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Procedure for landlords to recover premises to be expedited: Sabry to draft new legislation

A new law to introduce a procedure whereby a landlord who is seeking to recover possession of a premises given on a notarially executed lease can obtain a decree nisi entitling him to the premises at the outset of a case is expected to come into effect soon.

In a press release issued today (28), the Ministry of Justice notes that the Cabinet of Ministers has granted approval to a paper submitted by the Minister of Justice M.U.M Ali Sabry, P.C to draft new legislation to speed up the process on the same.

The Ministry further notes that the current procedure to recover possession of a premises given on rent is time-consuming.

“Rent and Ejectment action which is filed in the District Court and can typically take several years to conclude,” the release detailed.

Accordingly, Coordinating Secretary and Director – Justice Sector Reform Programme of the Ministry of Justice AAL Shamir Zavahir stated that the rent laws in Sri Lanka are reflective of a different era where the entire focus of the law was to tilt the balance firmly in favour of the tenant.

“Over the years the rent laws of this country have caused severe inconvenience and injustice to the owners of properties as the law and the procedure has been abused by tenants seeking to gain an unfair advantage over property owners. The changes that are being introduced seek to strike a balance between protecting a tenant and giving property owners an efficient and speedy mechanism to recover possession of their premises when a tenant seeks to wrongfully hold on to possession in circumstances where they are not legally entitled to do so,” he stated.

These proposed changes to the law are based on the recommendations made by the Advisory Committee to review Rent Law which was appointed by the Minister of Justice as part of the Minister’s Justice Sector Reform Programme.