Muscat: Tenancy agreement, which is mandatory by law, must be registered with the civic authority to ensure the rights of both landlord and tenant, emphasises a top official at Muscat Municipality.
“By registering the agreement with Municipality, the rights of the parties are protected, in addition to receiving several benefits in the tenancy law,” said Khalid al Saidi, Director of the Cases and Grievances Department at Muscat Municipality.
The tenancy law spells out several benefits including transparency in rents, which according to the law cannot be raised injudiciously. In case of a dispute, the law will be evoked to settle it, he said.
Registration of the agreement provides an opportunity to approach the court in the event of a dispute. Information provided in the agreement will enable the relevant authority to follow up on the matter, Al Saidi said in a post on the municipality website.
The law provides important protections to tenants, particularly in the form of rent controls and protections against eviction, even when the duty to register the lease contract falls on the landlord, it usually behooves the tenant to ensure that this contract is duly registered with the municipal authorities.
“Failure to register rent contracts by the procedures established by law, creates many problems, including the occurrence of disagreement between both parties; in case the contract does not exist, the rights are absent," he said.
According to Al Saidi, tax evasion is one of the reasons why people do not register rent agreements, which on the other hand, deprives the municipality of revenues by way of fees.
“This kind of tax evasion is affecting the collection of revenues due to the municipality. “In some cases, they do not show the real rent amount in deal with the tenants,” he said, adding, “the municipality was currently dealing with many cases of undocumented lease agreements.” The municipality tax, which has been mentioned in the provisions of Royal Decree No 6/89 and its amendments, is a government debt that has to be paid by landlords or tenants as per the agreement and can be collected by administrative confiscation.
In the event that one party fails to comply with his commitments hereto prescribed, the other party has the right to rescind the provisions of the agreement.
The agreement can be renewed for a further period or more unless one of the parties advises the other of his wish to vacate the property before the expiry of the validity period at least three months in advance or half of the period if it is less.
The landlord cannot ask for the property to be vacated except in the cases and according to the provisions and procedures of the Royal Decree No 6/89.