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.

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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.

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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.

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.

The powers and rights of landlords in India

Rights of landlords in India

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.

Landlord-Tenant Dispute- Tales that Never End!

Landlord Tenant Dispute

Eviction of tenants is one of the most frequently queries that we handle from NRIs. Landlord-Tenant disputes are not limited to local levels only. In the case of NRI properties, the matter always becomes worse because people can take undue advantage of the absence of overseas citizens. Most NRIs have no option but to give their houses on rent to protect from trespassers, illegal occupants; and to manage and take care of assets which could otherwise be at risk a state of deterioration or neglect.

However, the landlord-tenant relationship is a sensitive one and needs to be treated with immense prudence. We cannot always ensure a completely fool proof protection methodology, but there are definitely certain precautions that can be taken so that the risks stand reduced. Even if they were to be served a notice to quit it wouldn’t necessarily always – the illegal occupants, are adept at disrespecting all tenancy arrangements. Hence, legal advisors have to be careful about the rights of NRIs and protect the same.

We, at NRI Legal Services, have a committed and experienced team of legal service experts who exclusively handle matters for NRIs and overseas citizens all across the country without having them to travel to India.

Did you know?

  • Rent laws across the nation are now more in favor of the landlords than ever before and with some special provisions in certain cases for NRIs eviction has become comparatively easier.
  • Some judgments from the Honorable Supreme Court of India and High Courts have conclusively upheld the rights of the landlords in eviction suits.
  • Special clauses such as – personal necessities have been introduced in rent laws arming the landlord with legal teeth to carry out an eviction.

As far as factors unique to these conflict issues are concerned it is good to have proper legal agreements that safeguard the interests of the landlord.

  • Rent/lease agreements should be properly defined, written and signed by both parties.
  • Registration of these documents is a must.
  • Most landlords are better off if they enter into Leave and License agreements with the tenants which are preferred to be of shorter duration.
  • At the first instance of an occupant acting out of line, the owner should get an indication that he needs to be shown the door out of his property
  • If the legal notice sent to residents is not yielding a result, then the law has provisions for setting up rent courts all across the country for bringing them to conviction.
  • Property dispute lawyers suggest that you should enter into sound agreements maybe even engage in specific Power of Attorney with your tenants so that your legitimate rights stay protected.
  • It is always advised to get your tenants registered with local police stations.
  • Property agreements need to be renewed as and when required. Rental payments should frequently be checked.

It is important for the tenants also to understand and realize their responsibility too. Although there are tenancy and rent-related laws in all Indian States conflicts still arise and more so in the case of NRIs who cannot oversee their properties always very well.