The Model Tenancy Act approved by the Union Cabinet on Wednesday is a laudable step towards ironing out some major kinks that beset a large chunk of the owner-tenant community under the existing legal framework. Chandigarh has done well to adopt it immediately. The other states and UTs should incorporate it, too, with provisions suited to their local markets. The letter and spirit of the new Act is to restore trust and balance in this potentially volatile owner-occupant relationship by encompassing the safety measures essential to both parties for a symbiotic growth. The mutually beneficial terms and conditions laid out in the Act along with separate rent authorities and courts envisaged for speedy resolution of tenancy issues are the reforms whose need has been felt for a long time. They are directed at pulling the rental sector out of a dispute-riddled quagmire.
At present, in the absence of a mandatory written agreement to be registered with the authorities, as also the costly and protracted system of judicial reprieve, often it is money and muscle power that tend to shift advantage. Generally, depending on who is at the receiving end, either the landlady feels robbed of her returns from a hard-earned investment (a factor crucial in a poor social security ambience) or a needy tenant, commercial or residential, finds himself/herself extorted of funds or evicted from the premises.
The Act aims to protect the two parties by addressing such loopholes. The rent deed binds them against taking such harsh steps as levying huge security deposits or withholding essential supplies as also not paying rent, subletting or overstaying the tenancy period. But the proof of its efficacy lies in the implementation. The authorities need to facilitate the execution of the new rules at once. These confidence-building measures are bound to have a positive impact on real estate. In a trustworthy legal environment, more proprietors can be expected to unlock their properties for tenants and developers to invest in rental apartments. The inclusive atmosphere will ease the problem of housing shortage, and lead to a stabilising of rates.