The Assam Urban Areas Rent Control Act, 1972- Important Provisions- Part I

Updated: Jul 24, 2021

INTRODUCTION:

Assam Urban Areas Rent Control Act, 1972

This Assam Urban Areas Rent Control Act, 1972 was passed to restrict temporarily the increase of rents of houses situated within the limits of urban areas in Assam including Cantonments.

It is aimed at constraining rent to temporarily increase the rents of houses situated within the limits of the Urban areas as specified by the State Government.



OBJECTIVES OF THE ACT:


(a) To give the tenant security of tenure, at a fair rent, not above standard rent.

(b) To prevent the landlord from evicting tenants except on specified grounds.


Main Provisions:


(i) Fixation of fair rent (standard rent) by the court; subsequent increase and revision


(ii) Grounds of recovery of possession by the landlord (of the house) from the tenant and bar to passing of a decree by the court for ejectment of a tenant or to execute the same except on specified grounds in Section 5.


(iii) Deposit of rent in court, when landlord refuse to accept lawful rent offered by them (tenant)


(iv) Suits for ejectment and rent


(v) Appeals against orders and decisions of the court



IMPORTANT PROVISIONS OF THE ACT


PROCEDURE OF DETERMINATION OF RENT & BARS AGAINST PASSING AN ORDER AND DECREE FOR EJECTION:


The definition of standard rent as given in the Assam Urban Areas Rent Control Act, 1972 differs from that of the old Act of 1966, which makes the estimated construction cost and value of land to be much higher than it would be at the time of construction.


But to be fair to the tenant, it also deducts from it, an amount called Depreciation, at the rate of 1 per cent per year, in the case of a pucca structure and 2 per cent in the case of other structures.


The depreciation under Section 2(e) is calculated from the point of completion of the construction of the house. In some cases, the house was extended into a different house or even a pucca structure, and in such a case, the depreciation will be calculated from the date of completion of such extended house or pucca structure.


In the case of multistoried buildings, since the floors above the ground floor do not rest upon the ground, it may so happen that the value of the land may be overlooked while fixing the standard rent of the floors separately.


The definition, therefore, provides specifically that the floors above the ground floor, the value of the land should be taken into consideration, as is done in the case of a ground floor.


But one thing is not clear in the definition, that is, what proportion of the value of the land should be taken into account while fixing the rent for each floor.


The full value of the land should be taken into account be added to the construction cost of each floor that would be double-counting and benefiting the owner with something which is not due.

The best way seems to be to divide the total land value by the number of floors and then add the quotient to the construction of each floor.


Another difficulty is that in the case of Non-pucca structures, standard rent, considering the 2 per cent depreciation, will be reduced to a very insignificant, even though the house may be in a good condition for example Shillong.


The nature of standard rent is fixed by the court on procedural calculation under the act, not an agreement between the parties.

( Jhumarmal v. Kamakhya Temple )



DETERMINATION OF FAIR RENT:


Assam Urban Areas Rent Control Act, 1972

The landlord and tenant, can definitely fix an amount of rent payable to the landlord by the tenant, in respect of a house, and so long the fair rent is not determined by the court under this section, it would be lawful for the landlord to compel the tenant to pay the rent agreed upon.

In the failure of the tenant to pay such rent, the landlord can lawfully bring a suit for ejectment of the tenant from the house.


But any agreement for the payment of rent above the fair rent is void.

Where no fair rent has been fixed, an agreement entered into between the landlord and tenant, for enhancement of rent cannot be declared null and void.


But where an agreement for fair rent has been fixed, there can be no enhancement of rent, except as per provisions of the act. The provision of the act is enacted to save the tenant from terms of an on press agreement when the terms are to his detriment.