An increasing population in the urban areas has now become a major housing setback for those who wish to settle and to those already rooted in the town areas. As people look for houses, the rents seem to be on the rise.
As per the Tenancy Act of Bhutan, it is permitted for the owner to increase the house rent only after two years from the day a tenant steps in. In which the increase in rent shall not exceed 10% of the house rent.
The experiences of people staying in rental houses says otherwise. Sangay Dorji, a 35 year old private worker who resides in Olakha said that his landlords charge him differently compared to the other tenants. “I recently moved into a flat for which the previous tenants were paying Nu. 7,500 but after I moved in, they increased the rent to 8,000. I did not know that the change in rent applied only to me, other tenants only paid 7500,” he added.
22 year old Tenzin Dolma spent 4 months looking for a bachelor quarter to stay in but with a regular pay scale she says she cannot afford a house with 2 or 3 bedrooms. “The bachelor flats are usually unreasonable and inconvenient and the rents are sky high” she says.
Another scenario is that, although the owners follow the tenancy act by increasing 10% of the rent, the interior of house gets no better.
“We stayed in the same house for over 5 years and recently they [house owners] decided to hike the rent but without any remodeling it,” said Devi, a shop owner and mother of two.
According to the MoWHS legal Assistant, Mr. Leki Dorji, the idea of increasing rent by 10% every 2 years is for maintaining normal wear and tear. “An understanding should be there between the tenants and the house owner.” The increment is so that the house can be maintained by the owner with the extra amount a tenant pays after the increment.
“A tenant can complain to the concerned authority like the tenancy authority in Thromde, Gewog authority or Dzongkhag authority if they have any complaints about rent, safety and other issues which are rectified given the feasibility” he said adding that the Thromde usually does the assessment and if the acts are not followed then the house owners are denied the occupancy certificate.