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Utility Bills (Rates And Taxes) On A Rented Property

Question:

Can i please get a clarification on a rulling , where a person is renting a place from somebody and the Municipal bills comes with rates and taxes, Islamically who should pay the rates and taxes of the property ?

The landlord or the Tenant ?

Answer:

The rates and the taxes of the municipal bills are determined by the area and property in which one resides.

In principle, there are two types of expenses. (1) Those expenses that arise due to ownership of the property (such as rates and taxes), and (2) those expenses that arise due to the usage of the property (such as consumption of water and electricity). According to Shari’ah, all expenses that arise due to ownership are the responsibility of the landlord. All expenses that arise due to the usage of the property will be the responsibility of the tenant. 

Due to the rates and taxes being billed in lieu of property ownership (and not usage thereof), these rates and taxes should be paid by the landlord. So in principal, the landlord cannot charge a certain amount of mutually agreed fixed rental and then also hold the tenant separately liable for the rates and taxes. 

The landlord however, is at liberty to factor in and include the amount of rates and taxes into the rental-transaction by inflating the rental and charging the tenant a fixed rent. For example, the monthly rates and taxes are R200 and he intends charging the tenant R1000 for leasing the property, then instead of charging him R1000 he can fix the rental with mutual agreement at R1200 from the beginning. In this case, it will be said that the tenant is paying a total rental of R1200 for leasing the property and not paying separately for the rates and taxes (even though in this scenario, it is to the benefit of the landlord that he is factoring the rates and taxes into the rental amount).

Checked and Approved By:

Mufti Muhammed Saeed Motara Saheb D.B.

https://delportvandenberg.co.za/2018/07/20/rates-and-taxes-vs-water-and-electricity/

https://compareguru.co.za/news/understanding-municipal-bill

 

الْمَادَّةُ 529) أَعْمَالُ الْأَشْيَاءِ الَّتِي تُخِلُّ بِالْمَنْفَعَةِ الْمَقْصُودَةِ عَائِدَةٌ عَلَى الْآجِرِ: مَثَلًا تَطْهِيرُ الرَّحَى عَلَى صَاحِبِهَا، كَذَلِكَ تَعْمِيرُ الدَّارِ وَطُرُقُ الْمَاءِ وَإِصْلَاحُ مَنَافِذِهِ وَإِنْشَاءُ الْأَشْيَاءِ الَّتِي تُخِلُّ بِالسُّكْنَى وَسَائِرُ الْأُمُورِ الَّتِي تَتَعَلَّقُ بِالْبِنَاءِ كُلِّهَا لَازِمَةٌ عَلَى صَاحِبِ الدَّارِ

(ج1ص608 – كتاب درر الحكام في شرح مجلة الأحكام – المادة أعمال الأشياء التي تخل بالمنفعة المقصودة عائدة على الآجر)

 تَفْسُدُ الْإِجَارَةُ بِالشُّرُوطِ الْمُخَالِفَةِ لِمُقْتَضَى الْعَقْدِ فَكُلُّ مَا أَفْسَدَ الْبَيْعَ) مِمَّا مَرَّ (يُفْسِدُهَا) كَجَهَالَةِ مَأْجُورٍ أَوْ أُجْرَةٍ أَوْ مُدَّةٍ أَوْ عَمَلٍ، وَكَشَرْطِ طَعَامِ عَبْدٍ وَعَلَفِ دَابَّةٍ وَمَرَمَّةِ الدَّارِ أَوْ مَغَارِمِهَا وَعُشْرٍ أَوْ خَرَاجٍ أَوْ مُؤْنَةِ

قَوْلُهُ وَكَشَرْطِ طَعَامِ عَبْدٍ وَعَلَفِ دَابَّةٍ) فِي الظَّهِيرِيَّةِ: اسْتَأْجَرَ عَبْدًا أَوْ دَابَّةً عَلَى أَنْ يَكُونَ عَلَفُهَا عَلَى الْمُسْتَأْجِرِ، ذَكَرَ فِي الْكِتَابِ أَنَّهُ لَا يَجُوزُ.وَقَالَ الْفَقِيهُ أَبُو اللَّيْثِ: فِي الدَّابَّةِ نَأْخُذُ بِقَوْلِ الْمُتَقَدِّمِينَ، أَمَّا فِي زَمَانِنَا فَالْعَبْدُ يَأْكُلُ مِنْ مَالِ الْمُسْتَأْجِرِ عَادَةً اهـ.قَالَ الْحَمَوِيُّ: أَيْ فَيَصِحُّ اشْتِرَاطُهُ.وَاعْتَرَضَهُ ط بِقَوْلِهِ فَرْقٌ بَيْنَ الْأَكْلِ مِنْ مَالِ الْمُسْتَأْجِرِ بِلَا شَرْطٍ وَمِنْهُ بِشَرْطٍ اهـ.أَقُولُ: الْمَعْرُوفُ كَالْمَشْرُوطِ، وَبِهِ يُشْعِرُ كَلَامُ الْفَقِيهِ كَمَا لَا يَخْفَى عَلَى النَّبِيهِ، ثُمَّ ظَاهِرُ كَلَامِ الْفَقِيهِ أَنَّهُ لَوْ تُعُورِفَ فِي الدَّابَّةِ ذَلِكَ يَجُوزُ تَأَمَّلْ.وَالْحِيلَةُ أَنْ يَزِيدَ فِي الْأُجْرَةِ قَدْرَ الْعَلَفِ ثُمَّ يُوَكِّلُهُ رَبُّهَا بِصَرْفِهِ إلَيْهَا.

(ج6 ص47 – كتاب الدر المختار وحاشية ابن عابدين رد المحتار – باب الإجارة الفاسدة)

This answer was collected from the official Ifta website of Darul Uloom Azaadville, South Africa. Most of the answers are checked and approved by Mufti Muhammed Saeed Motara Saheb D.B.