Landlord’s death does not affect eviction order passed in his favour

Landlord’s death does not affect eviction order passed in his favour

Eviction order can’t be revoked in the eventuality of the landlord’s death

The recent judgement passed by the High Court of Punjab and Haryana has made it clear that the death of the landlord does not affect the eviction order passed in his favour on the ground of personal necessity.

It has been clarified that once an eviction order is passed against a tenant recognizing the personal need of the landlord, the order will stand. It will protect and benefit the dependants of the landlord even if the landlord dies during the revision proceedings filed by such tenants against the order of eviction. Death of the landlord will not affect the order adversely.

In India, every State has its piece of legislation in the matter of rent control and regulation. In Punjab, we have Punjab Rent Act, 1995, which came into force in the year 2013. The Act aims to create a balance between landlord and tenants interest.

Recommended reading: Landlord Tenant Dispute

It is necessary to protect a tenant against the mischief of the landlord and to secure his stay in the rented accommodation. At the same time, even the landlord’s rights have to be secured. Sometimes, it becomes difficult to protect one’s property from an errant tenant who refuses to vacate the rented premises even if the landlord is justified in demanding so. Eviction through court is not easy.

Eviction of tenant:

The Act of 1995 has widened the scope of eviction of a tenant from the rented accommodation. Some of the grounds seeking eviction order are:

  • Non-payment of rent
  • Premises has become unsafe
  • Premises requires repairs
  • Alternate accommodation is available with the tenant or his family member
  • Violation of lease agreement, Misuse of premises
  • Subletting
  • The personal necessity of the landlord or any member of his family if no other suitable accommodation is available after three years of purchase or transfer.

Recommended reading: Landlord Tenant laws

The legislature has used the words personal necessity of the landlord or any member of his family. Thus under the Act, landlord or any member of his family are on the same footing as far as personal necessity is concerned. If no suitable accommodation is available with the landlord or his family member, eviction of a tenant can be sought on the ground of personal necessity.

The recent judgment of the High Court of Punjab and Haryana has interpreted and explained personal necessity. It says that the statute (Act of 1995) itself recognizes the personal necessity of the landlord as well as his family members. The death of the landlord during the pendency of the revision petition does not affect the rights of his legal heirs adversely. The tenants contended that the personal necessity of the landlord comes to an end with his death. The court negated the same and upheld the eviction order passed in favour of the landlord.

Recommended reading: Remedies for a landlord if the tenant refuses to leave after an eviction notice

Once a landlord has pleaded and successfully established his necessity, the members of his family residing with him or his dependants should not be put to hardship.

It will not be out of place to mention here that the Government of India has proposed The Model Tenancy Act, 2019. The Act aims to encourage landlords to rent out their properties by ensuring speedy dispute resolution and transparency in the housing area. It will rationalize the rent rate also as the supply of residential accommodation would increase. The Government wants to achieve a target of housing for all by 2022.

The rent laws have been considered as pro tenants most of the time. The recent judgment of the High Court has given a liberal interpretation to personal necessity clause favouring the landlord. It will undoubtedly help to boost the confidence of the landlord for justified eviction of tenants and pleading for an eviction order in court.

Remedies for a landlord if the tenant refuses to leave after an eviction notice

Remedies-for-a-landlord-if-the-tenant-refuses-to-leave-after-an-eviction-notice

There has always been a huge amount of skepticism around the landlord-tenant equation in our country. Legally, the landlord-tenant relationship is governed by Rent laws which differ from State to State. 

In case of any problem, the law permits eviction of the tenant on specific grounds-illegal measures to evict the tenant should be avoided. 

In reality, it is challenging to deal with a tenant who refuses to leave even after being served an eviction notice.

The landlord may opt for having a conversation with the tenant. It helps to understand what is preventing him from leaving the premises. It is always better to have a word and work out a solution. 

Read more: Investment in Indian Property – As an NRI investor know your facts

Eviction Notice:

If dialogue does not help, a legal notice is sent. Sending an eviction notice is the first step to initiate the process of ejectment. It is a legal notice vide which the landlord informs the tenant the reasons for seeking his removal from the rented accommodation. 

A notice period of a reasonable number of days is given to vacate the premises.

The requirement of sending a notice to the tenant depends upon the applicable rent laws. A landlord must be conversant with the rule and regulations of the tenancy as prevalent in the area. 

Once the notice is served, the tenant may do what the landlord demands. 

