BENGALURU: High Court recently asked a petitioner to approach the housing department to frame guidelines and policies to prevent payment of 10 months’ rent as advance amount, which is charged from tenants by the landlords in the garb of security deposit.
“We feel that justice will be sub served if we dispose of the writ petition by granting liberty to the petitioner to make representation to the secretary, Department of Housing. If such a representation is submitted, within four weeks the secretary shall consider and dispose it in accordance with law after giving opportunity of hearing to all the persons concerned,” the division bench said on Tuesday.
The division bench of Chief Justice Subhro Kamal Mukherjee and Justice R B Budihal issued this direction while disposing of the PIL filed by Dove Drive Without Borders Foundation, a city-based NGO.
According to the petitioner, the practice of seeking 10 months’ rent as interest-free refundable security deposit is unique to Bengaluru and Mumbai. This often leads to exploitation of the tenants at the hands of the landlords, they contended. The tenant is left at the mercy of the landlord for the refund of the amount at the time of termination of agreement. Often, huge amount of money is retained by the landlord under one pretext or the other, they said. Hence there should be a law to regulate security deposit, they added.
Not more than 3 months’ rent
The petitioner said that in 2011 as well as in 2015, realising the gravity of the problem, the Union government had drafted model tenancy laws. In both these model laws, there is a clear prohibition on landlords seeking security deposits in excess of three months’ rent. However, the state has failed to bring about any law that could protect the rights of the tenants.
According to Section 12 of the Model Residential Tenancy Act, 2011, it is unlawful to charge a security deposit in excess of three times the monthly rent.