The Works and Human Settlement ministry has drafted a housing policy to supplement policies and Acts that exist to address the problems of housing in big thromdes like Thimphu.

This was shared with the graduates at the ongoing orientation programme. “The focus of the draft is not only to address the housing problems. It would also look into solving issues related to the regulation of housing loans and its interest rates,” works and human settlement minister, Dorji Choden said.

Lyonpo was responding to a question from a graduate who raised the issue of housing problems in Thimphu. The graduate asked about the regulations and policies put in place by the government to address the housing issues.

The minister said that housing issues in Thimphu would continue to be a problem with increasing population growth. “Population growth in the capital is more than 12 percent and we do have housing problems.”

She said that the ministry has been monitoring the issues by putting in place policies and regulations, which look into the housing issues of both tenants and owners. The ministry, she said, is working hard to make housing available with support from private agencies and relevant stakeholders.

“We are trying to solve the issue by placing into practice the candid regulations and policies. However, complete solution to the problem is difficult with the different choice of tenants and differently determined rents,” she said.

The minister said that the government couldn’t determine the rents. “The monthly rent for the rental unit according to the tenancy Act should be determined by an agreement between tenants and house owners,” she said. “But the Act is not followed strictly by both the parties and we have issues of owners increasing the rent untimely.”

The determination of rent would depend on kind of house the tenant chooses and the facilities of the house, she said. According to tenancy Act, the owner shall ensure that a rental agreement should be signed before the tenant occupies the house. “But there are only a few following the regulation. This is leading the issues of untimely increase of rents by owners and many related disputes between owners and tenants,” said the minister.

According to the tenancy Act 2015, the owner shall not increase the rent before two years from the day on which a tenant occupies the house. The increment of rent shall not exceed 10 percent of the monthly rent.