What can be done when the tenant refuses to vacate the house after the expiry of the contract term?

What can be done when the tenant refuses to vacate the house after the expiry of the contract term?

Often there arises situations where tenants simply deny the repeated requests of the contractors or the landlords to vacate the house after their contracts’ terms ceases to exist. What should be done by the owners then?

It is only legal for a tenant to reside or occupy the rented property till the period the agreement validates or specifies. For instance, if the tenure of the agreement mentions as one year, then one year it is then! Residing beyond the time period requires resuscitation or permission by the landlord.

Grounds for Tenant Eviction

Usually the following can be enlisted as the grounds for eviction:

  • Non-payment of rent.
  • Selling the rented or part of the premise without landlord’s know-how.
  • Misuse of rented premises.
  • Damaging 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.

Easementary rights

Rights possessed by the owner of a property to compel the owner of another property to either allow or to abstain from doing something for the benefit of the dominant tenement are called easementary rights. These are like privileges, depriving which the owner of one tenement has a right to enjoy regarding that tenement in or over the tenement of another person.

Following essentials are important for owning the right:

  • There must be a dominant and survient tenement.
  • An easement must accommodate the dominant tenement.
  • The rights of easement must be possessed for the beneficial enjoyment of the dominant tenement.
  • Dominant and survient owners must be different persons.
  • The right should entitle the dominant owners to do and continue to do something or to prevent and continue to prevent something being done.
  • The something must be of a certain or well-defined character and be capable of forming the subject matter of a grant.

Easementary rights must not be confused with tenancy rights as both of them as poles apart. The former are, as stated earlier, privileges granted to owners while the latter concerns with the tenants living at the premise for the time being.

Time for Action!

  1. The first and foremost step lies in speaking to the tenant itself. Sorting things out by communication mixed with negotiation might help you to do away with legal jumble. If required, giving them a chance to vacate the rented premises before filing any case or taking any further course of action.
  2. State governments have competent authorities to oversee disputes relating to rentals within its jurisdiction. A landlord is free to approach the body. 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.
  3. The Rent Control Act, 1948 was passed by the Indian Government so as to regulate the various norms of tenancy and land ownership and to curb the exploitation of either the landlord or the tenant due to rent or occupancy. The landlord has the right to evict the tenant as per the Act. Almost, every State Governments in India have enacted their own Rent Control byelaws. 

For instance, in Punjab and Haryana, a landlord can evict the tenant on the basis of personal details, bonafide requirement, whereas the same does not happen in the Karnataka byelaws. But playing by ordinary rationale, courts allow for the eviction of the tenants on the landlord’s request, keeping into consideration facts and circumstances.

  • The Draft Model Tenancy Act, 2015 makes matters easier for the landlords. It is an improvement to its obsolete predecessor, the Rent Control Act, 1948. It forms 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.
  • Approaching the court of law would be a resort as well. Landlords, as they insist on the eviction of tenants from the rented premises after the clearance of the due period, can approach the Civil Court under the jurisdiction of which the property lies.

Sending a legal notice to your tenant would be the first step, asking him/her to pay the arrears of rent and to vacate within a month. The tenant has to pay rent once it is assessed by the court and in case, he/she fails, it invites immediate eviction. Besides rent, one may also seek for compensation money for the loss incurred.

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.

Rent authourity

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).

Dispute resolution

 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.

Rent revision

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.

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