According to the Black’s Law Dictionary – A landlord is one who, being the owner of an estate in land, has leased the same for a term of years, on a rent reserved, to another person, called the “tenant.”
The Rent Control Act passed by the government of India in 1948, though pro-tenant, also talks about the protection of the rights of landlords. A number of states have implemented modified versions of the same act, such as Delhi, Maharashtra, Karnataka, so to suit the needs of their jurisdiction. It is typically residential leases that spell out the terms of the landlord and tenant relationship, however, an oral agreement or a very simple lease covering basic terms between the two is also enforceable under law. The rights of landlords are such as:
- The right to choose who will live in their rental property.
- The right to screen prospective tenants, such as confirming current employment, salary level, prospects for remaining with the employer and landlord references from the previous landlords.
- Right to collect a security deposit in a separate interest-bearing escrow account, so as to indemnify the landlord against any losses he may suffer upon non-payment of rent, damage to the rental property etc.
- Upon the end of tenancy, the landlord may cut from the security deposit any increases in the real estate taxes the tenant is bound to pay pursuant to a valid tax escalator clause in the lease.
- The landlord holds the right of prompt payment, that is the first date of every month, unless decided otherwise by the parties.
- Landlord hold the right to untimely eviction of the tenant on the grounds of subletting the rental property or a part of it to another party without permission, breach of rental agreement, conducting illegal activities in the property, delay in payments, misuse of property etc, as per The Draft Model Tenancy Act 2015.
- Landlord is entitled to gain possession of the property in case some repairs, alterations or additions have to be made to the property which would not be possible if there is no vacancy of the property.
- Right to be informed of any repairs, alterations etc conducted by the tenant to the rental property.
In India, some landlords do assume powers beyond the normal course of assumption, however, that is detrimental to their own case because the tenants would choose to reside with a landlord who offers an agreement which is either neutral or more tenant-friendly in nature. Countries like Japan and Vietnam have very ‘Pro-Landlord’ laws, but in that case, India is assumed to be more ‘Neutral or Tenant-Friendly’. More so, it is important to not forget one’s responsibilities as a landlord, to keep oneself safe from all forms of legal action.