India Considers Easing of Rent Control Laws

Modifying rent control act would ease housing shortage

By Indo Asian News Service | IANS India Private Limited – Sat 22 Sep, 2012

 

New Delhi (IANS)- To help bridge the housing shortage of over 18 million units, the government is planning to modify the rent control law to encourage owners to rent out their homes.

Stating this at a press conference to release a panel report on urban housing shortage, Minister of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation Selja said she has “discussed with state governments the need for a relook at the archaic rent control act”. This would help bring about 11 million houses lying vacant into use for occupation. “Mutual contract should be effective in settling the rent,” the minister said.

Another proposal is to include the builder lobby in constructing houses for the poor sections, which would help bridge the housing shortage for the economically weaker sections – at over 10 million, and the lower income group – at over seven million.

“Housing should be made part of the infrastructure sector or declared an industry,” Selja said, adding that it should be made lucrative for the construction lobby to build houses for the weaker sections.

Another proposal is that houses that are over 80 years old – 2.2 million – should be shifted to new units.

Another proposal is to address congestion – of a married couple having perforce to share a room with another adult due to shortage of space. The 15 million households facing congestion would be enabled to “create extra space or build extra rooms through support from public agencies”.

 

Source: Indo Asian News Service

 

 

Rent-increase complaints on rise, city councillor says

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July 28, 2012 – 4:16am BY MICHAEL LIGHTSTONE STAFF REPORTER

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John MacDonnell, the cabinet minister responsible for the Residential Tenancies Act, said in May that reviewing rent control was not on his list of priorities. (TIM KROCHAK / Staff / File)

Minister says issue not a priority.

Provincial cabinet minister John MacDonell has said his office hasn’t received many complaints about rent increases. But a Halifax councillor says she has.

“This is an issue that has been going on since January, which I brought to the attention of the (provincial) government awhile ago,” Dawn Sloane said Friday.

At first, she said she heard from one or two people.

“Then it became four or five, then six or seven, then 20. And it keeps accumulating, in the number of individuals who are looking at these rate hikes.”

The late John Savage’s former Liberal government dissolved rent control in Nova Scotia in 1993.

MacDonnell, the cabinet minister responsible for the Residential Tenancies Act, said in May that reviewing rent control was not on his list of priorities.

“If I was getting inundated with complaints, I might consider this as a much bigger issue,” he said in the spring. “In my department, we’ve only received two or three complaints in six months.”

A spokeswoman for Premier Darrell Dexter said this week the government has no plans to resurrect rent control.

“It is not something the province is considering,” Jennifer Stewart told The Chronicle Herald.

Sloane, who represents downtown Halifax on regional council and is running in the new Peninsula North district, said many seniors, people on fixed incomes and disabled tenants need help when faced with rent increases.

Coun. Sue Uteck (Northwest Arm-South End) has also urged the NDP government to take a look at the rent control issue.

Source: TheChronicleHerald.ca

Landlords must be aware of rent control regime

Royal Gazette Online

Neil Molyneux | Published Jul 23, 2012 at 8:00 am

The objectives of Bermuda’s rent control regime are to provide tenants with security of tenure so that a court order is required to evict a tenant and also to prevent landlords from arbitrarily and unfairly increasing a tenant’s rent payments. In this column, I will address the latter objective.

Currently, residential properties with an annual rental value (“ARV”) threshold of $27,000 or less fall under the rent control regime. Previous AVR thresholds have been set at $24,000 or less, $16,200 or less and $9,900 or less.

A property can easily fall into or out of rent control, either when the threshold itself is altered, or when the ARV of a property is altered. The best way to check if a property is or has ever been rent controlled, is to contact the Office of the Rent Commissioner.

A property rented for the first time (eg a newly-constructed unit), may be rented for any amount, even if the property falls under rent control. Subsequent rent increases, whether to the same or to a different tenant, are restricted. In those cases, rent should not be higher than the rent charged to the first tenant of a rent-controlled property (even if by a previous owner/landlord) unless:

– the landlord and tenant have agreed an increase, following which the landlord has lodged notice with the Rent Commissioner, and the landlord holds a copy of such notice, duly endorsed by the Rent Commissioner, and

– the landlord has received the Rent Commissioner’s approval for an increase.

If a landlord applies for an increase to a tenanted, rent-controlled property, the Rent Commissioner consults with the tenant. If there is no tenant, then the landlord simply makes application to the Rent Commissioner, who makes the determination.

If a landlord or a tenant is dissatisfied with the Rent Commissioner’s determination, either may lodge an application for review by the Rent Commissioner. In such a case, the Rent Commissioner shall consult the Rent Increases Advisory Panel and then make his final determination.

A prospective tenant cannot agree a rent increase to a rent-controlled property. In such a circumstance, a landlord should lodge an application for increase with the Rent Commissioner.

Often a landlord does not know of the last authorised rent because the landlord is a new owner, or has simply lost track (eg with the property falling into and out of rent control over time). In the former case, a new landlord must beware if a previous landlord unlawfully increased rent, the current landlord may be penalised, even where he had no knowledge of the unlawful increase.

Contravention of rent control can result in criminal prosecution, or in a tenant’s claim for up to two years’ rent paid in excess of the controlled rent. Continue reading