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.

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.

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.

How to Evict the Tenant

How to Evict the Tenant

Firstly, an eviction notice is the first legal action for a landlord for removing his/her tenant. In case tenant fails to comply according to the notice, a landlord may file a suit for eviction of the tenant in the court of law. In India, there are limited number of reasons for which a tenant can be evicted by the landlord. These reasons may be different according to the state of living in. However, there is no harm in serving an eviction notice against the tenant. Eviction notice includes a deadline to pay rent or move out; it includes the amount owed.

The landlord should have valid reasons to evict the tenant such as non-payment, violating lease agreement, making noise or health ordinances etc. landlord have to give proof of any claim against the tenant. Tenant is “innocent until proven guilty”.

The eviction notice should be to the point, and fair reason should be given for eviction i.e. inform the tenant how he or she has violated the terms and conditions of the lease. A landlord should give prior 15 days’ notice for the eviction of property.

Eviction Notice generally includes the following:

  • The offence (reason for which owner is giving eviction notice)
  • A time period to remedy the offence
  • The date on which notice was served
  • Signature of the landlord

In case if the rent has not been paid for months, without the court order landlord cannot:

  • Physically remove the tenant
  • Cannot remove the tenant’s property
  • Lock the tenant out
  • Change the locks
  • Shut off the utilities (such as light, water etc.)

Reasons for eviction of the tenant:

  1. Failure to pay rent: This is the most common and strongest reason for eviction of tenant. Even if the rent is delayed by more than 15 days, it’s enough to evict.
  2. Sub-letting: In this case, if the tenant is letting out the property to another, hosting a friend or family member for an extended period then the landlord can serve the eviction notice against him.
  3. Commercial use: If the tenant decides to run a business on the property, even landlord could be in trouble. In this case, the landlord could immediately choose to evict him, or even the property is used by tenant other than the purpose mentioned in the contract then also landlord can evict him.
  4. Property Damage: it is an apparent reason which is usually mentioned in agreement that any harm done to the property will be recovered from the tenant.
  5. Society Problems: In this case, if the behaviour of the tenant is not satisfactory according to the society, landlord may evict the tenant.