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.

Petition for Eviction of the Property

Petition for eviction of property

Eviction of property for various purposes may turn ugly if the relationship between the tenant and landlord is not amicable. Lack of understanding may lead to several issues and in many cases, the involvement of court to carry out the eviction.

One of the prominent reasons for a landlord to ask his tenant to vacate a property is the bona fide requirement of the landlord. ‘Bona fide’ requirement refers to the situation where the landowner requires the premises/property for self or family use.

There are some things that the landlord should keep in mind while carrying out the eviction. Of these, the major thing is that he/she shouldn’t use any unfair means such as threatening the tenant, throwing out his possessions, forcefully entering the premises or cutting down his basic amenities.

This not only affects the case negatively but also gives an opportunity to the tenant to file a case against the landlord. If the allegations are proved successfully, the chances of getting the property evicted may reduce significantly.

Other interesting facts about these petitions are:-

  • The crucial date for determining the legit needs of the landholder for eviction proceedings is the date on which the petition is filed.
  • The death of the petitioner has no effect on the trial because the heirs of the deceased applicant are entitled to defend the case after mentioning the bona fide requirements of the asset as specified in the petition.
  • If the property is owned by multiple people, only one of them is required to file the application if none of the co-owners object. The rules state that every co-owner possesses ownership rights over each and every element of the asset. Thus, no co-owner can be considered a partial owner.

Undoubtedly, the landlord has full entitlement to his property even if he rents it out. His bona fide requirements are sufficient to ask the tenant to evict the premises. However, it is essential that the owner abides by the law and doesn’t use any unjust means to get his property back.