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.

NRI Legal Services is now on Telegram. Join NRI Legal Services channel in your Telegram and stay updated.

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?

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.

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.