CHAPTER 206
RENT ACT

Arrangement of Sections

   Section

   1.   Short title

   2.   Interpretation

   3.   Application

   4.   Powers of the court

   5.   Investigation of complaints by the court

   6.   Penalty for failure to comply with lawful order of the court

   7.   Appeals

   8.   Duty of landlord of premises let

   9.   Restriction on increasing rent

   10.   Penalty for demanding or accepting excess rent

   11.   Permitted increases in rent

   12.   Penalty for false statement in notice

   13.   Restriction on right to possession

   14.   Restriction on levy of distress for rent

   15.   Restriction on premiums

   16.   Excessive charges for furnished lettings irrecoverable

   17.   Recovery of certain sums paid on account of rent

   18.   Statement to be supplied as to standard rent

   19.   Rent book

   20.   Meaning of expression “landlord” for the purposes of sections 18 and 19

   21.   Removal of furniture by landlord

   22.   Penalty for depriving tenant of service

   23.   Conditions of statutory tenancy

   24.   Repairs

   25.   Restriction on right to assign or sublet premises

   26.   Sub-letting by tenant

   27.   Penalty for subjecting tenant to annoyance

   28.   Compensation in case of frivolous or vexatious proceedings

   29.   Right of entry

   30.   Rent controllers

   31.   Regulations

   32.   Rules

      SCHEDULE

AN ACT

to make provision for restricting the increase of rents, determining the standard rents, prohibiting the payment of premiums and restricting the right to possession of dwelling-houses, and for other purposes incidental to and connected with the relationship of landlord and tenant of a dwelling-house.

[30th March, 1972]

Act 10 of 1972,

Act 13 of 1994.

1.   Short title

This Act may be cited as the Rent Act.

2.   Interpretation

   (1) In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires—

“cost of construction,” in relation to premises, means the cost of constructing the premises at the time of construction increased to the extent shown in the Schedule;

“court” means—

      (a)   in relation to premises for which the rent demanded exceeds four kwacha per annum, the High Court;

      (b)   in relation to all other premises, a subordinate court of the first class to be presided over by a Senior Resident Magistrate or a Resident Magistrate;

“dwelling-house” means any building or part of a building or room let or used as a separate dwelling or place of residence, whether or not such building, part of a building or room is occupied by one or more tenants, and includes the site of the building and the garden and other lands and buildings let therewith;

“land”, in relation to a dwelling-house, means the site of the dwelling-house (or a proportionate part of the site where appropriate) and any other land included in the letting;

“landlord” includes, in relation to the premises, any person, other than the tenant in possession, who is or would, but for the provisions of this Act, be entitled to possession of the premises, and any person from time to time deriving title under the original landlord, and any person deemed to be a landlord by virtue of the meaning ascribed in this sub-section to the expression “lease”;

“lease” includes any agreement, whether written or verbal and howsoever described, whereunder the tenant obtains the right to possession of the premises for a consideration in money or money’s worth, and whether or not such agreement includes an option to purchase the said premises or the building of which the said premises form part; and the grantor and grantee of any such right to possession shall, for the purposes of this Act, be deemed to be a landlord and tenant, respectively;

“let” includes sublet;

“market value,” in relation to land, means the open market value thereof in its unimprovedstate on the prescribed date limited to its value for the improvement thereon but having regard to any development existing in the immediate neighborhood as at the date on which an application is made to the court for determination of the standard rent;

“occupier,” in relation to the premises, means the person in physical residence or occupancy thereof; and

“occupy” shall be construed accordingly;

“outgoings” means all ground rent, rates, fire insurance premiums, cost of repairs and management and letting commissions;

“premises” means a dwelling-house to which this Act applies;

“prescribed date” means—

      (a)   in relation to the premises of which the landlord is a local authority, such date as theMinister may from time to time by statutory instrument prescribe for any area within Zambia;

      (b)   in relation to the premises of which the landlord is the National Housing Authority, such date as the Minister may from time to time by statutory instrument prescribe for any area within Zambia;

      (c)   in relation to all other premises to which this Act applies, the 1st April, 1968:

