Evicting a tenant can be a huge stress for a landlord if the said tenant isn’t paying the rent or not vacating the property. However, the eviction of a tenant by the landlord is laid down by various state laws in India.
Nowadays, landlords take extreme precautions to avoid such situations and are well-versed with the rules and regulations relating to the rental laws, rights of landlords and tenants in India mentioned under the Rent Control Act passed by the Government of India in 1948. This Act was implemented by the State Governments to regulate the rentals of the properties and evictions of the tenants. Under this Act, a Rent Agreement needs to be signed between the landlord and the tenant stating the details of the rented property, the rent period, monthly rent amount and the parties involved.
Common Grounds for Tenant Eviction
The Rent Control Acts of most states specify certain common grounds for evicting the tenant, which include the following:
- Non-payment of rent
- Sub-letting rented premises or a part of it without landlord’s permission
- Misuse of rented premises
- Damaging (major) rented premises
- Not vacating the rented premises even after the term’s completion
- Conducting illegal/ criminal activities in rented premises
- Deliberate violation of clauses mentioned in rental agreement
How to handle a Tenant who refuses?
It is only legal for a tenant to reside or occupy the rented property till the period the agreement validates or specifies. Residing beyond the time period requires resuscitation or permission by the landlord. While you are the owner of the property, they are the residents. Before you do anything at all, you need to know your rights as it pertains to the law.
1. Suit for Eviction
Eviction clause should also be mentioned in the agreement so it can be used in case of a dispute. You can quote the violations of contract in the court and make them a ground for eviction. There are only two ways of evicting a tenant – once the lease agreement is over or when the landlord terminates the lease by sending a legal notice under section 106 of the Transfer of Property Act. In both these cases, if the tenant does not vacate, the landlord will have to file a suit for eviction in the district court and get an order.
2. Unpaid Rent
In many cases tenants stop paying the rent and continue to hold the property. Sometimes increased rent can be the reason for dispute between the landlord and tenant. A landlord can increase the rent as per the hike mentioned in the rental agreement. In case the tenant refuses to pay the increased rent after one year, the landlord can ask him to vacate the property. However, any arbitrary increase in the rent can be refused by the tenant. Apart from eviction of tenant, the landlord can also ask for mesne profits, which includes market rent and interest, from the tenant, before the court.
3. Violation of Rent Agreement
In case you notice any violation of contract, you can seek eviction by giving a notice to your tenant. It is very important not to ignore any kind of violation and send a warning to your tenant at the right time. If you receive a complaint against the behaviour of your tenant or any criminal activity is being run from your property then you will be liable for it. That is why, you as a landlord, need to be aware of your rights and duties.
Do’s and Don’ts that to ensure that their Property is in Safe Hands
1. Conduct Background Checks
It is important to check the antecedents of a potential tenant before signing the paperwork. You can ask for a reference certificate from the tenant, and also enquire from his previous landlord. Make sure you ask for a valid permanent address since it may be useful if you need to track down the tenant. Lastly, check his office address and carefully go through the documents submitted.
2. Police Verification
A background check is not enough; you need the official nod from the police. Indeed, tenant verification at a local police station is mandatory for landlords. Ignoring this step is a punishable offence under Section 188 of the Indian Penal Code. In Delhi alone, 49 cases were registered in July 2013 against errant property owners and their tenants.
The landlord simply needs to fill in the details of the tenant in the police verification form (available online in several states). This has to be submitted, along with the tenant’s photo and copies of documents, such as PAN card, lease agreement and address proof, at the local police station. This reduces the risk of having tenants with a criminal background. A copy of this certificate needs to be submitted to your housing society office too.
3. Registering the Lease Agreement
If you are renting your property for a few months, a lease agreement is not mandatory, but it is for leases of over 11 months. This document contains details like tenure of the agreement, rent payable, deposit amount, any clauses that may result in cancellation of the agreement, and applicable penalty in case the tenant refuses to vacate. If you are planning to rent the property for more than a year, it is mandatory to get the lease agree ..
4. Grounds for Eviction
A landlord can ask the tenant to leave if he has completed the tenure as per the lease agreement. Other valid grounds are refusal to pay the rent or indulging in unlawful activities on your property. You can demand eviction if the tenant has sub-let a part or all of your property without your permission. Unfortunately, due diligence in selecting a tenant and an iron-clad lease agreement are no guarantees against legal hassles with rogue tenants.
5. Approach the Civil Court
In case either party is not happy with the decision given by the state competent authority, he may approach the small cause or city civil court. There is no fixed period to sort things at this level. The case may go on for a year or two before the final decision is taken. If the judgement fails to satisfy both the parties, the high court can be approached.
How to Evict a Tenant in India?
After establishing the grounds for the eviction, the following procedure needs to be followed:
Stage 1 – Send a Notice to the Tenant to Vacate: An eviction notice needs to be filed in a court under the appropriate jurisdiction mentioning the reason for eviction and the time and date by which the tenant has to vacate the property and is then sent to the tenant to vacate the rental property. The landlord must give a reasonable time to the tenant to vacate the rented property. In the majority of cases, the tenants leave the rented premises after receiving a legal notice from the court.
Stage 2 – File an Eviction Suit: The tenant may refuse to vacate the rented property after receiving the court’s eviction notice and contest the eviction. In this case, the landlord can hire a rental property lawyer to file an eviction suit against the tenant. The suit for eviction of the tenant is filed in a civil court under whose jurisdiction the rented property is situated.
Stage 3 – Final Eviction Notice: The court hears both sides and issues a final legal notice for eviction for the tenant based on the arguments and evidence present. The tenant has to vacate the rented property once the court sends the final eviction notice.
Notable changes proposed and made to the Tenancy Act
The existing rent control laws restricted the growth of the rental housing segment and discourage the landowners from renting out their vacant premises. Transparency was required to be brought into the housing sector by fixing the accountabilities of landlords and tenants to promote rental housing at a time when the government is chasing its Housing-For-All-By-2022 target.
Tenants cannot sublet part of whole of the rented building without the prior permission from the landlord. If they have permission to do so, tenants cannot charge an amount more than the rent they pay themselves.
In order to fix accountability and promote fairness in the rental housing segment, the policy has set up a rent authority (now, rent agreements are registered at the sub-registrar’s office).
In case of disputes, landlords and tenants will now approach the rent authority for settlement. And if dissatisfied, they can appeal by challenging in the Rent Tribunal (right now, they are being solved in the civil courts) within thirty days from the date of the order. The tribunal should not take more than 60 days to dispose the case.
The policy states that if a rent agreement is made for a specific period, the landlord cannot increase the rent amount within this period, unless a provision to that effect has been expressly stated in the agreement. A three months written notice is served beforehand.
The landlord may move the Rent court if the tenant fails to pay the rent for two months. If the tenant corrects the situation within one month of the matter reaching court, they will be allowed to stay. In case the premises are not fit for habitation, the tenant would be within his right to leave it after serving a 15-day notice period.