Tenants awaits Tenancy Act revision

People who rent houses and apartments across the country are eagerly waiting for the new government to fulfill its pledge on the revision of the Tenancy Act.

People’s Democratic Party (PDP), during its campaign, pledged to revise the Tenancy Act in order make it more practical and implementable.

A provision under the Tenancy Act of Bhutan 2004 states that the owner shall not increase the rent before two years from the day on which a new tenant occupies the house. It further states that the increment of rent shall not exceed 10% of the monthly rent. The Act also states the rent for the leased land may be revised as specified in the lease agreement.

Talking to some of the tenants, almost all of them said, expectations are more from the new government to bring in the positive changes in the interest of the common people. Most expressed how the revision of the Tenancy Act would benefit common people. They say nothing better could happen than revising the Act. “That is if the house owners follow it, or else it is of no use as it cannot be implemented,” a tenant said.

Sonam Tshering, an employee in a private firm said, “Even with the existence of the Tenancy Act, landlords simply ignore it by citing inflation among other reasons”. “Current Tenancy Act didn’t serve any purpose,” he added.

Yonten working in Bhutan Development Bank Limited (BDBL) also pointed out that implementation is the main problem and when the Act gets revised, he said implementation rules need to be strict.

He said land lords tend to increase the rent as soon as they hear of inflation or salary hikes. He said the tenants have to pay up as they are helpless. “We are left with no options and it’s not easy to get a house in Thimphu,” he said.

Pema Cheki, 24, said, her house owner used to increase the rent on yearly basis. She said the revision of the existing Tenancy Act has to be practical and implementable, as promised by new government.

While for Tashi Gyeltshen from Lhuentse said, “It will be of immense benefit to the tenants like us because once it is revised in a reasonable form, house owners will have to comply.” “Land lords might be barred from increasing the rental rates as and when they feel like doing so,” he said.

Meanwhile, the list of ministers in the new government was recently declared. The new government has yet to complete all formalities like selecting the Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the Parliament before tackling the issues.

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