Thursday, June 04, 2009

Tenant eviction: Landlord needs proper reason

A landlord needs to have solid grounds to evict a tenant and regain possession of his property.

A major concern of landlords while renting out property is that of getting the property back as and when needed. The system has many loopholes which are used by tenants in case of disputes to avoid eviction. In order to prevent exploitation of tenants, various States in India have passed Rent Control Acts. These Acts have substantially added to the rights and obligations of landlords and tenants.

These Acts seek to:

Control the amount charged as rent

Lay down the rights and obligations of landlords and tenants

List out the reasons for which a landlord can ask a tenant to leave, i.e. the grounds for eviction
In the Rent Control Act of each State, the grounds for eviction are provided. In some Acts it is mentioned as 'bonafide requirement'. In some it is 'reasonable requirement', while in others, 'need', 'genuine need' or 'requires reasonably and in good faith' have been included.
The meaning of all these terms is virtually the same. The point has been well-debated at various levels. There are many judgements made on the matter. Now, almost every High Court has considered it in various cases and laid down some general principles.

These include:

A landlord is the best judge of his requirements. He has complete freedom in the matter

He should live or prescribe for himself a standard of his living

Need of the landlord should be genuine and honest, conceived in good faith A landlord's desire for possession, however honest it might be, has inevitably a subjective element in it. For that desire to become a 'requirement' in the eyes of the law, it must have the objective element of a 'need'. It must also be such that the Court considers it reasonable, and therefore eligible to be granted
'Reasonable requirement' implies that there is an element of need as opposed to a mere desire or wish. The distinction between desire and need should be kept in mind, but not so as to make even a genuine need as nothing but a desire

These points clearly show that the move to evacuate a tenant should not be arbitrary. It needs to be substantiated by some solid grounds - genuine need or requirement of the landlord, or some other circumstances that necessitate the landlord regaining possession of his property. The desire to repossess the property must be backed by a genuine need so that it becomes a requirement in the eyes of the law. The landlord must act in good faith rather that having mala fide intentions. Further, it is the landlord who is the best judge of his needs and requirements, and the way he wants to live.

1 comment:

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