Dr Ajay Kumar, Advocate, Supreme Court of India
When it comes to the issue of tenants and landlords, there is a big paradox. On the one hand, we have lakhs of vacant properties and on the other hand, the government has to launch special drive to provide housing for one and all.
This paradox has been there because of not clearly defined Tenancy Act in the country. The landlords prefer to keep their housing units vacant because of fear of being embroiled in long legal battle with the tenants to get their homes vacated.
Today, approximately 12% of urban houses are vacant, with the share of persons living in urban rental accommodation decreasing from 58% to 27% between 1961 and 2011.
The model Tenancy Act, 2021, which was passed by Parliament, in June, 2021, is an attempt to solve the vexing issue between landlords and tenants. The Act has some important provisions which both landlords and tenants need to keep in mind.
As evident from its name, the Tenancy Act is a Model Act and its implementation will only come into effect when states make changes in existing age-old rental laws.
Maharashtra, for instance, has decided to partially enforce the provisions of the new Act while the UP cabinet has passed an ordinance accepting the new Act as it is. Some other states, like MP and Chhattisgarh etc. have repelled their existing Rent Control Act to go with the flow of adopting the new law. Depending on the local factors, the states may take RERA route and have specific Tenancy Act, rather accepting the Model Act in toto.
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