By Javaid Musarrat Advocate
(1) The First Law which came into force for making effective relationship between the land lords and Tenant was The West Pakistan Urban Rent Restriction Ordinance, 1959. This Ordinance was repealed and The Sindh Rented Premises Ordinance, 1979 was enforced. The other provinces have their own rent laws. In this issue we will discuss only Sindh Rented Premises Ordinance, 1979.
This Ordinance is applicable to the rented premises situated within the urban area of Sindh Province.
(2) Building is defined in Section 2 (a) of the Ordinance “BUILDING” “Building” means any building or part thereof, together with all fitting and fixtures therein, if any, and includes any garden, garage, out-house and open space attached or appurtenant thereto”.
(3) For the purpose of this Section the following structures have been held to be a “Building” (a) a shed or wooden hut, (b) a compound wall, an open space or garden to a building, (c) any additional construction in a building, (d) any garage to a building, (e) any Part of a building situated separately from the main building.
(4) Shop deemed to be a building and is used for commercial purposes held sufficient, to hold it as a commercial building as held in (P.L.D. 1982 Karachi P 823).
(5) Word “Building” defined in S. 2(a) of the Ordinance does not mean only “residential building” Word “Building” means any kind of building including both residential as well as Commercial building.
(6) Fair rent is defined in Section 2(c) of the Ordinance “FAIR RENT” “Fair rent” means the fair rent of any premises determined by the Controller (The Learned Senior Civil Judge/Presiding Officer of the Court) under this Ordinance.
(7) Either landlord or the Tenant can approach the Controller under Section 8 of the Sindh Rented Premises Ordinance, 1979 for fixation of fair rent. The Learned Controller, while deciding an Application under Section 8 will take into consideration the following factors:-
(a) The rent of similar premises situated in the similar circumstances, in the same or adjoining locality.
(b) The raise in cost of construction and repair charges.
(c) The imposition of new taxes, if any, after commencement of the tenancy.
(d) The annual value of the premises, if any, on which property tax is levied.
(8) Landlords, is defined in Section 2(f) of the Ordinance.
Landlord means the owner of the premises and included a person who is for the time being authorized or entitled to receive rent in respect if such premises (Rented Premises) any person for the time being entitled to receive rent in respect of any premises is the Landlord. The definition of “Landlord” does not insist that conditions of ownership of property should be fulfilled before a person could be landlord there of. A landlord may be an ordinary person, a Corporate Body, or the creation of a Statute. A person, in order to become a Landlord, has to fulfill two conditions:
(i) The tenant must be holding land under his/her name.
(ii)The tenant is liable to pay rent, for that land to that person.
(9) Rent is defined in Section 2(i) of the Ordinance.
“Rent” includes water charges, electricity charges and other such charges which are payable by the tenant, but are unpaid.
It must be kept in mind that rent doesn’t mean only rent of the rented premises but it includes all other charges such as water, electricity and other charges which are not expressly mentioned in this Section but impliedly it includes all amenity charges/bills and if unpaid is within the ambit of default which gives a cause to the Landlord to initiate ejectment proceedings against a tenant on the grounds of default, in payment of rent.
(10) Tenant is defined in Section 2(j) of the Ordinance.
“Tenant” means any person who undertakes or is bound to pay rent as consideration for the possession or occupation of any premises by him or by any other person on his behalf and includes:
(i) Any person who continues to be in possession or occupation of the premises after the termination of his tenancy.
(ii) Heirs of the tenant in possession or occupation of the premises after the death of the tenant.
(11) It is pertinent to mention here that for the purposes of rent proceeding, only heirs of the deceased tenant has to be made party or can join the proceedings as a party who are in actual occupation/possession of the rented premises at the time of death of the original tenant, all heirs of the deceased tenant are not liable to party to proceeding. In case of death of the original tenant, heirs of the deceased tenant who are not in physical possession of the rented premises can not be treated as tenant.
