Rights of a Tenant Under the Indian Law

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  • By Admin
  • Jan 22, 2019

Tenancy is a term that refers to the occupancy or possession of buildings, lands or other kind of property by title through the payment of rent or lease. In India, there are two types of tenancy agreements, namely -

  • Lease Agreement covered by rent control laws
  • Lease and License Agreement not covered by rent control laws

Lease and License Agreements are created to save tenants from restraining regulations and all terms pertaining to it, and are governed by a contract between the tenant and landlord. Everything associated to the agreement other than the fact that the tenure of tenancy is to be 11 months, is to be stated in the contract.

Tenants in India are either contractual or statutory. A contractual tenant is one who occupies a property, and is entitled to the possession of the property during the term of the contract. A statutory tenancy, on the other hand, refers to a tenant who continues their tenancy even after their contract has ended.

Among The Legal Rights Of A Tenant As Maintained By The Rental Laws In India Are - 

  • A tenant must have an idea of the condition of the property they are to occupy. Properties with bad wiring, plaster falling off the walls, holes in the floor and other grave problems are considered unfit for living. It is the landlord’s responsibility to ascertain that the property meets the minimum standards of accommodation.
  • A tenant also has the right to privacy, which means that not even the landlord can trespass into the property, without the permission of the tenant while the latter still occupies the property, unless there is an emergency like fire or flood.
  • The rental laws in India also state that a tenant should be made fully aware of the terms, contents and conditions of the rental contract. It is only after the tenant has consented to the contract that the agreement can be signed by both the parties, thus making it a valid legal document.
  • A copy of the tenancy agreement has to be maintained by both the parties, which include the tenant.  Alongside a copy of the tenancy agreement, the tenant must also have the appropriate contact information (phone number, email id, postal address etc.) of the landlord, so as to contact them when need be.
  • Receiving reimbursements for any repair carried out by the tenant which is otherwise the responsibility of the landlord, is the right of the tenant as well.
  • Unless specifically forbidden in the contract, the tenant is allowed to have visitors who can stay overnight for short periods, after giving prior information to the landlord about the other person moving in.
  • The tenant is entitled to some notice prior to the termination of the tenancy.
  • Any security deposits made by the tenant are to be returned to them with interest amount set, at the end of the lease term.
  • Legal heirs of the tenant are to be recognized as tenants too and must therefore receive all the safety that was available to the tenant originally, under the Rent Control Act of various states. Whether or not they wish to renew their contract with the landlord, and continue staying, is a choice that rests with the legal heir.
  • Any disputes can be referred to the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) by the tenant, without facing any penalty for the same.
  • Attaining a copy of any register entry with the RTB associated to the tenant is the tenant’s legal right.

For all of the above to hold, it is important that the tenant establishes a contractual tenancy under a registered rental agreement, where registration is mandated. Instances of tenants in different corners of India being harassed by their landlords are not unheard of. Therefore, being aware of the legal rights of tenants occupying properties in India can prove worthwhile for people living on rent or seeking to do so in the near future.

Information such as that mentioned above cannot only help ease the living experience of the tenants but also save them from harassments and legal hassles.

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