Miss Bhumika Sharma* and

Mr. Karan Chandel

“Rent controls were introduced in the early 1900s in the United States and some other parts of the world to check uninhibited rent increases and tenant eviction during wartime housing emergencies. After World War II, there was a sudden increase in the demand for rentable housing from soldiers returning home. With industrialization and corresponding urbanization, there was an increase in rural-urban migrations. To prevent rents from rising too much owing to this spurt in demand, Rent Control Acts, under various names were introduced in many countries. These were called the first-generation rent controls. Those introduced later were called the second-generation rent controls or soft rent controls, because they provided for some leeway in rent increases and tenant landlord relationship.”[1]

1. Supreme Court and rent laws

In Joginder Pal vs. Naval Kishore Behal[2] 

The rent control legislations are heavily loaded in favour of the tenants treating them as weaker sections of the society requiring legislative protection against exploitation and unscrupulous devices of greedy landlords. The legislative intent has to be respected by the courts while interpreting the laws. But it is being uncharitable to legislatures if they are attributed with an intention that they lean only in favour of the tenants and while being fair to the tenants, go to the extent of being unfair to the landlords. The legislature is fair to the tenants and to the landlords – both. The courts have to adopt a reasonable and balanced approach while interpreting rent control legislations starting with an assumption that an equal treatment has been meted out to both the sections of the society. In spite of the overall balance tilting in favour of the tenants, while interpreting such of the provisions as take care of the interest of the landlord the court  should not hesitate in leaning in favour of the landlords. Such provisions are engrafted in rent control legislations to take care of those situations where the landlords too are weak and feeble and feel humble.

*  B.A.L.L.B(Hons.), Shimla

** B.A.L.L.B(Hons.), Shimla

In Satyawati Sharma (Dead) by LRs v. Union of India & Another[3]

Statutory protection to a tenant cannot be extended to such an extent that the landlord is precluded from evicting the tenant for the rest of his life even when he bona fide requires the premises for his personal use and occupation. It is not the tenants but the landlords who are suffering great hardships because of the amendment. A landlord may genuinely like to let out a shop till the time he bona fide needs the same.

In Amarjit Singh vs. Smt. Khatoon  Quamarin[4]

Tenants of non-residential premises are a class by themselves. The Parliament in its legislative wisdom did not think it fit to make any provision for eviction of a tenant from such premises on the ground of bona fide requirement of the landlord for residential purpose.

 2. HP Urban Rent Control Act, 1987

2.1 Duties of landlord and complementary rights of tenant


2.1.1 Duties of landlord


(i) Regarding fair rent

When the Controller has fixed the fair rent of a building or rented land under section 4, the landlord shall not claim anything in excess of fair rent.[5]

He shall not claim or receive any rent in excess of the fair rent, notwithstanding any agreement to it. [6] He shall not  in consideration of the grant, renewal or continuance of a tenancy or sub-tenancy of any building or rented land, claim or receive payment of any premium, pugree, fine advance or any other like sum in addition to the rent.[7]

(ii) To keep the building or rented land ill good repairs [8]

Every landlord shall be bound to keep the building or rented land in good and tenantable repairs.

(iii) Not to cut off or withhold any essential supply or service enjoyed by the tenant [9]

No landlord either himself or through any person purporting to act on his behalf shall, without just and sufficient cause cut off or withhold any essential supply or service enjoyed by the tenant in respect of the building or rented land let out to him.

(iv) To occupy vacated premises [10]

On obtaining eviction orders from Controller, the landlord as the case may be has to occupy vacated premises within 12 months of eviction order and not let it out to any tenant other than the tenant evicted from it.

 (v) To present bonafide claims only

He should not file frivolous or vexatious application for eviction of tenant.[11]

2.1.2        Rights of tenant


(i) To make the repairs himself or apply to the Controller for permission to get such repairs done[12]

The tenant may make the same himself and deduct the expenses of such repairs from the rent or otherwise recover them from the landlord.

