Renting a house is a good source of income. But, finding the right tenant and dealing with them is a difficult task. There is a high risk involved in giving your house on rent to a stranger. Sometimes, the landlord might need the house for his own personal needs, or the tenant is not paying rent, and the landlord may require the tenant to vacate the premises, or for any other reason. However, there are instances where the tenant refuses to vacate the premises despite the owner’s request.
Therefore, in this article, we will discuss how an owner can make the tenant vacate the premises, what are the rules to vacate a rented house, how to write a legal notice to a tenant to vacate the premises, what are the grounds available to the landlord for sending a legal notice to the tenant to vacate the premises, what are the steps involved in filing a case of eviction against a tenant, and other associated questions.
What are the rules for vacating a rented house?
Every state has its own real estate laws. However, these laws are based on the Rent Control Act of 1948, enacted by the Government of India to regulate property rentals and the evictions of tenants in India. A rental agreement is the most important condition. The rental agreement should contain provisions for a security deposit, rent amount, the purpose of stay, tenure, and such other terms and conditions as mutually agreed between the parties.
The Act aims at protecting the rights and interests of both; the landlord and tenant, thereby preventing them from being abused by the other. As a result, it protects the tenant from being evicted by the landlord for no legitimate reason, and it also means that the landlord cannot charge more rent than what was agreed upon in the rental agreement. At the same time, it also protects the landlord’s property from being unfairly exploited by the tenant.
What should you do if the tenant is not leaving the house?
If the tenant is not leaving the house, the landlord can send them a legal notice asking them to vacate the premises. Sending a legal notice to the tenant is the first stage of eviction proceedings. A legal notice indicates that the tenant is required to vacate the premises within a stipulated time period.
If the tenant does not vacate the premises even after receiving a legal notice, then the landlord can seek eviction of the tenant through a suit for eviction of the tenant.
What is a valid eviction notice in accordance with Section 106 of the Transfer of Property Act?
Section 106 of the Transfer of Property Act of 1882 lays down the provisions about service of notice on the tenant where there is no written lease deed.
The landlord should serve a written notice of eviction signed by them and delivered personally to the tenant, their family, or their servants.
If the property is used for agricultural or manufacturing purposes, the lessee/tenant will be given six months’ notice to terminate the lease. If the property is used for any other purpose, then a 15-day notice to terminate the lease will be given to the lessee/tenant. The notice period will commence from the date it is served to the tenant or lessee.
Once the notice period has expired, the landlord can initiate an eviction proceeding against the tenant.
What are the grounds available to the landlord for sending a legal notice to the tenant to vacate the premises?
A landlord may evict the tenant by sending a legal notice on any of the following grounds:
- If the tenant deliberately does not pay the rent amount to the landlord even after the expiration of the fifteen-day period.
- If the tenant uses the property for a different purpose. for example; uses the residential property for commercial purposes without the permission of the landlord.
- If the tenant sublets the property to another person without the permission or no-objection certificate of the landlord.
- Any act that reduces the value of the property or results in a loss of utility
- Using the property for any illegal or immoral activity that is prohibited under the law.
- Creating so much nuisance in the neighbourhood that everyone seeks to obtain written consent against the tenant.
- If the tenant occupies any other premises in a different state/region of the country for more than 4 months.
- Denies the title of the owner or changes the nature of the property without obtaining the written consent of the landlord.
- If the tenant changes, adds, or builds any temporary or permanent structure on the premises without the landlord’s written consent,
- If the tenant who has the written consent of the landlord to sublet the premises increases the rent of such a sublet without the written permission of the landlord.
- If the landlord requires the premises for his own purpose or for his family members.
- If the property needs to be repaired and requires people to vacate the premises until the repair is complete, However, the tenant can enter the premises after the renovation work is complete.
- If the property is in dilapidated condition and needs to be demolished for redevelopment or the construction of another building,
Hence, the landlord can file a suit of eviction against a tenant if the tenant refuses to vacate the premises within 30 days of receiving the legal notice.
How to write a legal notice to a tenant to vacate?
Here is a sample legal notice to a tenant to vacate the premises –
Ref. No. __________________ Dated – _________.
Reg. Post/Speed Post
Email Address: ______________.
I have addressed you under the instruction from and on behalf of my Client _____________ as follows:
- The Tenant and my Client had executed a Rent Agreement dated _________for the _____________ (premises/property).
- As per Clause ____ of the Rent Agreement, the Tenant was under obligation to use the premises for residential purposes only. However, if the terms of the lease are violated, my client has the right to terminate the lease by serving the tenant with a one-month notice to vacate the premises.
- That you (the tenant) were using the premises for commercial purposes without my client’s permission, and that despite several warnings issued by my client at your email address on the dates _____ and _____, the tenant paid no attention and did not respond.As a result, my client served a notice of termination of the rental agreement via email on _______.
- That my client will be inspecting the said premises on _______, and you are also advised to be present at the same time.
- Your security deposit will be returned to you after deducting 1 month’s rent due and other damages caused to the property or fixtures.
- Therefore, I on behalf of my client, request that you comply with the terms of the said Rent Agreement, executed between you and my client, and vacate the premises on _______, after clearing all the dues to my client. Failing which, my client will be forced to take legal action against you.
What are the steps involved in filing a case of Eviction against a Tenant?
A tenant can be evicted on the grounds mentioned above. If the tenant refuses to vacate the premises, the landlord can file a suit for eviction against the tenant.
Following are the steps involved in filing a suit for Eviction against a Tenant –
Step 1: The landlord will send a legal notice to the tenant requiring them to evict the premises.
Step 2: If the tenant refuses to evict the premises even after the legal notice, then, the landlord can file a suit before a civil court for the eviction of the tenant.
