While we talk a lot about the rights of a tenant and how to safeguard them, there is other side of the transaction, too. A landlord. Under the rental laws in India, there are rights that safeguard the interests of a landlord, too.
The Rent Control Act is one important act passed by the Government of India in 1948, post which several states like Delhi, Maharashtra and Karnataka have undertaken modifications to the same. The act, however, seen as pro-tenant, also, talks about the protection of rights of landlords. Recently, various ammendments have taken place pertaining to new laws favouring landlords.
Whether a first-time landlord or a seasoned renter, here's what you should know about the basic rights of landlords:
Right to evict a tenant
With the Rent Control Act applicable only to a tenancy of over 12 months, things seemed tougher for landlords to evict tenants living in the property for years. The Draft Model Tenancy Act 2015, which has been in the news recently, aims to make things easier for landlords as well as tenants by addressing untimely eviction, repossession issues as well as mutually fixing and revising the rent. Laws now allow landlords the right to evict a tenant on the grounds of breach of rental agreement; subletting rented premises or a part of it without landlord's permission; default in payment of rent for specified period; misuse of the property or conducting illegal activities in the rented premises. The landlord also has a right to evict a tenant if he or she requires the building for his or her own occupation.
To prevent tenants from overstaying, landlords can also add a clause of hike in rent in the agreement, if the tenant does not leave when the contract ends.
Right to temporary recovery of possession
A landlord is entitled to obtain possession of the property, in case there is a requirement for him to carry out repairs, alterations or additions to the building, which cannot be carried out without the building being vacated, after which the building will again be offered to the tenant. Or, if the rented accommodation has become unsafe for habitation and cannot be refurbished without being vacated, the landlord is entitled to get possession of the property.
Right to increase the rent
Regulations allow landlords to have an upper hand as far as the collection of rent is concerned. Owners of residential or commercial properties not only have a right to charge rent at market rates from their tenants for taking the premises but also to raise the rent periodically. The Draft Model Tenancy Act is instrumental in creating a balance by bringing the urban rented accommodations under the purview of the formal housing sector. The Act clearly specifies the period, inheritance, rents payable as well as the obligations of landlord and tenants. In India, the applicable rate of rent increase is around 10 per cent, every two years, for residential properties. But, mostly, there are laws governing this too. For instance, the landlords in Delhi can increase rent only as per Section 6 & 8A of Delhi Rent Control Act.
To be advised of necessary repairs
It is the duty and the right of the landlord to respond to the requests for repairs in a reasonable amount of time. Minor repairs of the property could be undertaken by the tenant. However, for all major repairs requiring reimbursement, prior permission needs to be taken from the landlord in writing. So, a landlord has the right to be informed about necessary repairs being made to his or her property. As per law, the landlord is under obligation to keep the property in good and tenantable form. But the rent control act provides the provision for both parties to share the financial burden of the repairs.