At long last, the Union Cabinet has approved the long-pending Model Tenancy Act. The Indian States and Union Territories can now accordingly adapt and enact new laws or amend their current rental laws to dovetail with the Act.
The Model Tenancy Act will help bridge the trust deficit between tenants and landlords by clearly delineating their obligations and will eventually help unlock vacant houses across the country. To ensure speedy redressal of disputes, the Act also proposes to establish a separate Rent Court and Rent Tribunal in every state/UTs to hear appeals for matters connected to rental housing.
This Act can fuel the rental housing supply pipeline by attracting more investors, and more rental housing stock will help students, working professionals and migrant populations to find urban accommodation (especially in COVID-19-like exigencies). Once implemented in all fairness across states, it will go a long way in formalising and stabilising the rental market. It would also revive the fortunes of not just the rental market but the housing sector at large.
However, even while the Model Tenancy Act is a step in the right direction (providing a clear roadmap for states to follow) it will remain to be seen to what extent the states will toe the central government’s line.