They also do not sign lease agreement

Tshering Namgyal | Mongar

Mongar dzongkhag court settled a case between a tenant and building owner in town, who increased the rent to Nu 15,000 from Nu 10,000 a month last month by ordering the house owner to keep the rent at Nu 10,000 only.

A tenant had to drag the house owner to court for increasing the rent during the pandemic.

The tenant, who was operating a restaurant said the hike in rent was too high but the house owner claimed that the rent was initially fixed at Nu 15,000 a month but asked the concession amount of Nu 10,000 during the pandemic situation.

Without any lease agreement, the court also slapped a penalty of Nu 10,000 each to both the plaintiff and defendant for breaching the provision of the Tenancy Act.

Many Mongar town residents are unhappy with rent hike.

A building owner has recently increased the house rent at 20 percent which irked some tenants.

Nima Wangmo, who runs a restaurant in the building, said it was unfair for her house rent to increase from Nu 45,000 per month to 54,000 at the time in less than two years.

“I fought with the owner but we can’t push because they can chase us,” she said.

Another tenant, Sonam, said paying house rent was difficult with the unstable business during pandemic. “I am worried they might increase the rent.”

Most of the tenants in Mongar town are reluctant to talk to media with the fear of being asked to vacate house as finding apartment is difficult.

A tenant, who chose anonymity, said most of the house owners refuse to sign agreement and increase the rent as and when they want.

The Tenancy Act states that a lease agreement must be drawn and only 10 percent  increase could be made after two years but there are incidences where few building owners had forced the tenants to quit their building in the recent times.

The rental charges for most of the shops and restaurants ranges from Nu 10,000 to 50,000 while hotels are rented between Nu 60,000 to 150,000 in the core town.

However, residential units are charged between Nu 6,000 to 12,000. The exorbitant charge is mainly attributed to housing problem in the town.

Residents said rents in some buildings are even higher than Thimphu city and it could be regulated if National Housing Development Corporation Limited comes up with housing colony in the town.

Edited by Tashi Dema