How Can Tenants Avoid Unfair Charges Imposed By The Law?
The fees that housing societies charge their tenants are governed by a set of rules. However, occasionally they have a tendency to charge arbitrary sums above the established taxes. You must remain knowledgeable about your rights as a tenant and object to such unjust actions.
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As soon as you rent an apartment in a community, you join that micro-demographic as a valuable contributor. Therefore, it only seems sense that society would expect you to contribute to maintaining the facilities at your disposal. The Model Tenancy Act was created by the Central Government to resolve market distortions relating to security deposits, untimely evictions, and the arbitrary imposition of various levies. This Act has various sections that safeguard tenants’ rights and give them recourse for legal action through a Rent Court.
Occurrences of arbitrary charges to renters
- Clubhouse usage fees, even if the tenant lacks an ID card provided by the clubhouse.
- Non-occupancy fees, which the landlord must reimburse the society by law
- Higher maintenance fees than the owner intended. Only if the society can present an exceptional circumstance to the sub-registrar, is the society permitted to charge the renter a maximum 10% higher fee.
These unlawful activities against tenants may be carried out directly by housing societies, or they may compel the landlord to impose additional fees.
What to do to prevent being conned
Clarifying the situation with the owner
Your rights, if you are a tenant in a society member’s apartment, largely depend on the type of agreement you have, such as a rental or a leave-and-license agreement. The former is significantly better able to safeguard your rights as a renter than the latter. This is so because the rental agreement is governed by the state’s rent law and rent control law. The following are some actions a renter could take:
- To prevent the society from ultimately charging you for these repairs. You must establish a schedule in the agreement under which the owner will visit the property to check it and determine whether any repairs are necessary.
- Ask the owner to fix a time range within which the repair work shall get done. If the owner doesn’t make the repairs within this time frame, you’re free to take care of them yourself and deduct the cost from the rent you owe.
- Once the agreement has been drafted to your satisfaction. You should have it registered with the Sub-office Registrar’s so that the owner or the housing organisation cannot take advantage of you in any manner.
Taking care of the housing society
As a tenant, it is incumbent upon you as a tenant, it is incumbent upon you as a tenant. As a tenant, it is incumbent upon you as a tenant, you, as a tenant, it is incumbent upon you as tenant. The following information can assist you in negotiating with the housing society regarding such erroneous charges:
- Because societies are leery of the presence of renters who are bachelors. They may charge you extra under the guise of providing extra protection. As a result, you must insert clauses in the contract that defend you against this fee.
- The National Cooperative Housing Federation of India (NCHFI), of which the majority of housing societies in India are members, has bylaws that must be followed. The renter may ask the society to identify the specific bye-laws section under which a given arbitrary fee was imposed.
- According to the Draft Model Tenancy Act of 2015, the housing society cannot request a security deposit directly from the tenant unless otherwise specified in the rental agreement. The security deposit might be up to twice the monthly rent, at the owner’s discretion.
Legal action in the event of a disagreement
- The draught Model Tenancy Act has established a robust grievance Redressal system, consisting of a trinity of the Rent Authority, Rent Court, and Rent Tribunal, which helps resolve issues swiftly, if the owner or the housing organisation is in conflict with the tenant.
- A complaint must first be made to the Rent Authority by the offended tenant.
- Within 30 days of the order’s issuance, the complaint has the option of appealing the Authority’s decision if it does not satisfy them. They can do this in either the Rent Court or the Rent Tribunal.
- Within 60 days after the day the order was issued, the Rent Court & Rent Tribunal must be able to conclude the case.
- Tenants should approach the Consumer or Civil Court with the owner if they are not satisfied with the Rent Court or Tribunal’s decision. As they are unable to do so on their own because they are not members of the housing society. As the consumer and the courts handle cases from a variety of other sectors outside of real estate issues, this procedure could take some time.
The draught Model Tenancy Act by the Central Government recognizes the many issues that tenants encounter and grants them sufficient rights.
However, because land is a matter of State and the aforementioned Tenancy Act is a “Model” Act, not all States may choose to follow it or, even if they do, certain alterations may take place. Overall, though, it can be concluded that tenants will benefit from this Act. The Model Tenancy Act is currently being adopted by some towns and States. Including Chandigarh and Madhya Pradesh, and once other States do the same. It will help keep unethical activities like charging arbitrary amounts under check.
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