Legal Tenant Rights in India

Awareness of one’s rights is an essential requirement to avoid any exploitation or harassment. If tenants are aware of the legal tenant rights, they can refuse to sign any tenancy agreement which violates their rights.

In a landlord-tenant relationship, disputes arise out of ignorance. In India, property attorneys or eviction lawyers taking care of such conflicts. The landlords use property management companies’ services to cater to the needs of the tenants and manage rent collection for smooth sailing.

Although rent laws differ from State to State, yet there are some rights to avoid landlord – tenant disputes which are recognized almost everywhere:

  • The first and foremost right is to have a written agreement in place. Both landlord and tenant must incorporate all the terms and conditions in the agreement. Both the tenant and the landlord must abide by them. If a person looking for a house on rent knows the tenant rights, he can counter any unreasonable demand of the landlord. It is better to have a written agreement as verbal agreements do not help much if there is any dispute.
  • The second important right is the fixation of fair rent. The landlord cannot ask for exorbitant rents. Generally, rent laws prescribe a formula to fix the rent. The rate of rent must be reasonable. Any increase in the rent should be as per agreed terms and conditions. It is a certain percentage of the value of the property. It also depends upon the location of the property.
  • Accommodation provided to a tenant must be fit for use. The essential utility services like electricity and water connection have to be there. The building must have basic amenities like sewerage etc. Usually, tenants face problems like roof leakage, improper windows, and doors. The landlord must ensure that tenants get a habitable accommodation, and all the repairs must be done timely. The landlord cannot disconnect the water and electricity connection, even if there is a dispute.
  • There is a tenant right against immediate eviction. Rent laws protect a tenant in such a situation. Rent Control Act contains the grounds for eviction and the procedure for the same. Generally, the landlord gives a notice before eviction. Adequate time is given to search for new accommodation. The tenant may leave himself after the notice. Otherwise, a petition is filed by the landlord taking the help of an eviction lawyer, before the Rent Controller seeking eviction based on the available grounds.
  • Legal heirs of a tenant also have a right to stay in the rented accommodation if the term of the tenancy is not over before the tenant’s death. The legal heirs would have this right only if they stayed with the deceased tenant at the rented accommodation. However, they can discontinue the agreement. As the State rent laws differ, it is better to consult an eviction lawyer or a property attorney on receipt of an eviction notice.
  • Tenants must know the tenant rights, but at the same time, they have to be honest and fair in their actions. A tenant must keep on paying the timely rent as agreed. Regular payment of rent goes in favor of the tenant in case of legal disputes.
  • The landlord cannot enter the rented premises as and when he desires. There has to be a prior intimation of the same to the tenant. The landlord must respect the privacy of the tenant. The rules are flexible if there is doubt of any illegal activity going on in the rented house.
  • The tenant has to deposit a certain amount as security, which is refundable when the accommodation is vacated. A refund of security deposit or adjusting the same towards rent dues when leaving the premises is a vital tenant-right. The amount of security deposit is determined as per the State laws. At present, there is a proposal that the amount of security deposit should not exceed two months’ rent.

Both the landlord and the tenant need to be aware of each other’s duties and rights. Unnecessary tiffs and arguments can be kept at bay with knowledge of tenant rights in India.