Friday, September 30, 2016

Monthly maintenance charge payable by tenant is part of actual rent: High Court

The substantial question of law that arose before the High Court was as under:

Whether maintenance charges could be included as part of rent?

The High Court held as under:

1) If the maintenance charges are not included in the rent, it would enable an assessee to avoid paying tax on the true annual value of the property.

2) The amount of rent would also be dependent upon the common facilities of a building. The better the facilities, the higher the rent. It can hardly be suggested that the annual value of a property which provides several common amenities such as a swimming pool, gymnasium, security car, parking and elevators would be the same as the annual value of a property in the same area but without these facilities.

3) Where the agreement provides that the owner shall pay the amounts for the common facilities, maintenance charges, etc., it is obvious and reasonable to presume that the same is factored into the rent payable by the lessee or the licencee. In that event the same cannot be added to the rent agreed to be paid. However, if the maintenance charges, etc., are stipulated to be payable by the licencee or the lessor it must form a part of the rent for the purpose of computing the annual value of the property. -SUNIL KUMAR GUPTA V. ASTT. CIT - [2016] 73 374 (Punjab & Haryana)