Can a Tenant be Evicted Without a Lease?

Can A Tenant Be Evicted Without A Lease?

A contract through which property, land or services etc, are provided to another party, in return for periodic payments, is called a lease. If a person becomes a tenant without a lease, it is called a tenancy-at-will. Every state in India has their own tenancy laws, like the West Bengal Premises Tenancy Act 1977, and a landlord may evict a tenant only on the basis of the grounds laid down under the act which is relevant as per your jurisdiction. The right to be saved from eviction is the most significant right provided to the tenants under these acts, along with rent determination rules and safeguards for landlords as well.

Reasons for Eviction

  • Non-payment of rent after 15 days of when the rent was due.
  • Engaging in activities that may reduce the utility or value of the rental property.
  • Allowing someone else to occupy the property, without due permission of the landlord.
  • Using property for illegal purposes.
  • End of period of tenancy etc.

The first step is to file a petition with the Rent Control Court for eviction, which would be further be served to the tenant.

Types of Notices

  • Pay Rent or Quit” Notice – It is given to a tenant who defaults in payment, along with a period of three to five days to pay such amount.
  • Cure or Quit” Notice – It is given to a tenant who violates some condition of his lease or rent agreement, which may be oral in nature too. A certain period is given to correct this default.
  • Unconditional” Notice – It is given in a few serious cases such as damage to the rental property, habitual defaults in rent payments, conducting illegal activities on the rental property etc, subject to the state rent laws.
  • Eviction Notice without Cause”- These may be given even when none of the conditions of the agreement are violated. However, these require extra protections to be given to the tenants, such as the lengthened period for eviction etc.

Modern Tenancy Bill, 2015

This new legislation provides with various advantages, such as protection to the landlords in terms of compensation if the tenant does not vacate the premises in time etc. It requires registration of a written agreement between the landlord and tenant with the rent authority before any property is leased along with setting up separate courts for such matters. A good idea for NRI landlords is to hire the best property lawyers to ensure these lengthy court cases get over before the tenant can take advantage of you.

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.