India has more than 40% of total municipal population living as tenants. Despite of all the comfort and easy living as tenants, there is always a constant fear to them of receiving an unjustifiable eviction notice from their land-owners. With changing times, there have been quite a number of cases where the landlord has filed an eviction notice on fictitious grounds and inconveniently traumatized the tenants. In consideration to the same, State Government has enacted certain grounds that validate landlord to evict the tenant from the rented premises and all other grounds will be considered invalid or insufficient for eviction.
Rights of tenants against unwarranted eviction
Landlords, now, don’t have the free privilege to evict their tenants just because they are not friendly or are disorganized. There has to be a substantial reason behind the notice of eviction. Let’s take a look at the rights which tenants have to protect themselves against such unwarranted eviction.
Ever since the respective state governments have laid down justifiable grounds for eviction, if any tenant finds its ground of eviction insufficient or unwarranted then, he/she has the right to seek protection.
Rent control laws are governed by state laws and these state laws specifically enact section and sub-section that regulate the grounds of protection of tenants. It enables the tenants to stand for their legally entrusted right of protection if landlords use compulsion or false grounds to evict them from their rented premises.
There has been a ruling made by honorable Apex Court whereby the landlord cannot compel the tenant to evict the tenant for at least 5 years if the tenant has timely paid his rental obligations and fulfill other terms of mutually signed rent contract. In addition, the landlord can evict the tenant if he needs the premises for his own use and authentic purpose. This ruling allows the landlord to send notice of eviction on sufficient grounds and any unnecessary misuse of the enacted legislation will not be validated in the eyes of law.
Right to refuse eviction….when and how
The tenant has the right to refuse eviction if he has paid all the legal dues to his landlord and has satisfied all the terms of rent agreement mutually signed by both landlord as well as tenant. In addition, if he is not found of any act of wrong doing, then also, he has the right to refuse eviction. The bottom line is that there has to be a valid ground for eviction.
If the landowner is evicting the tenant for any unjustifiable reason then he can rightfully refuse eviction and can also file a police case against him. The aforementioned judgment made by Supreme Court is quite helpful to tenant in proving its rights of tenancy.
What is the rightful way in the hands of tenant to stop such eviction?
In India there are different state legislations that have prescribed the remedies in the hands of tenants to stop unwarranted eviction.
· One of the primary legal remedy with the tenant is his right of tenancy, which ensure its protection against any unjustifiable eviction by the land owner. There is a need to undergo the related provisions as specified under State Rent Control Act and thereby, go through the respective grounds in the Act. If the land owner is giving any insufficient or unwarranted ground behind the notice of eviction which is absolutely different from the specified grounds, then tenant can make use of his right of tenancy i.e. protection against unwarranted eviction.
· Secondly, if the landowner is forcing the tenant to leave or depart the premises without presenting appropriate notice, in accordance to the mutually accorded rent contract, then, the tenant can file the injunction suit at the court of apt jurisdiction. Consequently, it will obstruct the landowner from evicting his/her tenant on any unjustifiable grounds than prescribed in the respective Rent Control Act of that state.
· It has been observed that the landowner may send an eviction notice on fictitious grounds which are absolutely invalid as per the State Rent Control Acts. The tenant can use his legitimate rights and can undertake following actions:-
a) Meet the rent controller of the respective state at his office and assert the cause and basis for defying the notice of eviction as issued by the land-owner.
b) The Court of apt jurisdiction is authorized to call upon the pleading tenant to approach the court and state his case. He will then state his reasons/grounds along with supporting evidences/proofs. If the landowner showcases that he has not received the due rent and this is the ground of putting forth the notice of eviction, then tenant can rightfully request the land-owner via a notice in writing to send his details of bank account so that he can make the transaction and thereby deposit the due rent. After acknowledging the same, the landowner should provide the details to the tenant before the end of 10 days from the date of receiving the notice. As the tenant receives the requested banking details, he needs to make the deposit transaction as soon as possible. But, if the landowner couldn’t or didn’t respond to the given notice within the given period of time, then, the tenant can send a money order of the respective rent amount but, must retain the money order coupons as proof of payment for future records.
· In case, the landowner refuses to accept the money order or declines the receipt of such transaction, then tenant can approach the court and file the petition. The court can issue the order to the land-owner and can oblige him/her to take the rent.
There are cases when the landowners have used unacceptable ways to compel the tenant to depart the rented premises for instance, disconnecting the power or water supply, then also Courts are there to restore the abandoned rights of tenants. The court of apt jurisdiction can issue orders of restoration as well as connection of day-to-day living essentials. It is the legitimate way to make the landlord surrender and get rightful justice to the tenant.