Hello Friends,

Read this news piece from TOI (21 dec, 2007) on SC landmark. What's your take on this?

In what could spell a better deal for harried landlords, the Supreme Court has put up a "good behaviour" signal for tenants, making it clear that those who misbehave with the owner of the premises are liable for eviction.

Not just that. The apex court has also said that tenants causing damage to property are also liable for eviction. While it has not spelt out the nature of damage, this definition may also include wholesale alterations of old properties that are under tenancy for decades.

The obligation to be civil and to take care of the premises must be welcome to landlords in several cities who have been at the receiving end of defiant tenants who, taking advantage of laws that are seen to be loaded in their favour, refuse to vacate properties they got for a song years ago.

Any violation of these conditions would make the courts rule in favour of the landlord if he seeks eviction of the tenant, said a Bench comprising Justices R V Raveendran and P Sathasivam in a recent judgment.

The ruling put paid to the effort of a tenant who, accused of misbehaviour and damaging a portion of the house, was determined to stay put. The tenant broke a collapsible gate at the rented premises. When the landlady protested, he threatened her with dire consequences.

The ruling brought the curtains down on an eviction litigation that started more than 30 years back in 1976. In the process, it also served to highlight the vulnerability of landlords before tenants, who take advantage of the tortuous legal process to frustrate eviction efforts.

In many cities, landlords who rented out their premises have ended up being evicted from their own houses, in some cases forced to hire accommodation at rates several times higher than what they get as rent from their own properties.

In Delhi and Mumbai, many tenants have held on to the premises in commercial districts and upscale residential localities, paying rents as ridiculously low as just a couple of hundred rupees a month.

The two caveats entered by the Supreme Court, however, don’t alter the legal regime dramatically. But as precedent, they can potentially right the balance somewhat, bringing the pendulum in the tenant’s favour towards the centre. Significantly, the apex court gave the ruling under a central law, Transfer of Property Act, 1882, with the Bench reading it along with the provisions of the West Bengal Premises Tenancy Act.
Read more
4 Replies
Sort by :Filter by :
  • Some more info....

    A recent judgment by an SC Bench comprising Justices RV Raveendran and P Sathasivam has said that tenants causing damage to property were also liable for eviction.

    The ruling drew curtains on an eviction litigation that started more than 30 years back in 1976 but, in the process, also served to highlight the vulnerability of landlords before the tenants, who take advantage of the tortuous legal process to frustrate eviction efforts.

    The case of Delhi stands out. It was only after considerable feet-dragging that the authorities moved to correct the imbalance in the rent laws favouring the tenant. But they chickened out after tenants took to the streets, forcing a shutdown.

    In the present case, what weighed against the tenant and in favour of the owner, Rekha Ghosh, was the former's act in breaking a collapsible gate at the rented premises. He aggravated the offence by threatening the landlady with dire consequences when she protested.

    The apex court said the tenant, under Section 108 of the Transfer of Property Act, 1882, is obligated to maintain landlord's property and any violation of sub-sections 'm', 'o', and 'p' would render him liable for eviction.

    Section 108 of the 1882 Act deals with rights and liabilities of landlord and tenant.

    As per sub-section (m) the tenant is bound to keep, and on the termination of the lease to restore, the property in as good condition as it was in at the time when he was put in possession, subject only to the changes caused by reasonable wear and tear or irresistible force. It also states that the landlord or his agent has a right to inspect the property by giving prior notice.

    Sub-section (o) provides that the tenant must not use, or permit another to use, the property for a purpose other than that for which it is rented.

    Sub-section (p) bars the tenant to erect any permanent structure in the rented out premises without prior consent of the landlord.

    Keeping in view the provisions of the Transfer of Property Act, the apex court felt that the tenants' threat to kill the owner when she protested damage to the property constituted a valid ground for eviction under the state tenancy law.

    "The activities of threatening to kill the plaintiff (the landlord here), beating the son of the plaintiff and abusing him with filthy language would amount to nuisance and annoyance, furnishing a ground for eviction under clause (e) of section 13(1) of the WB Premises Tenancy Act, 1956," said Justice Sathasivam, writing the judgment for the Bench that upheld a Calcutta High Court decision.

    "Causing damage to the collapsible gate of the tenanted portion and putting up a concrete elevation of the floor would amount to doing acts contrary to the provisions of clauses (m), (o) and (p) of section 108 of TP Act, 1882, thereby furnishing a ground for eviction under the state tenancy law," the Bench said.

    TOI, 21 Dec'07
  • Landlord should be smiling with the rise of property prices and property yield

    :) :) :)
  • I am writing this to highlight the vulnerability of landlords before tenants, who take advantage of the tortuous legal process to frustrate eviction efforts.

    Myself and my brother became joint owner of the premises at Fulbagan , Kolkata by virtue of the will executed by my Mother. We stay on the 1st floor where as major portion of the ground floor flat consisting 3 bed rooms , one bath and privy, one kitchen one garage and one servant’s bath and privy at the monthly rental of 525/= per month was rented out to a tenant in the year 1966.

    We served eviction notice on 11/06/04 on the following ground and case was filed in the court of Ld . Civil Judge ( Jr Div) Additional Court at Sealdah

      that the tenant is not staying in the said flat as he is staying with his second wife at Park street and now staying I at Salt lake Flat . Voter’s list of Park street constituency still have the the name with voter’s id no enlisted.

        that the tenant has defaulted in payment of rent sine January ,2004 and caused material damage and material deterioration to the condition of the property.

          that the property is reasonably required by us for our own use.
          The case was heard for as long as three years as the tenants took advantage of the tenant laws of the which are very much in favour of tenant We got the judgement in favour of us on the ground of reasonable requirement on 29/09/07 from Ld . Civil Judge ( Jr Div) Additional Court at Sealdah

          Now the tenant has duly filed an appeal against the judgement in the Land Revenue Tenancy Tribunal at Salt Lake for the stay order . Till to day the formalities of preparing paper book could not be completed not to speak of the hearing the case . I was told that it will take another 4/5 years to get the judgement from LRTT
  • Taxation on Rental property !!!

    How about the property taxes on the Rental that they are earning.
    Some land lord earn upto 1L per months (Residential). Even they are affraid to sign on the Rental slip which we salaried class people need to submit @ office.
    Is our GOVT are not aware of that ?