The End of Rent Control ?
Today, the Government is making only a section of pugree tenants, based on the area of their premises, pay market rent or 30% of their income as rent or vacate their premises. Tomorrow, they may target the rest. Their intention is clear – divide and destroy all tenants.
In any case, given the current legal position, the amendment is nothing but an invitation (from the Govt.) to the Courts to make all tenants – irrespective of the size of their premises – pay market value rents, or 30% of income as rent or vacate their premises.
The Amendment will certainly be challenged in Court by landlords of buildings owning premises smaller than 861/500 sq. feet on the ground that it violates the Right to Equality (Article 14), demanding that their tenants also pay market rent or 30% of income or vacate their premises.
The present trend is that the Courts interpret Rent Control law leaning in favour of landords – the Supreme Court has even observed the same in some of it’s judgments. (2002 (5) SCC 397, 2008 (5) SCC 287)
The Supreme Court has in the past sided with landlords and taken away the protection given to one section of tenants by the law, holding that it violates the right to equality. (2008 (5) SCC 287, 1996 (1) SCC 1)