Ten­ancy agree­ments to be com­pul­so­rily reg­is­tered un­der new Ma­ha­rash­tra Rent Con­trol Act

Accommodation Times - - Legal - By M.S. Khan, Ad­vo­cate, (Ex. Com­pe­tent Au­thor­ity, Rent Act, Konkan Di­vi­sion, Mum­bai).

At last, the new uni­fied Ma­ha­rash­tra Rent Con­trol Bill has been passed by the Ma­ha­rash­tra Leg­is­la­ture. It is learnt that the bill is sent for the as­sent of the Pres­i­dent. Af­ter the sig­na­ture of the Pres­i­dent of In­dia, it will be­come and Act and will come into force on such date as may be no­ti­fied by the Gov­ern­ment in the Gazette. Un­der Sec­tion 55, all ten­ancy agree­ments, in­clud­ing leave and li­cence agree­ments, must be in writ­ing and are to be com­pul­so­rily reg­is­tered af­ter the com­mence­ment of the Act. It will be the re­spon­si­bil­ity of the land­lord to get such writ­ten agree­ments reg­is­tered. If he fails to get the agree­ments reg­is­tered, the con­tention of the ten­ant about its terms and con­di­tion shall pre­vail, un­less proved oth­er­wise. Fur­ther, if the land­lord fails to register the agree­ment, he shall be pun­ished with im­pris­on­ment which may ex­tend to three months or with fine upto five thou­sand ru­pees or with both, un­der Sub-Sec­tion (3) of the said Sec­tion 55. The Joint Com­mit­tee on the Bill, in its Re­port dt. 20th April 1999, has also ob­served that the Com­mit­tee has unan­i­mously de­cided to pro­tect all the ex­ist­ing ten­ancy be­fore the date of com­mence­ment of this Act, but af­ter the com­mence­ment of this Act, there should be no ten­ancy with­out agree­ment. Ev­ery such ten­ancy agree­ment has to be reg­is­tered and the re­spon­si­bil­ity of get­ting such agree­ments reg­is­tered should be on the land­lord. If the ten­ancy is cre­ated with­out reg­is­tered agree­ment, there will be no pro­tec­tion of law and the land­lord con­tra­ven­ing these pro­vi­sion on con­vic­tion be pun­ished with im­pris­on­ment as laid down in Sec­tion 55 (3) of the Act. This ap­pears to be a ma­jor de­par­ture from the pre­vi­ous pro­vi­sions re­lat­ing to the agree­ments of ten­ancy and the leave and li­cence agree­ments. The pros­e­cu­tion and pun­ish­ment for non-reg­is­tra­tion of agree­ments by the land­lords ap­pear to be very harsh. No land­lord would be pleased to give his hard earned flat to the ten­ant/li­censee and would like to go to jail for non-reg­is­tra­tion of the agree­ment. He will rather be happy to keep the premises va­cant in­stead of giv­ing it ei­ther on rent or on leave and li­cence ba­sis. This will cause acute short­age of the stock of houses avail­able. There is ev­ery pos­si­bil­ity that if the land­lord has given the premises with­out reg­is­tra­tion of agree­ment, he will try to use force to get back the pos­ses­sion. The lit­i­ga­tion in the Court may be min­imised, but law­less­ness is likely to be in­creased which is not healthy a sign be­tween the re­la­tion­ship of land­lords and ten­ants. Another dif­fi­culty in reg­is­tra­tion of such agree­ment would be that so many leave and li­cence agree­ments are ex­e­cuted each day. The of­fice of the Sub-Reg­is­trar is al­ready over bur­dened. The of­fice takes suf­fi­cient long time for the re­turn of reg­is­tered doc­u­ments, and these agree­ments reg­is­tra­tion will be then ad­di­tional bur­den. No ma­chin­ery is pro­vided in the act for reg­is­tra­tion of such agree­ment with penalty may ad­versely ef­fect their re­la­tions. I think, other States have not made such pro­vi­sion in their re­spec­tive Rent Act leg­is­la­tions for the com­pul­sory reg­is­tra­tion of ten­ancy agree­ment with penalty. If any other state has en­acted such pro­vi­sions, it would be use­ful to ex­am­ine its re­sult and con­se­quences in re­la­tion be­tween the land­lord and the ten­ant.

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