DRAWBACKS IN PUNJAB RENTED PREMISES ACT, 2009

Punjab Rented Premises Act, 2009 is suffering from the following drawbacks:–

  1. The requirement of tenancy agreement to be registered with Rent Registrar under Section 5 read with Section 17(2) is uncalled for when the same is required to be registered under the law relating to registration of documents.

Section 5 of the said Act requires a tenancy agreement to be presented before Rent Registrar who shall enter the particulars thereof in his register and affix his official seal thereon and retain a copy thereof and return the original tenancy agreement to the landlord and the tenancy agreement entered in the office of a Rent Registrar or a certified copy thereof shall be a proof of the relationship of landlord and tenant.

However sub-clause (3) of the said section provides that the entry of particulars of the tenancy shall not absolve the landlord or the of their liability to register the tenancy agreement under Registration Act, 1908.

There is an apparent contradiction in holding a tenancy agreement registered with the Rent Registrar to be proof of the tenancy on one hand and holding the same tenancy agreement to be not creating a tenancy in the absence of its registration, on the other. It is required to be done away with by dispensing with the registration of the tenancy agreement with the Rent Registrar and re-cast Section 5 as under.

  1. 5.Tenancy agreement between landlord and tenant.

“A landlord shall not let out premises to a tenant except by a tenancy agreement registered under Section 17(1)(d) of the Registration Act, 1908.”

Section 17 be deleted.

  1. Payment of fine as a penalty under Section 9 does not guarantee the success of the application filed by the landlord or by the tenant.

Section 9 provides that if the existing tenancy is not brought in conformity with the provisions of the Act within two years from the date of coming into force of the Act, as required by Section 8, then the Rent Tribunal shall not entertain an application on behalf of the tenant unless he pays a fine equivalent to five percent of the annual value of the rent and on behalf of landlord unless he pays a fine equivalent to 10% of the annual value of the rent.

The said provision is faulty for the following two reasons:–

(i)       It does not provide a mechanism whereby both the landlord and the tenant may be brought together to execute the tenancy agreement in terms of the existing tenancy and get the same registered under the Registration Act.

(ii)      It does not stop a party to the lis to raise objection as to the Section 9 itself being violative of Article 143 of the constitution of Pakistan, which provides that if the provincial legislation is in conflict with the central legislation then the provincial legislation, to the extent of inconsistency, will give way to the central legislation. In the present case Section 9 being inconsistent with Section 17(1)(d) of the Registration Act, 1908 will be invalid and the payment of penalty will go waste.

  1. Definition of “Final Order” in Section 2(b) of the Act does not fit in the context of substantive provisions of the Act.

The said definition has been used in Section 21(3)(b) with a phraseology of “and pass the final order”, in Section 22(6) with an emphatic tone” the Rent Tribunal shall pass the final order, in Section 24(4) again with an emphatic tone “the Rent Tribunal shall forthwith pass the final order”, in Section 27(1) “The Rent Tribunal shall pass a final order on an application as expeditious as possible”

The said definition gives rise to the following complications:

(i)       The all-embracing connotation of “Final Order” stands demolished with the use of “Order” in Section 31, dealing with execution proceedings.

The said section deals with execution of “Order” and not with the execution of “Final Order”. Conversely, no “Order” having been passed under the said Act there is nothing to be executed. “Final Order” on one hand and “Order” on the other are mutually destructive of each other. In such situation, the Act collapses as a whole.

(ii)      The extension part of the definition includes an “Order” in respect of adjustment of Pagri, advance rent, security, arrears of rent, compensation or costs, contemplates isolated decisions of the said matters, whereas these being the essential terms of tenancy agreement is to be decided under Section 21 red with grounds of eviction under Section 15, on reception of evidence of both the parties.

In order to forestall such a situation definition cross needs to be re-cast.

  1. Substitution of the word “in” by the word “before” in Section 22(2), and insertion of the word “to” after the word “as” and before the word “the” in Section 24(2) of the Act, is needed.

Authored By:
CH. MUHAMMAD BASHIR
Advocate, Faisalabad
(Ex. Member, Punjab Bar Council)

Note: This article was originally published in the PLJ Law Site. We are sharing it here for public information and knowledge.