Step 3: At the first hearing, the lawyer will present the case, stating the reasons for the tenant’s eviction.
Step 4: The tenant will be required to file its reply before the court upon presentation of the landlord’s argument.
Step 5: The court will hear both parties and examine the evidence presented by them before the court.
Step 6: Upon hearing and examining witnesses, the court will pass the judgement.
What are the documents required to file a suit for eviction?
To initiate an eviction proceeding, the following documents are required:
- Sale Deed, Title Deed, or any other document that establishes the landlord’s ownership of the property;
- Rent agreement or lease deed between the landlord and tenant;
- Past rent agreement or lease deed between the landlord and past tenant;
- Legal notice of eviction given to the tenant;
- Original copy of postal receipts;
- Such other document as may be required to prove the tenancy;
- Proof of any misconduct done by the tenant.
Can I forcefully evict a tenant in India?
No, you cannot forcefully evict a tenant in India. There is a procedure for the eviction of tenants, which we have discussed above.
How to evict a tenant without a rental agreement in India?
A rental agreement can be used as evidence in court in the event of a dispute. However, if you do not have a rent agreement and the tenancy is based on a verbal understanding, you can still initiate eviction proceedings against a tenant. Provided, you have to prove in court the tenancy relationship between you and the landlord, a rent receipt issued by the landlord, evidence of any employee or person working on the rented premises, electricity bills, or such other document that can help prove that the tenant was in occupation of the rented premises.
How to avoid an illegal eviction?
You can avoid an illegal eviction if the landlord follows the legal requirements for evicting a tenant. The court will issue a decision directing the tenant to vacate the premises after serving a notice of eviction on the tenant, filing an eviction suit if the tenant does not vacate the premises and a trial and hearing of the matter. The tenant may file an appeal; if the tenant does not file an appeal, the landlord may remove the tenant from the premises.
The landlord has the right to evict the tenant from the premises; however, they must not do any of the following: change the lock of the house, cut off the house’s electricity or water supply, charge a penalty from the tenant even if it was not specified in the rent agreement, throw out the tenant’s belongings, and so on. These activities are considered criminal offences, and the landlord will be liable to pay compensation to the tenant.
How long can a tenant stay without paying rent?
Nonpayment of rent is a reason for eviction; thus, if a tenant fails to pay rent, the landlord can initiate eviction proceedings against the tenant from the date the rent is due.
How long can a tenant stay after the lease expires in India?
The tenant can lawfully remain in possession of the property for the period mentioned in the rental agreement. For example, if the rental agreement states an 11-month duration, then, the lease expires at the end of 11 months. However, if the tenant wishes to stay beyond the agreed 11-month period, then they should get the consent of the landlord to either extend the date of termination of the lease or renew the lease for another period of time.
Police complain against a tenant in India
Default in rent payment and other landlord-tenant issues are civil matters, and the police cannot interfere in landlord-tenant disputes, so the best way is to send a legal notice to the tenant to vacate the premises and pay the arrears of rent (if any). If the tenant does not respond or pay attention to the legal notice, then the landlord can file a civil suit for eviction against the tenant.
Can police evict a tenant in India?
No, you cannot call the police to evict or threaten to evict a tenant in India. This kind of “self-help eviction” cannot be used and is against the law. To have a legitimate eviction, the person should send a written notice of eviction to the tenant.
Latest Supreme Court judgement on the eviction of a tenant
Neetu Singh & Ors. Vs State of UP, 2022
In this case, on the Tenant’s default in payment of rent, the landlord filed an FIR against the tenant for a criminal offence under Section 406 (Criminal breach of trust) and Section 420 (Cheating) of the IPC.
The tenant filed an application for quashing the FIR. The question raised before the court was whether an FIR could be lodged in case of default in the payment of rent.
The Supreme Court had held that Section 406 of the IPC cannot be used in cases of rent default by tenants, and with regard to Section 420 of the IPC, it cannot be said that the tenant had influenced the landlord to rent the property to the tenant and that the tenant did not intend to cheat the landlord as he was paying the rent at the beginning of his possession. As a result, the court dismissed the FIR, stating that no criminal offence under the IPC was established and that failure to pay rent is a civil offence.
Anthony Vs KC Ittoop and Sons and Others, 2000
In this case, the appellant was a tenant in a building that was originally owned by a senior member of the family. The appellant was in possession of the building under a lease deed for a period of 5 years. Later, the ownership of the building was allotted to a female member of the family. The appellant had paid rent regularly to the landlord. Thereafter, the ownership of the building was transferred to the respondent, who filed a suit for eviction.
The question raised was whether non-registration of the lease deed could protect the tenant’s rights.
The court had held that registration of a lease deed is compulsory to establish that there was a tenancy relationship. However, if the lease deed is not registered, the tenant can claim protection under the Kerala Buildings (Lease and Rent Control) Act. The appellant cannot be evicted. Nevertheless, the Appellant had occupied the building and had paid monthly rent to the landlord; therefore, he had become a statutory tenant under the Rent Control Act, whose eviction can be considered only by the Rent Control Court.
The landlord-tenant relationship is governed by the Rent Control Act. Each state has its own rental property laws. Renting a property looks like an easy source of income; however, there are several issues faced by the tenants as well as the landlords. There are instances when the landlord wants possession of the rented property and evicts the tenant. However, the landlord cannot randomly evict a tenant without any valid reason. Section 106 of the Transfer of Property Act lays out the procedure for sending a legal notice to the tenant in the absence of a rental agreement. If the landlord wants to evict a tenant for a valid reason, then they should send a legal notice to the tenant stating the grounds for eviction. If the tenant fails to respond to the legal notice of eviction, then, the landlord can file a civil suit for eviction against the tenant. Moreover, a landlord cannot forcefully evict a tenant or use any illegal tactics to evict them.