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বাংলা
Dhaka Tribune

Legal tips: tenants have rights too

Update : 31 Jul 2013, 03:33 PM
Statistic shows that nearly 85% people in Dhaka city are living as renters. Many of them are not familiar with the law relating to rental fees of properties. Hence they are often harassed and sometimes cheated by some unscrupulous landowners.   We have the Premises Rent Control Act, 1991 in place to regulate rents of premises. Let us now see what are the rights that renters have under the law.   Advance payment According to Section 10 of the act, landowners are not allowed to claim any premium, salami, security or any other sum in addition to the rent for granting, renewal or continuance of a tenancy of any premises. However, with the previous consent of the controller, who is appointed by the government under this act, landowners may claim one month's rent of such premises as rent in advance.   Receipt for paid rents According to Section 13 of the act, where a tenant has paid his rent, the landlord shall give forthwith to the renter a signed receipt for the rent. The landlord shall also retain a counterpart of the receipt.   Restriction on increasing of rent According to Section 16 of the Act, landlords are not allowed to increase the rent of the premises for two years once the standard rent, fixed by the controller, takes effect. The standard rent can be refixed only after two years. Section 8 and 9 of the act provides exception to this general rule. According to these sections, a landlord may claim an additional sum if any addition, improvement or alteration, not included in necessary repairs, has been made to the premises to the landlord's expense or any furniture has been supplied by the landlord.   Determining the standard rent The controller appointed by this act, upon an application made by the landlord or tenant, shall determine the standard rent of any premises at an amount per annum which shall be equivalent to 15% of the market-value of the premises, says Section 15 of the act.   Maintenance and repairs Section 21 of the act requires landlords to maintain the premises in a livable condition for the tenant. Landowners are also bound to make necessary repairs to the premises let by them or to take any measures for the maintenance of any essential supply including the maintenance of supply of water or electricity, the maintenance of drainage service and the maintenance of any lift, which the landlord is bound to maintain in the premises let by him under the conditions of the contract or according to local usage. If the landlord fails to make such repairs, the tenant may himself make such repairs and submit to the controller a statement of the cost thereof.   Eviction from the premises No tenant shall be evicted from the premises as long as he/she pays rent to the full extent and performs the conditions of the contract, says Section 18(1) of the act. Even if the ownership of the premises gets changed, the tenant shall not be evicted as long as the he/she pays rent to the full extent and performs the conditions of the contract, says Section 18(2) of the act.   Penalties for infringement of the provisions of the act   Section 23 of the act provides for penalties for infringement of any provision of the act. It says: If any landowner knowingly takes rent in excess of the standard rent, he will be liable on the first occasion to a fine which may extend to twice the amount recovered in excess of the standard rent, and on every subsequent occasion to a fine which may extend to three times the amount of such excess. If any landlord receives or asks for, whether directly or indirectly, any premium, salami, security or any other like sum in addition to the standard rent for any reason, he will be liable on the first occasion to a fine which may extend to Tk2000 and on every subsequent occasion to a fine which may extend to Tk5000. If any landlord receives any sum as rent in advance in excess of one month's rent without the written consent of the controller, he will be liable on the first occasion to a fine which may extend to twice the amount received in excess of one month's rent, and on every subsequent occasion to a fine which may extend to three times the amount received in excess of one month's rent.
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