Provided that—

      (i)   a tenant of the premises referred to in this paragraph may, at any time during the continuation of his tenancy, apply to the court for the determination of the standard rent payable by him in respect of such premises;

      (ii)   where the standard rent of any premises has been determined by the court, the date of such determination shall be deemed to be the prescribed date under this Act;

“repairs” means all repairs and maintenance except internal decorations;

“service charge” means a charge for any services rendered;

“services”, in relation to any letting, means the use of water, light or power, conservancy, sewerage facilities, sweeper, watchman, telephone, or other amenity or facility available to the tenant, and the right of access to any place or accommodation accorded to the tenant by reason of his occupancy of the premises comprised in the letting, but shall not include the supply of meals to the tenant; and the expression “service” shall be construed accordingly;

“standard rent” means—

      (a)   in relation to unfurnished premises—

      (i)   if on the prescribed date they were let, the rent at which they were so let;

      (ii)   if on the prescribed date they were not so let, a rent to be determined by the court at a monthly rate of one and one-quarter per centum of the cost of construction plus market value of the land, the landlord paying all outgoings;

      (b)   in relation to furnished premises, the standard rent which would be applicable if they were unfurnished, plus a sum at a monthly rate not exceeding one per centum of the value (as determined by the court) of the furniture, excluding any soft furnishings, linen, cutlery, kitchen utensils, glassware and crockery, and a sum not exceeding two per centum of the value (as determined by the court) of any soft furnishings, linen, cutlery, kitchen utensils, glassware andcrockery; and any deter-mination made for the purposes of this definition shall, within the limits imposed by the definition, be at the absolute discretion of the court;

“tenancy” includes sub-tenancy;

“tenant,” in relation to the premises, means the person entitled, whether exclusively or in common with others, to possession thereof, and shall include—

      (a)   any person deemed to be a tenant by virtue of the meaning ascribed in this sub-section to the express on “lease,”

      (b)   a sub-tenant;

      (c)   any person from time to time deriving title under the original tenant;

      (d)   the widow of a tenant who was residing with him at the time of his death, or, where a tenant leaves no widow or was a woman, such member of the tenant’s family so residing (as may be determined by the court) notwithstanding that the rights under the tenancy may have passed on the tenant’s death to some other person.

   (2) Notwithstanding anything contained in the definition of standard rent

      (a)   in any case in which the court is satisfied, having regard to the temporary nature of the construction of the premises or to the short duration of the lease or license under which the land on which the premises are situate is held, that the standard rent as defined in sub-section (1) would yield an uneconomic return to the landlord, the court may determine the standard rent to be such amount as the court shall, in all the circumstances of the case, consider fair and reasonable; and

      (b)   in any case where the court is satisfied that it is not reasonably practicable to obtain sufficient evidence to enable it to ascertain—

      (i)   the rent at which the premises were let on the prescribed date;

      (ii)   the cost of construction and the market value of the land;

the court may determine the standard rent to be such amount as it considers fair and reasonable, having regard to the standard rent of comparable premises in the neighbourhood.

3.   Application

   (1) Subject to the provisions of sub-section (2), this Act shall apply to all dwelling-houses in Zambia, whether or not the terms of the letting of such dwelling-houses include the use in common with the landlord or other persons authorised by him of other rooms in or amenities of or portions of the building of which the said dwelling-house forms a part or the grounds or gardens immediately adjacent thereto, and whether or not the terms of the letting include a provision for services or the use of furniture.

   (2) This Act shall not apply to—

      (a)   a dwelling-house let to or occupied by an employee by virtue and as an incident of his employment;

      (b)   premises let by the Government save as to the rent charged in respect of any authorised subletting of the whole or part thereof;

      (c)   premises for which an inclusive charge is made for board and lodging and in respect of which a permit in that behalf has been issued under any written law for the time being in force;

      (d)   premises held by the tenant under a lease for a term certain exceeding twenty-one years.

4.   Powers of the court

The court shall have power to do all things which it is required or empowered to do by or under the provisions of this Act, and in particular shall have power—

      (a)   to determine the standard rent of any premises, either on the application of any person interested or of its own motion;

      (b)   to fix, in the case of any premises, at its discretion and in accordance with the requirements of justice, the date from which the standard rent is payable;

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