In India, tenants have certain legal rights protected under the law. These rights ensure that tenants can live in their rental properties safely and without fear of unfair treatment from their landlords.
The Model Tenancy Act 2021 ("Model Act"), published by the federal government, was recently approved by the cabinet and distributed to all the states and union territories for their approval. The Model Act aims to create a rent authority to control the rental of real estate properties, safeguard the interests of landlords and tenants, and offer quick adjudication processes for resolving disputes and related issues.
It's important to note that these rights vary from state to state in India, so it'sit's a good idea for tenants to familiarize themselves with the specific laws in their state.
In this article, we have covered legal rights that tenants must be aware of to advocate for themselves and seek legal recourse if their rights are violated. Consulting with a landlord's tenant lawyer also helps to avoid future landlord and tenants disputes.
Right to Fair Rent
A landlord cannot charge rent at extraordinary amounts when renting out a house. It is important to determine the value of a home before renting it out. Rent that is too high for the property'sproperty's value may be challenged in court if the tenant feels the amount is unjust. Generally, the rent is calculated at around 8 to 10% of the property'sproperty's value, which shall include all the costs incurred during the construction and fixtures on the property.
In some cases, if the landlord refuses to accept any rent or other charges due or declines to provide a receipt, the tenant must pay the rent and other costs to the landlord regularly for two months using a postal money order or another method by any applicable regulations. If the landlord still declines to accept the rent and other charges after this period, the tenant may deposit the money with the Rent Authority by applicable regulations.
Right to Privacy
Every tenant has the right to privacy in their living property. It is only permissible for the landlord to enter the house with prior permission or information except in true emergencies, such as a fire or flood in the bathroom.
Further, the tenant can issue a written notice to the landlord if the landlord harasses him by asking for eviction without legal reason and refuses to accept rent. The tenant will ask for the bank account details where the rent can be deposited directly to the landlord'slandlord's credit. If the landlord fails to reply, rent can be sent by money order to the landlord. The tenant must apply to a Rent Control Court to deposit further rent if his or her first attempt does not succeed.
Right to Live Undisturbed
When an unforeseen event renders a rental property unfit for the tenant or renders the tenant unable to live there, the landlord is permitted to collect rent from the tenant once the rental property has been made livable, subject to the terms of this section. The tenant may vacate the property after providing the landlord with a written notice of fifteen days if the landlord refuses to make the necessary repairs after being contacted in writing by the tenant and the property is unfit without the repairs.
Right to Reimbursement
Except for normal wear and tear, despite any written agreement to the contrary, the landlord and tenant are each responsible for maintaining the said premises. However, the landlord must take care of all the property repairs and keep the premises in good condition. The relative duties of the tenant and landlord to repair and maintain any common facilities used by both the tenants and the landlord must be as may be provided for in the lease agreement.
If the tenant has paid for any permanent fixture or property repair, the landlord must reimburse them for such expenses. Suppose the landlord declines to make the repairs. In that case, the tenant may make the repairs themselves and deduct the cost of doing so from the rent that must be paid in the months that follow, provided that in no case shall the deduction from rent in any one month exceed fifty percent of the agreed-upon monthly rent.
However, any damage caused to the property due to the negligence of the tenant shall be recovered from the tenant, and the same can be deducted from their deposits. The tenant must pay the amount deducted from the security deposit within a month of receiving notice from the landlord if the tenant fails or refuses to make the repairs. If the tenant fails or refuses to make the repairs, the landlord may make the repairs without the tenant'stenant's consent. With the proviso that should the cost of such repairs exceed the security deposit, the tenant will be required to reimburse the landlord for the difference within a month of receiving a notification from the landlord.
Landlord's right to Information
If the landlord has hired a property manager, the landlord must disclose the following information to the tenant:
- the property owner's name;
- documentation proving that the manager has the landlord's approval;
- the specific purposes for which the manager has the landlord's approval and the duration of that approval; and
- if the property manager is a legal entity, the name of the entity and the person authorized in this capacity
- No property manager or landlord should, by himself or withhold any necessary service or supply from the tenant'stenant's rental property through any other individual.
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Right to protection from eviction
According to the Model Act, a landlord cannot evict a tenant while the tenancy agreement is still in effect unless one of the following applies:
- the tenant refuses to pay rent
- the tenant has not paid rent or due fees.
- the tenant mistreated the property or made any structural changes without the landlord's approval;
- Where the tenant must be evicted to finish repairs the landlord has to make to the property or a portion of it.
- Where the tenant gave the landlord notice to leave the property, and as a result of that notice, the landlord agreed to sell the said property.
- When the landlord passes away, and there is a legitimate need for the property to be rented out by the legal heirs, they may also file a petition with the Rent Court for eviction and recovery of possession.
If landlords are aware of their rights in India, then they can protect themselves from tenants who cause problems while paying rent and damage the habituated property. Property owners also need to educate themselves about the rights of Landlords in India, so nobody can misuse it against them.