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Landlord-tenant disputes: Defences for the Landlords

Landlord-tenant disputes: Defences for the Landlords

Landlord-tenant disputes are frequent themes of litigation in India because they can occur for a number of reasons, including rent payment, eviction, upkeep of the property, the Pagdi system, security deposit, and lease. Due to the growing immigration of residents from small-town cities, metropolises see more landlord-tenant disputes than other cities. The Old tenancy in the smaller cities are also pending in courts.

Landlord-tenant relationships are no exception to the rule when it comes to disputes; however, some of the issues can be avoided by drafting a rent agreement. The Model Tenancy Act, 2021 of the Union Cabinet describes the rights and obligations of a tenant and is one of the laws that tenants and landlords should be aware of. The rental housing market in India will become more organized and transparent by regulating this act. The primary venue for hearing and resolving all issues between tenants and owners about their rental properties, as per the Act, is a Rent Court.

Earlier these disputes were resolved under the Transfer of Properties Act but now almost each State in India have enforced Tenancy Act which has not only reduced the litigation but also speed up the process. The most common disputes between the Landlord-Tenant disputes are as under:-

Rent Disputes

Unpaid rent is one of the most typical landlord-tenant conflicts in India. It could result from a tenant not paying rent on time or from a dispute about a rent increase. Rent arrears can put landlords in a difficult financial situation. According to the conditions of the lease agreement, the renter must pay the rent promptly and in full. The landlord may take legal proceedings to evict the tenant if rent is not paid. Most of the time, the landlord and tenant can negotiate a solution to a rent dispute. But if the issue cannot be settled, legal action may be required.


Maintenance and Repairs

One of the most frequent causes of friction between landlords and tenants is maintenance and repair difficulties. In general, the tenant is responsible for keeping the property clean and reporting any maintenance or repair issues to the landlord as soon as they arise, while the landlord is responsible for keeping the property in a habitable condition. Tenants may protest that the landlord does not maintain and repair the rental property, but landlords may counter that the tenant is ultimately accountable for some repairs.

While the renter is responsible for daily maintenance of the fixtures, the landlord is in charge of anything that could harm the building's structure. The following actions can be taken by landlords and tenants to address maintenance and repair issues:

• Communication: Reaching out to the other side is the first step in addressing any maintenance or repair issue. Tenants should notify their landlords of any problems as soon as they arise, and landlords should carry out any requested repairs as soon as feasible.
• Inspection: The landlord should conduct an inspection of the property to ascertain the scope of any maintenance or repair issues. This inspection may necessitate hiring a specialist to evaluate the situation.
• Agreement: After the problem's scope has been established, the landlord and renter should decide on a course of action. This could entail the landlord paying for repairs outright, the tenant paying for repairs, or the landlord and renter paying for repairs jointly.
• Documentation: Any agreements or repairs must be documented by both parties, including the date and time of communications, the nature of the problem, and the steps taken to fix it.

In some circumstances, the tenant may have the option to defer payment of rent until the problem is fixed or file a lawsuit to compel the landlord to make repairs. However, it is usually ideal for both parties to cooperate in order to find a quick and advantageous solution to the problem.

Eviction

In India, eviction is the process of forcibly or legally removing a tenant from a rental property due to a housing dispute. If a tenant breaks the terms of the lease, doesn't pay the rent, or engages in any illegal activity on the property, the landlord has the right to evict them. This procedure, which is governed by the Rent Control Act of various Indian states, entails serving the tenant with a notice to vacate the property and, if the renter disobeys the notice, initiating legal action.

Eviction can also be carried out by means of a court order, with the court making the decision after hearing arguments from both parties. The court may order the eviction of a renter if it is discovered that they are using the property without permission.

Security Deposit

Tenants may contend that the security deposit was misused, while landlords may try to keep security deposits as payment for repairs or unpaid rent. In order to prevent future security disputes, landlords now demand exorbitant sums of money. The landlord may request a security deposit from the tenant at the beginning of a tenancy as a guarantee for rent payment and property upkeep. The terms of the security deposit's return, as well as its value, must be specified in the lease and leave agreements.

Property Damage

There have been countless incidents of the Tenant mistreating the landlord's property, which frequently results in damage and causes disagreements between the two. If the landlord agrees to remedy the problem, he will typically need the renter to cover the expense of the damage's repair. However, a major conflict will develop if the renter refuses to accept responsibility for the damage, resists paying the repair charges, and claims that the harm was not the result of their negligence.

Subletting

Subletting, where a tenant rents out all or part of a rental property to a different person without the landlord's knowledge or approval, is a frequent practice in India. This technique, which is typically carried out without the landlord's consent, can cause a number of problems.
First off, subletting can result in a breach of the terms of the lease between the landlord and the tenant, which could lead to the tenant's eviction from the home. Second, if the subletting renter does not pay their rent, the tenant may be liable for it, which could put an additional financial strain on them. Finally, it could result in disagreements between the landlord and the renter about the state of the property and rent payments.

Unauthorized Alterations

Unauthorized alterations are those that are made to your rental property but are not necessary. When landlords discover that their leased property has been changed without their consent, affecting the property's value, it will be a subject of dispute or potential legal issues. Common unauthorized alterations made by tenants without the landlord's permission include painting the walls, changing the fixtures, or making structural changes. When it comes to unlawful alterations, both tenants and landlords need to be informed of their rights and obligations. While the landlords should make sure they understand the conditions of the rental agreement and take action in case any unauthorized alterations are made to their property, tenants should always ask the owner's permission before making any changes to the property.

Illegal Activities

Always use rental properties for the purpose for which they are rented. Tenants are not allowed to conduct any illegal or unauthorized activities on the premises. The upshot is that the landlord always has the upper hand and that renters risk losing their security deposits.

Privacy and Access

Both the tenant and the landlord in an Indian rental home must take into account access and privacy. Even if the landlord is the rightful owner of the property, once a renter moves in, they have the option to purchase easements. Tenants have the right to security and privacy in their rental home, thus landlords are required to respect that right and refrain from intruding unless absolutely necessary. If the landlord enters the property occasionally or without giving the renter adequate warning, this violates both his right to privacy and his easement.

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