What can be done when the landlord forces the tenant to vacate the house before the expiry of the contract term?

What can be done when the landlord forces the tenant to vacate the house before the expiry of the contract term?

In a landlord-tenant relationship, the latter often remains at a sensitive spot. A tenant has certain rights which are protected by the law. The Rent Control Act, 1948, passed by the Indian Government, regulates various norms of tenancy and land ownership and to curb the exploitation of either the landlord or the tenant due to rent or occupancy. Almost, every State Governments in India have enacted their own Rent Control byelaws.  Each state has given certain grounds under which the landlord is legally allowed to evict the tenant.

However, the violation of tenancy laws is commonplace in cities where it is not easy to find a rental home immediately if the landlord asks his tenant to vacate. Imagine being on streets of metros like Delhi or Mumbai? It isn’t a child’s play to locate a house in a night so spontaneously. He cannot unjustifiably evict the tenant. What should be done then?

Pondering over Basic Terms

Tenancy is the interests/rights of the tenant who occupies a house/property from the owner for a specific and agreed period in exchange for rent, as stated in the lease agreement.

A tenant refers to a person who is the occupier of the leasehold estate/property. On the other scale, a landlord/Landlady is the owner of the property which is rented/leased to the tenant.

Grounds of eviction

  • Non-payment of due rent at the given time. Extension of time can be granted at the discretion of the landlord.
  • Selling the rented or part of the premise without landlord’s knowledge.
  • Misuse or damage to rented premises.
  • Conducting illegal/ criminal activities in rented premises.
  • Deliberate violation of clauses mentioned in rental agreement.

Tenancy agreement

Written words more authentic than said words, rights? A tenant agreement specifies every detail about the tenant procedure to be occupied upon.

A tenancy agreement must include:

  • The property addresses
  • The details of all parties involved
  • The landlord’s service address
  • The amount of rent and how it will be paid by the tenant
  • The proposed term of the tenancy
  • Notice periods required to bring the tenancy to an end
  • The rights and obligations of both parties
  • A forfeiture clause to allow possession of the property where the tenant is at fault
  • Any special arrangements

Offering a professional tenancy agreement shows your caution and you taking your role as landlord seriously. It also gives one the opportunity to set some clear boundaries from the off – as simple as can the tenants keep pets, are they allowed to sublet the property? By making clear what you expect of the tenant and what they should expect of you – both can feel more at ease and the chances of a disagreement or dispute further down the line are also reduced.

Now, the emphasis has shifted more to landlord protection than tenancy rights in the given DRAFT MODEL TENANCY ACT. 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.

Steps to escape the pest of forceful eviction

  1. Firstly, as per the Rent Control Act, a tenant has the legal right to approach the court and defend himself against an illegal eviction.
  2. Secondly, often non-payment of rent, rent agreement violation, property damage and illegal activity are the key grounds for eviction. The tenant must refer to the provisions of the State Rent Control Act to find out the grounds for eviction. If the landlord has evicted the said tenant on any ground otherwise or other than the ones specified in the Act, it will amount to unwarranted eviction. The tenant must thereafter seek the help of law and the enforcement bodies to prevent such eviction.
  3. Thirdly, circumstances may arise when a tenant cannot vacate the house (medical or financial emergency). In such cases, the tenant may file a suit for injunction in an appropriate court to legally impede the landlord from evicting the tenant. This step arises in case the landlord forces the tenant to leave the premises without any appropriate notice.
  4. Fourthly, the Rent Controller of the appropriate jurisdiction can be visited in case of eviction on false grounds. stating his/her reasons to challenge the notice of eviction. The Court will summon the tenant and he/she will be required to present his/her case and reasons supporting the requisite evidences.

Whether a landlord letting out accommodation or a tenant renting accommodation, both have rights and responsibilities which are set under legislative boundaries. These rights have gained prominence in the 21st century due to the rising interests in dwellings and estate.  There is an urgent need for dissemination of awareness among the populace to avail the much-needed information for availing to the facilities.

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