Read more: The necessity of Legal Due Diligence in India

What if tenant refuses to go even after eviction notice?

Legal battles are often time consuming and expensive. However, sometimes there is no option left.

If the eviction notice is served, the tenant may refuse to leave. The landlord then files a suit in the court for ejectment of the tenant. It is advised to take help of professionals/law firms to draft and file the petition. A lawsuit is filed in the appropriate court within whose jurisdiction falls the rented property.

There are various grounds available to a landlord for evicting the tenant, like:

  • Violation of terms of the agreement by the tenant
  • Personal Necessity of the landlord – the property is needed for personal use
  • Non-payment of rent
  • Premises has become unsafe for human habitation and needs repair
  • Property is needed for renovation or alteration

The petition is filed after expiry of the said notice period, stating:

  • The terms of the rent agreement/lease deed between the tenant and the landlord
  • The violation made by the tenant – unauthorized use, subletting, non-payment of rent etc.
  • The period of non-payment of rent and the amount due

The landlord has to explain the violation of the lease deed. If there is no rent/lease deed, it becomes difficult for the landlord to make his point.

The copy of the eviction notice served upon the tenant is annexed with the petition.

It is pertinent to mention here that sometimes the landlord forgoes pending rent in case of eviction suits as he is more interested in getting back the possession of the property.

Read more: Selling a Property through a General Power of Attorney – Is it even valid?

Hearing in court:

The court fixes a date for the hearing. The parties are heard, and the order is pronounced. 

If the landlord wins the arguments, the court orders the tenant to hand over the possession of the property to him. The court grants time to the tenant to vacate the property.

If the tenant still fails to do so, the judicial order gets executed by filing an execution petition. The court appoints a Court Officer for removing the tenant. The Police may also intervene in case of recalcitrant tenants. 

Read more: How to save title of your property from illegal occupants?

Parents Can Evict Abusive Children from Home: Delhi High Court (Judgement)

Parents Can Evict Abusive Children from Home Delhi High Court Judgement

We have had a rich culture in India since ancient times where parents are looked after by their children when they grow old. Our moral values teach us that parents need our love, care, respect and protection in their old age not only because they are our parents who looked after us in our tender age, but because they need us the most at that age.

With the growing complexities of working culture and modern social setup where joint families are giving way to nuclear families, the need was felt for State to interfere and make provisions for providing physical and financial support to the elderly by the children. Thus the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents & Senior Citizens Act, 2007 was enacted. This Act aims to provide a speedy, inexpensive and simple procedure to claim maintenance. Under the 2007 Act, it has been left to the State Governments to frame rules for the protection of senior citizens.

In the Delhi High Court Judgement in a case titled Sunny Paul vs State of NCT of Delhi, it has been made clear that under the scheme of the 2007 Act, the main objective is to provide social justice to the elderly.

A.    EVICTION CAN BE CLAIMED from abusive children

  • With or without claiming maintenance
  • From any property – ancestral, self-acquired or rented accommodation. Property can be tangible/intangible, moveable or immovable. The property includes any right or interest in the immovable property and not just ownership.
  • Even if children are not in line to inherit the property

B.    MAINTENANCE CAN BE CLAIMED

  • It is now obligatory for the children/grandchildren to provide maintenance in the form of monthly allowance to the parents if they are unable to maintain themselves out of their own earnings.

C.    OBLIGATORY TO PROVIDE BASIC AMENITIES

  • U/ s 23 of the Act, transfer of property from senior citizen will be void if the transfer was on the condition that the transferee shall maintain the transferor and provide for basic amenities and physical needs, but he fails to do so. Transfer can be actual transfer, stay or possession. The transferee can be legal heirs or children.

D.    OTHER OBSERVATIONS

  • Everyone including the senior citizens has the right to live peacefully
  • The primary objective of the Act is to protect the life and property of the Senior Citizens
  • The Court also emphasised that the Act is social legislation and needs a liberal interpretation to respond to the urgent social needs of a welfare State. The Legislation intends to provide an effective remedy to the parents to save them from being traumatised.

E.    POWER OF MAINTENANCE TRIBUNAL

  • The Court upheld the power of the Maintenance Tribunal to order the eviction of abusive children under the Act and to issue directions to give effect to the same.
  • Earlier also in another case of Rajeev Bahl, Delhi High Court has stated that even if the property is HUF and children are coparceners, they can be evicted if they are harassing/ill-treating the parents.

