Like every tenant is eager to find a pleasant place to stay, every landlord too would wish to have a good tenant in his/her property. At times, landlords might ignore certain basic checks before leasing out properties to tenants, which later would land them in unpleasant consequences. Let’s understand what a landlord can do if a tenant refuses to vacate his property.
How Long Can A Tenant Reside In Rented Property?
It is legal for a tenant to occupy the rented property as long as a rental agreement is valid. If the tenure of the agreement is mentioned as 11 months, then the tenant may not leave the property up to 11 months. However, if the lease agreement includes clauses such as, if the tenant skips paying rent for a month or if the tenant indulges in any criminal activity, he/she will have to vacate, then the tenant is bound to leave the property if he skips rent or is found guilty.
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
So what to do in any of the above scenarios, to make the tenant vacate a rented premises?
First up, try to speak with your tenants and sort out things with some minor compromises, if required. Give them a chance to vacate the rented premises before you file a case or take any further measures. But if this doesn’t work out well, proceed to get legal help.
Seek State Authority’s Help
Every state government has a Competent Authority to oversee disputes related to rentals within its jurisdiction and a landlord is free to approach this body.
The designated persons of the authority verify the registered documents related to the property and its lease. And they listen to the landlord and the tenant and then take a stand. But, the entire process would likely take around 6 months time. If the tenant hasn’t vacated the rented premises even after the expiry of the lease tenure, the Competent Authority directs such tenant to leave the premises and also pay for the damages caused, if any.
Rent Control Act
Almost all the State Governments in India have enacted their own Rent Control Acts (RCA), however, the chief objective of all the rent control laws is to protect tenants from excessive rents, random hikes in rent and also, to ensure them a lease tenure that is lawful, as per the agreement. Initially, the Rent Control Acts, being regarded a temporary measure, were enacted for only short intervals. But the State Governments have kept on amending and extending them for every few years, so far.
Prime Objectives Of Rent Control Act
The key objectives of Rent Control Acts of most of the States are common, which include –
- To allow letting of vacant buildings and premises thus helping tenants in finding rental accommodation
- To stress on fixation of fair rents
- To protect tenants from undiscerning evictions by corrupt landlords
- To elucidate the duties and responsibilities of landlords with regard to the maintenance of their rented premises
- To expose the rights of landlords during non-payment of rent, misuse of rented property, etc by the tenants
- To facilitate eviction of tenants for certain causes
Approach The Court Of Law
While Rent Control Acts of some states allow tenants to continue residing in the rented property after paying the rent due thus avoiding eviction, some laws favor landlords as they insist on the eviction of such tenants from the rented premises after paying rent dues. If a tenant disagrees to leave even after the completion of the lease period, you can approach the Civil Court, under the jurisdiction of which your property falls. You may seek the eviction of your tenant but you will have to abide by the Court’s decision, whether or not it is in your favor.
You will have to send a legal notice to your tenant asking him/her to pay the arrears of rent or else to vacate within a month. The tenant has to pay rent in the court once it is assessed by the court and in case he/she fails, it invites immediate eviction. Besides rent, you may also seek for compensation money for your loss.
Further, if either tenant or landlord isn’t happy with the Civil Court’s decision, he/she may approach the High Court of the state.
Seek Police Help
The police can help only if a tenant is indulging in any criminal proceedings while matters like non-payment of rent or tenant refusing to vacate do not call for police intervention. However, once a judicial order arrives from Court in favour of the landlord instructing the tenant to vacate the property, then the police would be able to help you out.
Register Lease Agreement
According to Section 17 of the India Stamp Act, 1899, the instrument chargeable with duty and executed by any person in India shall be stamped or at the time of execution.
It is mandatory to register a rental agreement if the lease tenure is over 11 months. An unregistered lease deed is not admissible as evidence in the court of law. Whether you are a landlord or a tenant, registering a rent agreement ensures security to both parties, should a dispute arise in future. So, make sure that you have registered your rental agreement by paying requisite stamp duty.
When a tenant refuses to vacate, it is quite obvious that you will get angry. Well, you better back off before things take a bad turn. Don’t ever manhandle your tenants or try to throw their things out of the rented premises, forcing them to vacate. Using of force or threatening the tenants would be illegal and such actions might land you in serious/ legal troubles later. Also, refrain from cutting off electricity, water supply or changing locks of the rented premises.
MUST DO Things
Here’s a sum up of what a landlord should do to avoid landing in troubles-
- Be cautious while choosing a tenant
- Enter into an agreement before tenant moves in
- Draft the rental agreement with utmost care (don’t miss termination and eviction clauses)
- Get the rent agreement registered
- If the tenant refuses to vacate, do not manhandle or threaten him/her but approach a legal authority
Leave and License Agreement Or Lease Agreement?
Leave and License Agreement is the better choice against a lease deed since a property owner will have more control over the property than a tenant. Under license agreements, the licensor (landlord) holds the legal ownership as well as the possession of the property, while a lease agreement gives legal possession of the property to the tenant.
Even a lease agreement can be made in the best interest of the landlord by inserting certain clauses in it. You can do that with our customisable rental agreement drafted by legal experts.
Draft Model Tenancy Act, 2015
The Indian Government has lately shown some interest towards approving the Draft Model Tenancy Act, 2015, which aims to address the concerns of both tenants and landlords.
The Draft Model Tenancy Act, 2015, is an upgradation of the existing Rent Control Act, 1948. It will form a structure for the regulation of tenancy for residential as well as commercial properties. With the proposed Act, landlords can charge rent as per market rates, get the rent revised periodically, and also get the rented premises vacated easily without indulging in tedious legal proceedings.
A Rental Agreement Is Mandatory
Whether it is a lease agreement or a leave and license agreement, make sure to enter into an agreement before giving a tenant the possession of your property. Do remember that the rights of a landlord and a tenant are protected by the rent agreement or leave and license agreement.
As long as things are in place and the agreement expires, you can stay relaxed. After that, if you and your tenant are content, you may continue renting it to the tenant, but first, renew the agreement.
Make Your Own Rent Agreement Online
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