Rent Control and related developments

There is a certain segment of the population, which, in practice, avoids many of the provisions of the Rent Control Legislations, despite being under its legal jurisdiction. The landlord avoids the fixation of standard rents in many cases by entering into an oral contract with the tenant. Alternatively, the money exchanges hands at the time of the tenancy contract, and standard rent is charged.

The uncontrolled market for real estate in Kerala consists of

• Properties owned by the government or its designated agencies
• Properties exempted under the Act, such as new constructions for a specified period or properties carrying rent above a specified amount
• Sublet houses of public authorities
• Houses in the unauthorized colonies or squatter settlements

In the case of the prominent cities in Kerala, the study by the National Institute of Urban Affairs estimates the uncontrolled portion of the rental market to be of the order of 64 percent, including 41 percent of the people living in squatter settlements and unauthorized colonies. The rents in (c) and (d) of this market are naturally higher than in the strictly controlled market.

It has been noted that most of the legislations enacted to regulate urban development remain mostly on paper. The Rent Control Act has already lost its teeth because of the numerous loopholes and the lack of awareness of its various clauses among the common people. When a high rent is being charged, which is much higher than the limit prescribed by the government, no one is willing to protest or report it not only due to ignorance of the laws, but also due to the fear of losing a housing amenity at the desired locality.


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