Rent control act will not be amended in Maharashtra

From ET Realty

MUMBAI: The Maharashtra government has decided against amending the Rent Control Act (1999), which would have made certain commercial establishments and tenants in residential homes, mostly in island city, pay market rates, apparently after buckling under pressure ahead of civic polls.

The amendment would have excluded all commercial establishments occupying more than 500 sq ft from the protection under the Act that prohibits landlords from levying market rents.

Besides, it would have also made all those, who have taken such commercial establishments on rent and also those living as tenants in residential homes that are bigger than 862 sq ft, pay contemporary rates as sought by landlords.

State Housing Minister Prakash Mehta has clarified that no proposal will be moved for amending the Act, BJP Mumbai president Ashish Shelar said here today.

Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis yesterday assured a delegation of tenants’ associations that his government will not make any amendments to the Act, said state unit BJP President Raosaheb Danve.

Danve said the CM has assured that the government has no plans to make any changes in the Rent Act and that government would stand by the tenants.

“There was no such proposal before the government to hike the rents of tenanted properties,” said BJP MLA Raj Purohit.

BJP MLA Mangal Prabhat Lodha, who represents Malabar Hill seat in South Mumbai, said the government had rejected the proposal to hike rents way back in May 2015.

“Following the atmosphere of fear created in people by the opposition, the Minister for Housing Prakash Mehta has assured that there will be no hike in rents and that no tenant will be evicted from their tenanted homes,” he said.

Lodha and Purohit accused rival political parties of creating a “fear psychosis” among tenants by exaggerating the issue.

Lodha denied that the move had anything to do with the polls to Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM), slated for next year.

Purohit said the ‘Mumbai Bhadekaru Ekta Sangh’ was pursuing a case in Supreme Court over the issue of rent and ownership.

He said the state government had last year rejected the Centre’s Model Rent Control Act. “BJP would fight for granting ownership rights to the tenants,” Purohit added.

Besides NCP and the Congress, the legislators of Shiv Sena and even BJP have welcomed the development as victory for Mumbaikars.

In a statement released here today, Mumbai unit NCP president Sachin Ahir said the government’s move not to amend the Rent Act is a victory for Mumbaikars.

“It was NCP which first launched the agitation which forced the government to retract,” he claimed.

Leader of Opposition in Legislative Assembly, Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil said, “whether the BJP and Shiv Sena are running the government or they are indulging in a child’s play.”

“The issue has been on the boil for last four to five days and yesterday all of a sudden the government announced that there was no proposal before it to hike the rents,” he said.

State unit NCP president Sunil Tatkare said the government has of late developed a habit of not taking note of future consequences before taking decisions and then retracting them.

Yuva Sena president Aaditya Thackeray tweeted that the Opposition from Sena and other political parties forced the government to scrap the policy.

After voicing Sena’s opposition and holding demonstrations on streets and launching a signature drive against the unjust amendments the government has scrapped the policy.

Aaditya, son of Sena president Uddhav Thackeray, stated that the proposed changes in the Act would have made it non- affordable for lakhs of Mumbaikars to live in the city.

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