Tenants of the National Pension and Provident Fund (NPPF) residential units can occupy the flats for a maximum of 10 years, according to the revised Housing Management Rules and Regulations 2018.

The rules and regulations were amended on September 5 and come into immediate effect.

Except for members or the tenants requiring to surrender the flats allotted upon transfer to another place or town, retirement or resignation from the service and demise of the tenant/member, there were no restrictions on the residing time period in the past.

NPPF’s Chief of Real Estate Division Dechen Dorji said that the tenants/members residing at the houses today would get to continue their occupancy for another 10 years starting September 5 this year.

This, however is provided that the tenants or members are not transferred to another place or town, retired or resigned from service and tenants do not breach the terms and conditions of Tenancy Act, 2015, Tenancy Rules and Regulations, 2018, NPPF Housing Management Rules and Regulations, 2018 and Tenancy Agreement between NPPF and Tenants.

NPPF has residential buildings in Thimphu, Phuentsholing, Samdrupjongkhar, and Samtse today. Of about 54,000 members across the country, 20,890 are stationed in these four dzongkhags. However, only about 725 of the 20,890 are accommodated in the NPPF buildings, which make up about 3.47 percent of 20,890.

The new rule according to a circular from NPPF was to extend the facilities to other members.

Another clause added in the rules and regulations states that a member and their legal spouses owning a residential unit within the throm or town jurisdiction would be ineligible for allotment or renewal of the lease of the residential unit.

In the past as long as a member applied for a residential unit and was the senior most provident fund member, the vacant unit was allotted to the member.

Dechen Dorji said that the new clause was inserted based on numerous complaints received from other members stating that NPPF flats were subleased and members or tenants to whom the units were allotted were living in their own flats, bungalow or buildings.

While monitoring of the tenure of occupancy of a flat is ensured with the comprehensive list of the tenants maintained in NPPF system, NPPF has also begun reviewing application forms and supporting documents for better implementation of the new clauses.

Dechen Dorji said that an undertaking from the member declaring that the member or his or her spouse do not own any residential unit in the place where the application for NPPF unit is made would also be obtained and if found to be untrue in the future, the unit will be forfeited. “At the moment, we are thinking of requiring the members to disclose information on immovable properties, if any, owned by the member and his or her spouse if working, duly verified by the Asset System Administers.”

He said that the lease agreement to be signed between NPPF and members residing in the NPPF residential unit would also include the forfeiture of unit incase the members have submitted false undertaking with regard to the ownership of residential unit, flat, or bungalow.

Today, lack of sense of ownership by some of the members resulting in damages to the units, subleasing of flats, and wrong perception of the members that the NPPF buildings are constructed as social housing for the members are some of the major challenges faced by NPPF.

“The NPPF buildings are actually undertaken as an investment to ensure the sustainability of the pension fund,” Dechen Dorji said.

Phurpa Lhamo