How Is Regulation Of Eviction Done In India And Its Legal Obligations
This Blog is written by Prerna Ganti from Symbiosis Law School, Hyderabad. Edited by Ujjawal Vaibhav Agrahari.
Eviction is the process of removing or evicting the person living in a house, land or apartment owned by another. In simple words, eviction is forcefully removing a tenant or a person from a particular premise owned by them. It is done by following a legal procedure under civil law. However, most of the times, eviction is done without giving legal notice. Tenants are evicted due to various reasons. The court judges eviction in India when done legally, and the parties hire a civil lawyer under this case.
Tenants are evicted for various reasons, however, the most common reasons are:
• Not paying rent or default in rent: The most common ground in India where a tenant is evicted is the issue of not paying rent. Many people, due to their economic and financial position and various unforeseen circumstances, fail to pay rent. When rent is not paid within the stipulated time period, or when a tenant fails to pay rent for months together, the owner has the right to evict him/her. In addition, the owner has the right to file a case against the tenant for not paying rent.
• Violation of lease: If a tenant violates any of the terms and conditions of the contract discussed by the owner, then the tenant can be evicted on this basis. Violations such as long-term guests that the owner does not approve of, illegal use of the rented property, owning or unauthorized pets, nuisance by tenants such as loud volume, unnecessary sounds. The owner can evict a tenant if such rules are violated.
• Lease expiration: The owner can evict a tenant if the tenant is still staying at the property even after the expiration of the agreed terms and conditions. If a tenant refuses to move out despite giving a notice, the owner can file a suit in a court of law.
• Damage to the property: Causing damage to any property intentionally or unintentionally in the rented property is a valid ground to evict a tenant. The tenant can be given a warning according to the discretion of the owner. However, if any damage is caused to property by a tenant, then he/she can be sued in a court of law and can be evicted.
• Illegal activities: If a tenant living in a rented property carries out an activity that is illegal in a particular area or state, he/she can be evicted by the owner or the manager of the property. The lease of the tenant can be terminated within 24 hours, and he/she can be sued in court for carrying out an illegal activity.
However, most of the eviction process in India is done without following a legal procedure. Therefore, carrying proofs of terms and conditions is really important while renting out a property, as there might be no proof of rent when a case of court for eviction is filed.
SIGNIFICANCE OF THIS DEVELOPMENT
In India, more than half of the population lives on payment they get through rents of various ventures. Huge populations rent their houses, buildings for various purposes such as business activities to earn a living through them. Due to the rise in the number of cases of tenants failing to pay rents, the legal procedure of eviction has gained significance. Through the regulations and legal obligations of evictions, both landlords or owners, as well as the tenants, are now aware of their legal rights. Due to a lack of awareness of the law, eviction was forced by the landlords upon the tenants. However, the tenants neither vacated the rented property even after requesting to evict it. Instead, they backlashed and ignored the notice of eviction given by the owner and continued to stay in the rented property despite the expiration of the lease. Hence, the development of eviction and the awareness created in the country led to the development of the regulations, which benefitted both the tenants and landlords.
Eviction is common in India, especially forced eviction. Owners, without giving notice prior to a month, force tenants to evict the rented property. Eviction in India greatly impacts the tenants as it is difficult for them to find a new property to stay at. In addition, eviction such as slum clearance for the beautification of the city leaves the poor in a difficult situation. The poor living in the slums cannot find places to live easily. Hence, forced eviction creates a considerable impact and difficulty upon people who are facing financial burdens. However, due to the increasing awareness of eviction and its legal obligations, both landlords, as well as the tenants, are aware of their rights. The tenants now have an idea on the grounds that they can be evicted upon. The landlord also is now aware of the right to file an eviction suit in the court of law if the tenant fails to fulfil the conditions mentioned by the landlord before renting the property. The eviction was gravely observed during the pandemic. Due to unemployment and the difficulty to pay rents to the landlords, people at a large scale were forced to vacate the property they were staying at. Therefore, citizens should be aware of their rights, both landlords and tenants, as often they are subject to eviction without following a legal procedure which causes many difficulties.
