The Rent Act applies to all premises OTHER THAN:
  1. residential premises occupied by the owner on the 1st of January, 1980 and let on or after that date;
  2. residential premises in the occupation of:
    1. a person who has been issued a valid visa under the Immigrants and Emigrants Act and whose total income exceeds one thousand rupees per month; or
    2. a non-resident company, except if the residential premises were let before 12 December 1980, when exemption from the Rent Act is subject to certain conditions, including an exemption from the provisions of the Act being granted by the Commissioner of National Housing;
  3. residential premises constructed after the 1st of January, 1980 and let on or after that date.
  4. excepted premises, which includes any business premises situated in certain areas if the annual value of such premises as specified in the rates assessment exceeds certain prescribed amounts, and premises where the landlord is a company registered under the Companies Act No. 17 of 1982.
If the premises are governed by the Rent Act, section 4 prescribes "the standard rent" payable, and section 5 provides for certain permitted increases. The aggregate of the standard rent and every permitted increase is the 'authorised rent'. It is an offence to pay, demand or receive any amount in excess of the authorised rent.