rent regulation


After three years of protesting, there finally appears a ray of hope.

The Delhi High Court on Monday, 2nd of May, demanded a response from Delhi University concerning the issue of rent regulation and hostel accommodation. It is after years, that a definitive action is being taken on the matter.  In a Public Interest Litigation, it was demanded from the varsity that they act on providing hostel accommodation to all the regular students and especially the ones coming from the weaker sections of the society.

Praveen Singh, a DU alumnus who has been at the forefront of the protests, has alleged that considering the number of student who get admission into DU every year, the number of hostel seats are far from accommodating. It has been repeatedly demanded from the University authorites and the Delhi government that there be adequate hostel facilities and rent regulation. Stipend for the students who do not get into hostels and opening up of the hostel mess for the non residential students are issues also included in the PIL.

The university counsel has been asked by a division bench comprising of Chief Justice G. Rohini and Justice Jayant Nath to take action on the subject. A further hearing has been scheduled for July 18.

Read more about the rent regulation strike last year

Image Credits: prokerala.com

Arindam Goswami
[email protected]


A group of Delhi University students under the banner of Right to Accommodation have been on an indefinite strike outside Arts Faculty, North Campus for 42 days now, protesting against the issue of unregularised rent control for the students of the university.

DU Beat had reported  the strike last month:

After having received no due recognition from the University authority or the Delhi Government, the students have now decided to go on a hunger strike from 2nd October. The issues they hope to highlight and some of their demands are-

1. Implementation of Delhi Rent Control Act.

2. To provide accommodation to Delhi University students. To be provided with compensation in the form of scholarship, till they find a hostel/ PG.

3. Availability of a library 24*7

4. A no profit- no loss canteen or mess in Delhi University colleges, departments and faculties.

The press release announcing the hunger strike with effect from Gandhi Jayanti has been signed by Praveen Singh, convener of Right to Accommodation, Ajay Singh from Ramjas College, Bhupendra Yadav, Ambedkar College and Jitendra from Law Faculty.

The issue of rent regulation is not new to DU. It has been a key, and perhaps, a winning agenda for the Delhi University Students’ Union (DUSU) elections for the past two years. But seeing no actual progress on the matter, the group has decided to take matters into their own hands. Interestingly, Right to Accommodation had held a 7- day hunger strike last year too. Read about it here.  

Related reading: What is rent regulation and why it’s a big deal

‘Right to Accommodation’ group organized a seven-day hunger strike for rent regulation at North Campus from 31st October – 6th November 2014. The protest was organised in order to implement the provisions of Rent Control Act, especially receipt for the rent paid and fixation of rent in the private accommodations of Delhi University campus.

Six people including a few students sat on the hunger strike at Christian Colony at Patel Chest, North Campus where over seven days, various tenants of Christian Colony organized themselves to fight for rent regulation. Candle march and torch march was set out in adjoining areas like Mukherjee Nagar and Vijay Nagar where tenants from these areas also joined the protest.

Need for rent regulation

Delhi University’s north campus houses over 2,00,000 students from all over the country but the total number of hostel seats in all the campus colleges are 6000. 1,94,000 students live in private accommodation in the campus, with maximum availing the single room accommodations. Moreover, other students preparing for the competitive exams also reside in the campus.

According to the statistics provided by ‘Right to Accommodation’ team, one single room accommodation with attached bathroom ranges from Rs. 4500/- to Rs. 15000/- in the north campus.  However, if the matter of rent regulation goes to the court, the rent will be fixed somewhere around Rs. 1000/-

According to the statement by Right to Accommodation team, students from the North-East form the maximum proportion of the crowd that suffers. The same room will be rented out to a student from the North East for 7000/- which is given to a student from North India for 4000/- only. Reasons like these saw better participation by students from the east to protest.

Demands of the protest

The group on strike demands proper enforcement of Delhi Rent Control Act 1958, which states that the property owner should provide a receipt for the rent received. Praveen Singh, Convenor of Right to Accommodation says, “We want the receipt system to be introduced because that will help us give proofs to the rent controller to fix the rent. Otherwise, all the money is going into owners’ pocket as black money.”

Praveen Singh himself was also on the hunger strike along with Sachin from Manipur, Mukesh, Neil and journalism students from Ambedkar College, Adil and Manish Bhartiya. Adil and Manish were also hospitalised on 4th November as a result of weakness due to hunger strike.

The protest also saw students and leaders of different party factions coming together for the cause of “tenants’ exploitation”. It included Manipur State BJP president, DUTA president Ms. Nandita Narayan and other teachers. Nandita Narayan, expressing her concern over the issue said, “Any central university across the world has proper accommodation facilities arranged for its students. If Delhi University wishes to be called as the central university, it should provide adequate hostel facilities and should have appropriate understanding with the local residents. Landlords prefer students because it is easy to get the property vacated, so in return students deserve the gesture of reasonable rents.”

Results on fixture of rent

The strike ended with an agreement amongst the tenants where the rents have been fixed at Rs. 1500/- for a single room. If the landlord refuses to accept this amount, he/she is liable to issue a receipt.

Kamlesh Kumar Mishra, Advocate and Legal consultant for the matter says, “Fixation of rent at Rs. 1500/- is an interim measure before the judicial processes happen. Meanwhile now, the tenants have organized themselves and they all gather if anyone of them is being harassed by the landlord. Proprietors by now have also tried to negotiate on prices, as they are not keen on giving the receipts.”

Right to Accommodation also plans to file a PIL in the upcoming week requesting the rent controller to look into the matter.

Statistics and figures provided by the team of Right to Accommodation. Iresh Gupta [email protected]


In 1958 was passed a law we know as Delhi Rent Control Act, 1958. In 1995, a revised bill was passed and received presidential assent, but the government, under pressure from traders’ bodies, could never notify it. Later, in the year 1997, an amendment also did not get passed in the Rajya Sabha.

In simple words, properties in Delhi are still governed by a law that was made 56 years ago. While most agree that the 1958 law favours tenants, one section of the tenant community pleads that the defunct state of the law allows landlords to exploit them.

This section is that of outstation students studying at colleges in Delhi. It’s safe to say that these students, miles away from home, are the most defenceless lot of tenants and do not possess any choice but to heed to the demands of their landlords.

There are an estimated 2 lakh students enrolled in Delhi University, including UG and PG students, whereas the number of hostel seats available is a mere 6000. DU, being a central and not a state university (as was recently stressed upon when a 90% quota for Delhiites was demanded), should expect students from all 36 states and union territories. However, to accommodate all these students, the University has no means. Students are also known to have not taken admission in certain colleges solely because of lack of a hostel.

This lack of hostel accommodation more than often leads students to the doors of ‘rent mafias’ who have sprouted around practically every college of DU. These mafias, apart from charging exorbitant rates for rooms, are known for committing felonies. In many rentals, landlords do not provide a formal Rent Agreement which is supposed to act as the student’s address proof. While disclosing rental income to municipal corporations and the Income Tax Department, the rent originally charged is seldom ever disclosed, thereby making the additional money acquired ‘black’. Some landlords also ask for advance payment for the entire semester or year. The 1958 law, however, rules that collecting an advance of more than one month’s stay is a crime.

In recent days, ahead of DUSU elections, political student bodies have taken up the issue of inadequate hostel facilities and rent regulation by means of rallies and signature campaigns. In actuality, a repeal of this archaic law was initiated by the UPA government in 2013 and a new law is expected to take shape in the next 2-3 years. Harsh as it may sound, it is just short of impossible for Delhi University to provide for even nearly all outstation students. Moreover, how much of a say DUSU or student bodies have in these matters is also up for speculation.