of industry.
- The tenant has let out the rented land to someone else on higher rent.
III. For improvement or repair work:
- If the landlord is required to make improvements in the building or rented land due to some government or local authority or improvement trust’s development scheme or if it has become unsafe or unfit for human cohabitation or is required by the landlord in bonafide capacity to carry on some repair work which can only be carried out by vacating the rented property.
- The tenant evicted under this clause shall have the right to re-entry on new terms of tenancy, on the basis of mutual agreement between the landlord and the tenant.
- In the case of non-residential building, the landlord cannot force the tenant to change the business under new terms of tenancy.
IV. Use as an office or consulting room by (landlord’s son or daughter):
- Who intends to start practice as a lawyer, an architect, a dentist, an engineer, a veterinary surgeon or a medical practitioner, including a practitioner of Ayurvedic Unani or Homoeopathic System of Medicine.
- For the residence of his son who is not occupying any other building for use as an office or residence in the same urban locality or has not vacated such a premise in the same urban area without any sufficient cause, after the commencement of this Act.
If there is an agreement between the landlord and the tenant specifying a particular time duration, then the tenant cannot be evicted before the completion of such time duration for the above purpose.
Also, if the landlord has already used this provision for eviction in one of the rented buildings or land, then he cannot use this provision for eviction of the tenant again for any other building of the same class or rented land or for the residence or occupation of the same son.
C) The Controller shall, if he is satisfied that the claim of the landlord is bonafide, make an order directing the tenant (and giving him reasonable time) to put the landlord in possession of the building or rented land on such date as may be specified by the Controller and if the Controller is not so satisfied, he shall make an order rejecting the application.
The Himachal Pradesh Urban Rent Control Act, 1987, received the assent of the President of India on 20th October 1987 and applies to all urban areas of Himachal Pradesh except as the Act mentions.
It came into existence to provide unanimity and equal set-up for the collection of rent in urban areas of Himachal Pradesh and to protect the interest of tenants, thus, giving a fair utilisation of resources in the form of occupation generation through rented premises.
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