In India, landlords and tenant disputes are common subjects of legal issues as they can arise from a variety of reasons, including but not limited to rent payment, eviction, property maintenance, Pagdi system, security deposit, and lease. Metro cities like Delhi, Mumbai, and Bangalore have an increased flow of immigration of people coming from small-town cities, so they witness more landlord and tenant disputes than other cities.
Disputes are inevitable in any contractual or general relationship, and the landlord-tenant relationship is no exception, though some of the problems can be avoided by formulating a rent agreement. Laws That Tenants and Landlord Must Be Aware of include the Union Cabinet's Model Tenancy Act, 2021, which outlines the rights and responsibilities of a tenant. By regulating this act, the Indian rental housing sector will be more organized and transparent. According to the Act, a Rent Court is the primary forum for hearing and resolving all disputes between tenants and owners over their rental properties.
One of the most common landlord-tenant disputes in India is unpaid rent. It can arise from a tenant's failure to pay rent on time or disagreement regarding the change in rent. A tenant's failure to pay rent on time can cause landlords financial hardship. The tenant is required to pay the rent on time and in full, as per the terms of the lease agreement. Failure to pay rent can lead to legal action by the landlord to evict the tenant. In most cases, a rent dispute can be resolved through negotiation between the landlord and the tenant. However, if the dispute is not resolved, it may need to be taken to court.
Maintenance and Repairs
Maintenance and repair issues are also one of the most common sources of conflict between landlords and tenants. As a general rule, the landlord is responsible for maintaining the property in a habitable condition, while the tenant is responsible for keeping the property clean and reporting any maintenance or repair issues to the landlord promptly. Tenants may complain that the landlord is not keeping up with the maintenance and repairs of the rental unit, while landlords may argue that the tenant is responsible for certain repairs.
While day-to-day fixtures are taken care of by the tenant, anything that would affect the structure of the property is the responsibility of the landlord. Here are some steps that landlords and tenants can take to resolve maintenance and repair issues:
- Communication: The first step in resolving any maintenance or repair issue is to communicate with the other party. Tenants should report any issues to their landlords as soon as possible, and landlords should respond promptly to any requests for repairs.
- Inspection: The landlord should inspect the property to determine the extent of the maintenance or repair issue, which may involve bringing in a professional to assess the problem.
- Agreement: Once the extent of the issue has been determined, the landlord and tenant should agree on how to resolve it. This may involve the landlord making repairs, the tenant making repairs, or the landlord and tenant splitting the cost of repairs.
- Documentation: Both parties need to document any agreements or repairs made, including the date and time of communication, the nature of the issue, and the actions taken to resolve it.
In some cases, the tenant may be able to withhold rent until the issue is resolved or seek legal action to force the landlord to make repairs. However, it is generally best for both parties to work together to resolve the issue in a timely and mutually beneficial manner.
Eviction from a housing dispute in India is the process of removing a tenant from a property legally or illegally. A landlord can evict a tenant if the tenant violates the lease agreement, fails to pay rent, or engages in any illegal activities on the premises. This process is governed by the Rent Control Act of various states in India and involves serving the tenant with a notice to vacate the premises, followed by legal proceedings in the event the tenant does not comply with the notice.
Eviction can also be processed through a court order, with both parties presenting their cases before the court and the court deciding the matter. In cases where the tenant is found to be in unauthorized possession of the property, the court may order the eviction of the tenant.
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Landlords may try to withhold security deposits for repairs or unpaid rent, while tenants may argue that the security deposit was not used appropriately. Nowadays, landlords demand huge amounts of money in security disputes to avoid such disputes in the future. At the start of a tenancy, the landlord may ask the tenant to provide a security deposit as a guarantee for rent payment and property maintenance. The amount of the security deposit and the conditions for its return should be clearly defined in the leave and lease agreement.
Often, the Tenant's mishandling of the landlord's property can lead to damage and give rise to disputes between the two, as there have been numerous occurrences of such instances. Usually, if the landlord agrees to resolve this issue, he will demand the tenant to pay the repair costs incurred by the damage. Nonetheless, if the tenant refuses to take responsibility for the damage, denies giving the repair costs, and asserts that the damage was not caused by her/his carelessness, a serious dispute will arise.
Subletting is a common practice in India, whereby a tenant rents out part or all of the property they have been renting to another individual, without the knowledge or consent of the landlord. This practice is generally done without the landlord's permission and can lead to several issues.
First, subletting can lead to a violation of the rental agreement between the landlord and the tenant, resulting in the tenant being evicted from the property. Second, it may also result in an additional financial burden on the tenant since they may be responsible for paying the rent of the subletting tenant if they fail to do so. Finally, it may also lead to disputes between the landlord and the tenant regarding the condition of the property, as well as the payment of rent.
Doing alterations in your rental house outside the permitted capacity is called unauthorized alterations. Often it is seen tenants make unauthorized alterations without the landlord’s permission, such as painting the walls, changing fixtures, or making structural changes and when landlords find that their leased property has been changed without their consent, affecting the value of the property, it will be a matter of dispute or potential legal issues. Both tenants and landlords need to be aware of their rights and responsibilities when it comes to unauthorized alterations. If the tenants wish to get any modifications in the property they should always seek the consent of the owner, while the landlords should make sure that they understand the terms of the rental agreement and take action in case any unauthorized alterations are done to their property.
Rental properties should always be used for the purpose they are being rented for. It is strictly prohibited for tenants to engage in any illegal or unlawful activity on the property. As a result, the landlord is always in the driver's seat and tenants can forfeit their security deposits.
Privacy and Access
Privacy and access in a rental house in India are important considerations for both the tenant and the landlord. While the property belongs to the landlord, a tenant has the right to acquire easements once he or she takes possession of the property. Tenants have the right to privacy and security in their rental property, which means that landlords must respect the tenant's right to privacy and not intrude unless it is necessary. It is infringing on the tenant's right to privacy and his right to easement if the landlord enters the premises now and then or suddenly without serving any reasonable notice.
This includes but is not limited to entering the property without permission, taking photographs without consent, and sharing personal information with third parties. Access is also an important consideration in a rental house in India. Landlords must provide tenants with access to the property, including keys and locks, and should ensure that common areas are adequately monitored and maintained. Furthermore, tenants should expect their landlords to respond to maintenance requests promptly.