Bahrain plans 5pc cap on rent increase
Manama, January 24, 2010
Landlords in Bahrain may soon be allowed to raise rents only by five per cent every two years, if a new Shura Council bill is approved.
The Gulf Daily News, our sister newspaper, reported on Tuesday that a new unified lease law to protect tenants from exploitation could soon be introduced.
Tenancy terms vary in Bahrain, but the bill would ensure all follow the same basic rules.
The law has been proposed by the council financial and economic affairs committee chairman Khalid Al Maskati, woman and child committee chairwoman Dalal Al Zayed and councillor Rabab Al Arrayedh.
'There are rent laws formulated decades ago that state relation between a landlord and tenant,' Al Maskati told the Gulf Daily News.
'They were last modified in 1970 and yet do not state clearly or at all about several aspects.
'After 1970, there came the civil law with a section dealing with landlords and tenants. But the problem is that it does not specify that the old laws are null and void. So many times, people and even the government and courts follow the old laws.
'There is confusion on which law to use and people tend to use those that best suit them.
'We decided that there is a big need to formulate specific laws that properly define the relationship between tenants and landlords.'
Al Maskati said the Justice and Islamic Affairs Ministry and other concerned authorities had agreed that the existing rental law needed to be upgraded to help ease contractual disputes.
He is also optimistic the bill could become law in six months.
'The duties and responsibilities of tenants and landlords will be clearly defined in the new law. Any change in the agreement must be made with mutual consent of both parties.
'The landlord can increase the rent once every two years from the date of the last increase of no more than five percent. In case the tenant dies, the agreement can be transferred to the name of his immediate family member, like wife, father or brother.
'One of the most disputed terms in a lease agreement is how many months' notice should be given by a tenant if he/she decides to vacate.
'According to the new law, if one of the parties wants to vacate the premises and the agreement is for three months, 15 days' notice and rent should be given.
'If the agreement is for six months or less, one month's notice and rent should be given. If it is for more than six months then two months' rent and notice should be given.
'This will be the case unless otherwise mentioned in the agreement.'
One expatriate resident said landlords were increasing rents in spite of the global recession. 'They seem to be least bothered about the condition of the buildings and if they are questioned, tenants are asked to take it or leave it,' said Indian Rajesh Seth, who lives in Salmaniya.
'These greedy landlords should be controlled.' - TradeArabia News Service