(12) “Urban area” is defined in section 2 (k) of the Ordinance “Urban area” means an area within the jurisdiction of a Town Committee, Municipal Committee, Municipal Corporation or Metropolitan Corporation. All the Building Plot or their things which are mentioned in Section 2 (a) supra are the subject matter of this law.
(13) It is interesting to write their Section 3 (2) of the Ordinance has imposed an embargo and the Government may, by Notification, exclude any class of premises, or all premises in any area from operation of all any of the provisions of this Ordinance. By insertion of this Section privilege is conferred to certain persons/body of person. In my humble option Section 3 (2) of the Ordinance is repugnant to the natural justice as well as against safety and guarantee provided in the Constitution to every one.
It is suffice to note that this Section provides undue advantage to privileged class more so this is against the Injunction of Islam as such this Section has to be deleted at once.
(14) Section 5 of the Ordinance deals with agreement between Landlord and Tenant. There are two conditions which are imposed in this Section which are as under:-
(i)The agreement between the Landlord and tenant shall be in writing.
(ii) The Agreement should be registered or if such agreement not compulsory register able in any law, it shall be attested by the Rent Controller of the area within whose jurisdiction such premises/property is situated or any Civil Judge or First Class Magistrate.
(15) In this regard for convenience of the readers I desire to explain Registration Act 1908, has made certain documents which has to be registered compulsorily inter alia under Section 17 (d) of the Registration Act 1908, lease of immovable property from year to year; or for any term exceeding one year, or reserving a yearly rent has to be registered. A bare reading of the Act will reveal that it came into force about hundred years ago. The circumstances hundred years ago were definitely different in comparison to the prevailing circumstances.
But the Registration Act has not amended and people are bound to act upon the hundred years old law, which is ridiculous and on Unremdial problem.
(16) Section 6 of the Ordinance deals with Tenure of Tenancy.
No tenancy shall, at a time be valid beyond such period as the landlord and tenant, have, by mutual agreement, fixed before or after the commencement of the tenancy.
(17) No doubt this Section has made it clear that a tenant will not and can not remain in possession in the rented premises after expiration of the Tenancy Agreement. But practically there is no benefit of this Section because after expiration of the Tenancy Agreement the Tenant becomes the Statutory Tenant and can remain in possession of the rented premises without execution of any fresh Agreement of tenancy.
(18) Section 7 of the Ordinance deals with Rent of the rented premises. A landlord can not ask/charge any amount other then fixed/decided as rent. No landlord shall charge or receive rent, in respect of any premises, at the rate higher than that mutually agreed upon by the parties (Landlord & Tenant).
(19) This Section does not normally allow the landlord to compel the tenant for paying higher rent of the rented premises other than that agreed upon in the Rent agreement. If he does so it would be in sheer contravention of the terms and conditions of the agreement.
(20) However, their, is restriction under Section 7 of the Ordinance for asking/charging any amount other then fixed rent by the Landlord. But there are many ways for extorting money from the tenant such as maintenance charges, repairing charge for water pumping machine etc.
(21) Section 10 of the Ordinance deals with payment of Rent.
The rent shall, in the absence of any date fixed in this behalf by mutual agreement between the landlord and tenant, be paid not later than the 10th of the month ext following the month for which it is due.
(22) The rent shall, as far as may, be, be paid to the landlord, who shall acknowledge receipt thereof in writing.
(23) Where the land lord has refused or avoided to accept the rent, it may be sent to him by postal money order or be deposited with the Controller within whose jurisdiction the premises if situated. (The Controller mans Rent Controller who is of the Status of a Senior Civil Judge/First Class Civil Judge)
(24) The written acknowledgment postal money order receipt or receipt of the Controller, as the case many best shall be produced and accepted in proof of the payment of the rent.
(25) A bard reading of the above Section will reveal that the tenant is bound to pay the agreed rent to the landlord on or before 10th of succeeding month and the landlord is bound to issue a proper receipt the tenant.
To be continued … Source: The News, 12/10/2008