The Ministry of Works and Human Settlement (MoWHS) released the Tenancy Rules and Regulations, 2018 on May 11 in Mongar.

The launch, the ministry officials say, is expected to address the issues and challenges faced by tenants and house owners. With the rules and regulations in place, the ministry hopes to streamline the tenancy system in the country.

The ministry’s legal officer, Gempo Tshering, said that the tenancy and its related issues are on the rise with rapid development and unequal rise in supply and demand of rental units.

He said that while the Tenancy Act of Bhutan 2015 addressed most of the tenancy issues, there were gaps such as lack of clear procedures for tenancy dispute settlement, monitoring and regulating tenancy related matters.

“In keeping with section 126 and the spirit of the Tenancy Act, the MoWHS promulgates this tenancy rules and regulations to address the gaps and to implement the Act effectively,” he said.

The legal officer cited chapter IV, which states that the rent shall not be increased before two years from the date of last increment or from the day a tenant occupies the house. The increment, according to the rules, shall not exceed ten percent of the monthly rent.

The new rules and regulations specify the members of the dispute settlement committee, which will comprise of a chairperson, the deputy chairperson, who shall be the dzongrab for a dzongkhag, the executive secretary for a dzongkhag thromde and the gewog administrative officer for a gewog.

It also states that the committee shall have the authority to adjudicate all tenancy disputes within its jurisdiction. It states that if either of the parties to the dispute is not satisfied with the decision, the issue may be challenged in a court of law by appealing within ten working days from the date of the decision.

Meanwhile, officials said  that the responsibility of implementing the Act and Tenancy Rules and Regulations falls on the thromde, dzongkhag and gewog administrations. “The house owners and tenants are equally responsible.”

The rules and regulation has 11 chapters with 148 sections.

Tashi Phuntsho | Mongar