Where any repairs without which the building or rented land is no longer habitable or useable, except with undue inconvenience, are to be made and the landlord neglects or fails to make them after receiving notice in writing, the tenant may apply to the Controller for permission to get such repairs done on his own and may submit to the Controller an estimate of the cost of such repairs.

(ii) To file for restoration of possession after prescribed period

He can after lapse of 15 months of eviction order passed against him and failure of landlord to occupy within that time can approach the Controller for restoration of possession.[13]

(iii) To get compensation

If the landlord files frivolous or vexatious application for his eviction, the controller may grant him compensation worth Rs 500. [14]


(iv) To recover excess rent within one year from payment[15]

He or his legal representative can recover any sum has been paid which sum is by reason of the provisions of this Act not payable from the landlord who received the payment or his legal representative. Such sum may, without prejudice to any other method of recovery, be deducted by such tenant from any rent payable within such one year by him to such landlord.


(v) To obtain receipt for the amount paid[16]

Every tenant who makes payment of rent to his landlord shall be entitled to obtain forthwith from the landlord or his authorised agent a written receipt for the amount paid to him duly signed by the landlord or his authorized agent.

2.1.3        Duties of landlord and complementary rights of tenant


(i) To pay rent [17]

Every tenant shall pay rent within the time fixed by contract or in the absence of such contract, by the fifteenth day of the month next following the month for which it is payable.

(ii) To deposit  rent with the Controller , where the landlord does not accept rent

Where the landlord does not accept any rent tendered by the tenant within the time referred to in Section 20 or refuses or neglects to deliver a receipt referred to therein ,  tenant may deposit such rent with the Controller in the prescribed manner.[18]

The deposit shall be accompanied by an application by the tenant containing the following particulars, namely: the building or rented land for which the rent is deposited with a description sufficient for identifying the building or rented land ; the period for which the rent is deposited ; the name and address of the landlord or the persons claiming to be entitled to such rent ; and such other particulars as may be prescribed.[19]

2.2 Power of controller to determine or fix rent[20]

S.No Status of Rented land or building Basis of determining rent Sub-sections
1 Regarding which application submitted after commencement of the Act Enquiry held by the Controller Section 4(1)
2 Which is constructed on or before 25-01-1971 Rent prevailing in the locality Section 4(2) (a)
3 Which is constructed on or after 25-01-1971 – Rent agreed upon between tenant

      and landlord or

– Rent prevailing in the locality

Section 4(2 )(b)


2.3 Grounds of eviction[21]



Arrears of rent Residential building required for own use Building has become unsafe or unfit for human habitation
Subletting or use for purpose other than mentioned without written consent of landlord Building required for Use by son:

  • Office
  • Consulting room
  • Residence
Building is required to be constructed or repaired
Impairment in value or utility Rented land for own use, construction or establishment of industry Rented land or building required for building or re-building or making substantial additions or alterations
Cease to occupy Rented land required to carry out building work at the instance of Government Tenant no longer in service or employment of landlord by virtue of which he was provided residence
Renting out at higher rent Member of Armed Forces (serving under special conditions or posted in non-family station) requires for occupation of his family


[1] Paramita Datta Dey  & Satvik Dev, “RENT CONTROL LAWS IN INDIA : A CRITICAL ANALYSIS”;

[2] 2002 (5) SCC 397

[3] Appeal (civil)  1897 of 2003] decided on 16/04/2008

[4] 1986 (4) SCC 736]

[5] HP Urban Rent Control Act,1987; Section 7

[6] Ibid; Section 8 (1)

[7] Ibid; Section 8 (2)

[8] Ibid; Section 13(1)

[9] Ibid; Section 11(1)

[10]  Ibid; Section 14(5)

[11]  Ibid; Section 14 (7)

[12]  Ibid; Section 13(2),(3)

[13] Ibid; Section 14(5)

[14] Ibid; Section 14 (7)

[15] Ibid; Section 9

[16] Ibid; Section 20(2)

[17] Ibid; Section 20(1)

[18] Ibid; Section 21(1)

[19] Ibid; Section 21(2)

[20] Ibid;; Section 4

[21] Ibid; Section 14(1), (2),(3),(4)