The Rent Control Act, 1948 was introduced and implemented to address the issue of rent and rent control in India. However, after this enactment was implemented, other states in the nation amended and made the required changes to this law according to the laws and businesses carried out in that particular state. Therefore, the amendments made to the law were slightly different from the Union Act. The Rent Control Act of 1948 was established to govern property rental laws and ensure that neither landlords nor tenants take advantage of one another. The statute is primarily aimed at tenants, although there are safeguards to protect landlords’ rights as well. The Union Government also introduced the Modal Tenancy Act in the year 2019. This law attempts to strike a balance between the rights and tenants which are not looked after in the current law. However, the liberty to opt for this law is in the hands of states. They can either follow it or reject it. The rights of both landlord and tenant are mentioned in the Rent Control Act, 1948. Under this law, the landlord has the right to evict a tenant on the basis of a valid reason mentioned under the Act. On the other hand, the tenants are guarded against arbitrary eviction from their homes unless evicted for specific grounds and under specific conditions. The following is the procedure to evict a tenant in India after mentioning the reason for eviction.
• Sending a notice to the tenant: An eviction notice must be filed in a court of competent jurisdiction, stating the basis for eviction as well as the time and date by which the tenant must depart the property and must be informed to the tenant. Once the notice is given to the tenant, the landlord must give the tenant a reasonable period of time to vacate the property or house.
• File an eviction suit: Most of the times, the tenant refuses to vacate even after receiving a legal notice from the court. In such situations, the owner or the landlord has the right to file an eviction suit against the tenant in a court of law. The owner can hire a lawyer, and the case is filed in a civil court within jurisdiction over the rented property.
• Final notice of eviction: The court hears both parties and issues a final legal notice of eviction for the tenant based on the arguments and facts presented. Once the court issues the final eviction notice, the tenant must evacuate the rental property.
In the landmark judgment of Debasish Sinha v. the State of West Bengal, the tenant who deprived a landlord of his property for nearly three decades was fined one lakh rupees by the Supreme Court, which also ordered him to pay the rent for the previous 11 years at market rate.
In Kantha Goel v. B.P Pathak and Others, the Supreme Court held that it is well established that a co-owner can file an eviction suit against the tenant. A point is being made that a co-owner can sustain an eviction suit as long as the other co-owners do not protest. Hence, it was concluded that a co-owner has the right to file a suit of eviction against the tenant along with the decision of other co-owners.
In Bishwanth Poddar v. Archana Poddar, the Apex court held that if a sub-tenancy is created without the landlord’s consent, the sub-inclusion tenant’s in the eviction suit against the main tenant is unnecessary. The eviction decree issued against the chief tenant is executable, and the sub-tenant cannot claim that the eviction decree was obtained through fraud or collusion.
In the case of FGP limited v. Saleh Hooseini Doctor, A co-owner can file an eviction complaint against a tenant. However, it must be demonstrated that the eviction application was submitted with the approval of other co-owners. Hence, it was concluded that a co-owner can always maintain a suit for eviction.
ANALYSIS AND CONCLUSION
Due to the implementation and introduction of various laws pertaining to eviction, there now exists a systematic process for the eviction of a tenant. The tenants, as well as the landlords, are now aware of their legal rights and the grounds for eviction. The tenants cannot be falsely evicted without any proper grounds for eviction. If the rights of the tenants are hampered, they can file a suit in the court of law against the landlord for forced eviction. The landlords can evict tenants on the grounds of eviction mentioned under the Rent Control Act, 1948. The tenants must follow the terms and conditions given by the landlord to maintain a healthy relationship between the two. However, if a tenant disagrees with the terms of the contract and fails to pay the rent, the landlord has the right to file a case of eviction in the court of the law. Due to awareness of the eviction laws, the tenants now demand a reasonable period after the notice of eviction and are not subject to forced eviction. The law guarantees the protection of the rights of both tenants and landlords. Following the legal obligations and the code of conduct of law can reduce the eviction rates in the country. Landlords should give reasonable time to the tenants to pay rents, according to their financial situations. Forced eviction should be curbed, and the law of eviction should be followed in the nation. However, we observe that eviction in India is still forced upon tenants even though there are laws protecting their rights. Cases related to the eviction of tenants are often not taken seriously, and the judgment is delayed causing difficulties to the tenant. Hence, the law should be followed strictly, and awareness should be spread amongst the citizens of the country.