Eviction of Tenants in India

Introduction

Tenancy is an agreement between two parties where one party owns the property (landlord) and the other party wishes to reside and enjoy those premises (tenant). Renting a house is not an easy job as the owner has to take a big risk in lending his property to an unknown person. Especially, in cases when the tenant either defaults in payment of rent or does not vacate the property, the landlord then has to evict the tenant. Eviction is a tedious and complex process, and often the landlord is unaware of the rules and regulations related to lawful evictions. Hence, it becomes imperative to have an appropriate rental agreement in place with the tenant, mentioning all the essential details like the amount of rent, the duration and purpose of stay, the security deposit, etc.

Also, the eviction laws that the landlord should be well aware of are the Transfer of Property Act, 1882, which defines rental tenancy, and The Rent Control Act of 1948, which has provisions related to both tenants and landlords. So, this article aims at covering the eviction process of tenants in India and things that should be kept in mind while evicting a tenant.

  1. What is the procedure to evict a tenant in India?

A rent agreement happens to be the most important document and it should include a clause on eviction because, in instances, where there is a disagreement between the tenant and the landlord and such a clause can be useful to the owner.

  1. 1 Grounds for eviction

The landlord may file an eviction lawsuit against the tenant under Indian rental laws if there is a legitimate and justifiable reason to do so. Following are the grounds that the landlord can state for eviction of a tenant.

  1. If the property is needed for personal use or for a family member.
  2. Non-payment of rent for more than 15 days from the due date by the tenant.
  3. Any action of the tenant that results in land depreciation or asset depreciation of the rented premise.
  4. If the tenant sublet a rented property to another person without first obtaining permission from the landlord or submitting a written request.
  5. If the rented property is used for illegal activities or purposes that are not stated in the rent agreement by the tenant.
  6. If the landlord wants to build a new structure, then demolishing the existing property is required.
  7. If the activities of the tenant are objectionable to the neighbours and the landlord receives complaints about the same.
  8. If the tenant deliberately disproves the landlord’s title of rented premise and establishes himself/herself as the owner of the property.
  9. If the landlord requires the property for renovation or repairs, then the property needs to be vacated.
    1. 2  In India, how do you evict a tenant?

 Eviction is an action taken by landlord to evict the tenant. The procedure starts when the landlord gives the tenant a deadline to resolve the issues or else leave the rental property. If the terms are not agreed upon, the eviction process may begin in court, where both parties may present their arguments. If landlord prevails at the trial, the tenant will be required to vacate the property and return it to the owner.

The following eviction procedure has to be followed

Step 1- Send an eviction notice to the tenant

An eviction notice must be filed in the appropriate court, stating the reason for eviction as well as the time and date by which the tenant must vacate the property, and is subsequently instructed the tenant to leave the rental premises. The landlord must give the tenant reasonable time to vacate the rented property. After receiving a legal notice from the court, usually, the tenants vacate the rented premises.

Step 2- Filing an Eviction Suit

After receiving the court’s eviction notice, a tenant has the option to refuse to leave the rental property and challenge the eviction. In this situation, the landlord has the option of hiring a real estate attorney to file an eviction suit against the tenant. The civil court whose jurisdiction the rented property falls into receives the complaint for eviction of the tenant.

Step 3- Final Notice of Eviction

Following the hearing with both parties, the court issues a final legal notice of eviction for the tenant based on arguments and evidence presented. The tenant is required to vacate the rental place as soon as the court issues the final eviction order because this notice cannot be ignored.

           Some of the Supreme Court rulings on eviction cases are:

 Landlords are only permitted to issue eviction notices when there is a good and                 sufficient reason for doing so. According to the ruling in the case of Narayan v. Kunbhan Mannudiar (1947) 2 MLJ 559, the justification for asking the tenant to vacate the property must be valid and cannot stem from a simple demand for additional possessions.

The Supreme Court upheld the Delhi High Court’s eviction order against Cox & Kings Ltd, noting that the foreign company had sublet the premises to the Indian company without the landlady’s permission. Cox & Kings Ltd. & Anr. Vs. Chander Malhotra (Smt.) 2 SCC 687 (1997).  

If the tenant does not heed the eviction notice, further eviction proceedings may be brought against him. It was decided in the Munisami Naidu v. C. Ranganathan case. (AIR 1991 SC 492)  The Board had the right to take legal action against the tenant because the notice period had already passed. The plaintiff sued the defendant in Vasant Kumar Radhakishan Vora v. The Board of Trustees of the Port of Bombay, (AIR 1991 SC 14), for failing to comply with the eviction notice.

  1. 3 Things to avoid when evicting a tenant

According to a ruling by the Supreme Court of India, landlords cannot evict a tenant for at least five years if the rent is being paid on time unless they have a legitimate need for the property themselves. Other issues that should be avoided while evicting a tenant include:

  1. The landlord has no legal authority to evict the tenant. He can’t even call the cops to have him evicted. Using illegal methods to evacuate the property, such as cutting the water supply or electricity connection, throwing his belongings out, or taking punitive measures on his own, can make the landlord liable in court.
  2. The lease must be for a maximum of 11 months and include an option for renewal. It provides future protection against eviction complications.
  3.  The grounds for eviction must be justifiable under the rental laws of the state in which the property is located.
  4.  A landlord may not evict a tenant without first serving an eviction notice.
  5. The rent agreement must be established with the assistance of a real estate attorney and contain pertinent clauses on the use of the property, termination of the lease, rent amount, etc.
  6. Before renting out the home, a background check must be done.

Conclusion

In our society, renting an apartment, home, or other property is a common practice that benefits both the owner and the tenant. However, there are also situations where the landlord becomes frustrated with the tenant because he refuses to pay the rent or engages in dangerous or illegal activities at the owner’s home. In these situations, the owner may ask the tenant to leave and return his property to him. If the dispute cannot be resolved peacefully, the landlord must resort to eviction to get rid of such a tenant. 

References

  1. Minusami Naidu v. C. Ranganathan AIR 492 (SC 1991)
  2. Vasant Kumar Radhakishan Vora v. The Board of Trustees of the Port of Bombay AIR 14 (SC 1991)
  3. Cox & Kings Ltd. & Anr Vs. Chander Malhotra (Smt.) 2 SCC 687 (1997)
  4. See Ayush Tiwari, How to evict a tenant in India, blog.ipleaders.in (Dec 21, 2021)

https://blog.ipleaders.in/how-to-evict-a-tenant-in-india. (last visited Sept.9, 2022)

  • See Prachi Darji, How do you evict a tenant, as per Rights of Tenant in India, myadvo.in (Oct 14, 2019)

https://www.myadvo.in/blog/how-to-legally-evict-a-tenant-in-india/

(last visited Sept.9, 2022)

  • See Chaddaridhima, Essential Elemts of a Valid Eviction Notice,

legalserviceindia.com

www.legalserviceindia.com/legal/article-2232-necessary-elements-of-a-valid-eviction-notice-.html (last visited Sept.8, 2022)  

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