ISLAMABAD: The Senate Standing Committee on Interior on friday approved the Islamabad Rent Restriction Amendment Bill 2020 to protect the rights of tenants and landlords alike.

The committee met at the old Pips Hall of Parliament Lodges with Senator Mohsin Aziz in the chair. The bill was moved by Senator Seemi Ezdi.

Earlier, the bill was approved by National Assembly Standing Committee and then by the National Assembly. Subsequently, it was tabled before Senate which referred it to the committee. Now the bill will be placed before the Senate for final approval. Amending the Islamabad Rent Restriction Ordinance 2001 had been a longstanding demand of tenants and landlords.

The amended bill states that every agreement between landlord and tenant shall be presented before the rent controller for record keeping while any payment related to tenancy agreement shall be made through cross cheque and or with an official receipt/acknowledgement.

Bill will now be placed before Senate for final approval

The rent of commercial and residential buildings will be annually increased by 10pc unless the involved parties decide to enter into a separate agreement. Similarly, for dispute resolution between the landlord and the tenant, there shall be a mediation council.

The resolution of disputes between tenants and landlords was a major issue but the new law will protect the rights of both the parties.

Background discussions with traders revealed that forced eviction of traders is a chronic issue as tenants who have been running their businesses for decades faced threat of forced eviction and many such cases have come to the forefront.

The landlords also increase rent as per their will at times threatening tenants to vacate the property if they feel the increased rent is not acceptable to them. On the other hand, in many cases sometimes tenants also do not pay rent to their landlords in accordance with the actual value of the property.

The committee also approved Pakistan Arms (Amendment) Bill 2021 moved by the minister of state for parliamentary affairs.

The Islamabad Capital Territory Food Safety Bill 2020 moved by Senator Fawzia Arshad was deferred and a special committee was constituted for further deliberation.

The case of an unauthorised encroachment on a farmhouse near Dargah Shah Mirpur Sakro was disposed of.

Punjab police were directed to submit an inquiry report covering details of the investigation into the murder of Lahore Khan within six to eight weeks.

The meeting was attended by leader of the opposition Senator Yousuf Raza Gilani, Senators Azam Nazeer Tarar, Saifullah Abro, Samina Mumtaz, Faisal Saleem Rehman, Shahdat Awan, Faisal Ali Sabzwari, Ahmed Khan and senior officers from the Ministry of Interior, CDA, Sindh and Punjab police along with other officers concerned.

Published in Dawn, June 19th, 2021

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