Q 1 Is the order for eviction of a tenant binding on all sub-tenants?
A: Any order for eviction of a tenant shall be binding on all sub-tenants. They may not be parties to the proceedings. But it will not be binding if the order was obtained by fraud or collusion. If there exists a subletting agreement and the notice of sub-tenancy was given to the landlord he has to be made a party.
Q 2 Is there any mandate on the Rent Control Court in the Act with regard to passing of final orders?
A: There is no absolute mandate on the Rent Control Court with regard to passing final orders. It is required under S.24 the Court shall pass final orders within four months from the date of appearance of the parties. But the Court can always negotiate practicability. The words 'as far as practicable' in the section say so.
Q 3 How much power an Inspector appointed under this Act can exercise?
A: An inspector appointed under the Act may enter any premises with such assistance as he thinks necessary only for the purposes of any investigation or enquiry within his limits.
Q 4 Is there any duty on the landlords and tenants to furnish information with respect to the building?
A: The landlords and tenants are duty bound to furnish particulars in respect of the building as prescribed in the rules to the Accommodation Controller, the Rent Control Court or any person authorised in that behalf.
Q 5: How much the Civil Courts have jurisdiction?
A: The BRC Act is a self contained statute. But it extends to those areas specified therein. In other areas persons can approach the ordinary civil courts. But even if it is in specified area the jurisdiction of civil Court is not barred in matters regarding arrears of rent claimed by the landlord.
Q 6: What are the duties laid upon the civil Court as per the decision in Abdul Hakeem Haji v.Nandagopalan,
2004(3) KLT 797?
A: Proceedings under S.5 for fixation of fair rent pending before Civil Courts should be transmitted suo motu by Civil Courts to concerned Rent Control Courts. Civil Court is also bound to transmit all the records including the evidence taken so that the proceeding could be continued by the Rent Control Court with the evidence already on record or to be adduced by the parties.
Q 7: What was the decision laid down in Edger Ferus v. Abraham Ittycheria?
A: In Issac Ninan's case[1995(2)KLT 848] the Honourable High Court declared that provisions relating to fair rent, i.e., Sections 5,6 and 8 of the Act, put together are ultra vires of Constitution of India and are void. But unless S.5(1) is retained and necessary parameters are laid down for proper fixation of fair rent the intention and object of the Act would be defeated and the litigant public would be considerably prejudiced. Thus the doctrine of severability was laid down and severed S.5 (1) from other offending provisions which this Court has already struck down in Issac Ninan's case. Thus the Rent Control Court was enabled with power to fix fair rent. Even if there is no provision for periodical revision of the rent in the rent deed even then the landlord can approach the Rent Control Court for revision of rent. Rent Control Court while fixing fair rent could take note of the inflation and resultant reduction in the purchasing power of money, variations in the cost of living index in the area from the commencement of the lease, demand and availability of the buildings in the locality. The cost of construction of the building, labour and building materials, capital value of the entire premises in the enjoyment of the tenant inclusive of the value of the land under the actual enjoyment of the tenant, type of construction, locational importance, situations of the tenanted premises, ground floor, first floor etc. and other advantages and amenities, such as road access to places of public importance would also be guiding factors.It must take into consideration the prevailing rent in the locality for the same and similar accommodation. The type of construction, the amenities, provided in the building, the open land attached to the building are also to be considered. Annual rental value of the building at the time of filing the application for fair rent may also be taken as a guiding factor along with others. If any additional tax is imposed it has to be considered. Increase in the charge of electricity or water consumption by the tenant and landlord and increase on account of sufficient repairs would also be taken note of by the Rent Control Court.
Q 8: What was the finding in George v. Oommen,2005(2)KLT 92?
A: S.11(3) provides that the landlord may apply to the Rent Control Court for an order directing the tenant to put the landlord in possession of the building. But there is nothing contained in the Act which prohibits the tenant from vacating the premises on the request made by the landlord.Surrender of the building by the tenant at the request of the landlord, would only promote healthy business relations.It was also held that mere discontinuance of the business for a temporary period by the landlord is a ground for denying the benefit of S.11(3} in his favour.
Q 9: What are unconscionable rents?
A: It is defined u/S 2(7) as any rent which is more than double the maximum of the fair rent that could be fixed for a building u/S.5.