The children cannot continue to misbehave with elderly parents and enjoy their property also. The moral obligation to maintain the parents has now come under the purview of the State, and the same is being enforced in the true spirit and light by various Courts. If the children are not fulfilling their obligation, they can be forced to do the same, and if they are maltreating their parents, they can be evicted from the property.

Rent Control Act India

Rent Control Act India

The Rent Control Act was passed by the Indian Government in 1948. This Act was passed so as to regulate the various norms of tenancy and land ownership and to curb the exploitation of either the landlord or the tenant due to rent or occupancy. The following are the various provisions of the act in favour of the landlord and the tenant –

Rights of Landlord Under the Act

Evicting a Tenant – Under the Rent Control Act, the landlord has the right to evict the tenant. The states have individual byelaws. In Punjab and Haryana, a landlord can evict the tenant on the basis of a personal, bonafide requirement, whereas the same does not happen in the Karnataka byelaws. But playing by ordinary rationale, courts allow for the eviction of the tenants on the landlord’s request, keeping into consideration facts and circumstances. The Draft Model Tenancy Act, 2015 shall make matters easier for the landlords.

Temporary Recovery of Possession – In order to make all the necessary repairs, alterations and changes in the property, a landlord has a right to recover temporary possession of the same.

Rent Changes – The Draft Model Tenancy Act is an instrumental legislation. Rent changes are something that usually occurs in accordance with the whims and fancies of the landlord. The rent cannot be unreasonably high or increased suddenly, however, the upper hand remains of the landlord and he can periodically increase the rent of the property.

Rights of Tenant Under the Act

Fair Rent – A landlord cannot unjustifiably increase the rent, however, he can approach the Rent Control Court in order to fix a rent. The rent has to be fair which is usually supposed to be 9% of the value of the building in totality including the cost of construction, the market value of land and amenities being provided.

The landlord also does not possess the right to disconnect essential services of electricity and water even due to rental reasons. They can approach the court, however, cannot deprive you of your basic supplies and amenities.

Eviction – In order to evict a tenant the landlord is required to approach the court and cannot unjustifiably evict the tenant. Byelaws play a major role in such a scenario. The Maharashtra byelaws are such that do not allow for the eviction of the tenant if the tenant is willing to acquiesce and agree to the changes in rent and is willing to pay the same. A notice is also to be given ninety days prior to filing a suit.

Steps to evict a tenant in India

Steps to evict a tenant in India

In India, laws governing tenancy tend to favour tenants and they differ from state to state. However, there are some grounds for eviction of a tenant which are common in most of the state laws.

Grounds for eviction

If the tenant is using the property for a purpose other than that mentioned in the rental agreement, or he has not paid the rent for a for a period more than 15 days or the period mentioned in the rental agreement.

If the tenant has further sublet the premises without the permission of the landlord. If any significant damage is caused to the property resulting in loss of utility or value of the property, or premises are being used for purposes which are considered to be illegal or immoral by law, causing nuisance in the neighbourhood whereby they have confirmed it in writing that the further living of tenant is objectionable to them.

Besides these reasons, there are some other bonafide reasons on the basis of which eviction can be claimed for example, when the landlord needs the premises for his self-occupation or when there is some major repairs to be performed which is not possible unless the premises are cleared and finally if the premises are to be demolished. If any of the above-mentioned reasons are applicable, the landowner can file a suit for eviction on the basis of the rules mentioned in the rental agreement.

Steps for Tenant Eviction

A Landowner must follow these steps in order to ensure a successful case of eviction.

Firstly, he must determine a logical and just reason for eviction.

Secondly, provide the tenant a registered acknowledgement due to the eviction notice. Once the tenant has acknowledged the acceptance, the landlord can keep it as a proof of his acknowledgement.

Thirdly, if now also the tenant doesn’t move out, the acknowledgement letter and the rent agreement can be used to file a suit in an appropriate Civil Court of jurisdiction. It is of immense importance that the landlord should not take recourse to any illegal measure like cutting essential utilities, forcing out the tenant, changing the locks and entering the premises without permission, because it might work against the landlord; considering the fact that in India laws are tougher on the landlord.

If the Court allows the petition/appeal of the landlord and grants some time to the tenant to vacate the premises and the tenant still not vacates, then the tenant shall be evicted by the Police force.[1]

[1] Ram Prakash Sharma v. Babulal Irla and Ors, (2011) 6 SCC 449.