Landlords have a lot of legal remedies available under the Uniform
Residential Landlord Tenant Act (URLTA), 1872. Some of which include:
forfeiture, monetary damages, some self-help remedies or eviction. A landlord
has the right to ask his tenant to vacate the place and the right to start the
process of eviction against him.
Eviction is the process by which the landlords
can eject the tenants from his property. The process begins with the landlord
giving a notice to the tenant to settle the grievances or otherwise vacate his
property. If the terms are not settled, court-proceedings on the eviction can
start where both the parties put up their issues. At the end of the proceedings,
if the landlord wins, the tenant has to evict the land and restore it back in
the hands of the owner.
It has been decided in the case of Achintya Kumar Saha v. Nanee Printers
12 SCC 368) that:
“in view of the rent control laws and the concept of statutory tenancy
evolved in the respect of urban building it is now generally necessary to
determine tenancy by a notice to quit before claiming ejectment on grounds
admissible under such laws.”
If the tenant is un-cooperative and does not want to settle the dispute
peacefully and even not agrees to vacate the land, the landlord can issue an
eviction notice. Not only a tenancy of temporary term but also of fixed term can
be challenged and determined by the eviction notice.
The proper drafting and inclusion of all the important points in an Eviction
notice is essential as there have been cases when the suits have been dismissed
only because of the errors in the Eviction notice. The essential elements of the
eviction notice are:
The Notice The notice must be given in writing and should be signed by or on behalf of
the landlord or the person giving it.
Valid And Justified Reason The landlord cannot issue the notice of eviction just because he wants to
but only if has a valid and legal reason. The reason to ask the tenant to
get out from the place must be a justifiable reason and must not be derived
from a mere demand of more possessions which was given in the judgement of
the case Narayan v. Kunbhan Mannudiar. Some of the common grounds to begin
the process of eviction include:
- Failure of the tenant to pay rent (not at agreed time or not all): If
the tenant is even late by 15 days, the landlord has an opportunity to evict
the tenant. Eviction notice can be issued if the tenant neither pays the
rent nor vacates the rented property.
- Tenant causing damage to the property: The landlord can ask the tenant
to evict the property, if he by any means causes any damage to the property
of the landlord.
- Causing health or safety hazards on the property of the lessor: The
tenant must take proper care while doing anything on the rented property and if
does something that may cause harm to the health or safety of the landlord or
his family, he can be asked to vacate the place.
- Violation of the terms of the rental or the lease agreement by the
lessee: The tenant must abide by all the clauses agreed upon in the rental/
lease agreement while signing the contract and must not to anything against
- Tenant uses the land for unlawful purposes: The tenant can be asked to
leave the property if he uses it for some illegal purposes or purposes not
mentioned in the agreement;
- If there is some urgent need of property by the owner: If the owner
needs the property for his personal use or any of his family member needs it
urgently, the eviction notice can be issued.
When There Is One Co-OwnerIf the landlord is not the sole-owner and has a co-owner both of the co-owners
can act as the landlord individually and a notice is issued by anyone of them
will be valid and legal.
It was decided in the case of Sri Ram Pasricha v. Jagannath, 1976, SCC 184 that,
“a co-owner is as much an owner of the entire property as any sole owner of a
property is” and hence one co-owner is the landlord and a notice issued by him
or a suit filed by him is legally valid as well as sufficient.
If There Are Number Of LessorsIf there are many lessors who own the property, the notice must be issued by all
of them and hence a notice moved by any one of the joint lessors will not be
applicable. Though the signature of all the lessors must be present but a notice
with the signature of any one of the joint lessors will be valid if the notice
mentions the line, “we give you the notice” that implies the consent of all the
others as well.
This principle has been decided in the case of Madhusudan Prasad Agarwal v.
Sushma Bala Dasi where the notice was signed by only one plaintiff (though they
were 2 owners). This act of signing by only one was criticised by the opponent
lawyer, but the court considered the notice valid and continued the proceedings.
The notice was accepted as all the appeals implied consensus of both the
plaintiffs as the word ‘WE' was used to put the statements and hence there might
be some reason that the other plaintiff may not have able to sign.
A notice to terminate the tenancy of a trust deed must also be on behalf of all
the lessors and may be given by one. The notice by only one of the joint lessors
is not sufficient. According to the Indian Trusts Act, 1882 a trustee is not the
sole owner and cannot take decisions on behalf of the other trustees where they
are equally affected by the act. Hence in any law suit, the final decision must
be taken by all the trustees concurrently and then acted upon. And the similar
principle is applied while issuing an eviction notice where it must be issued
after the consent of all the trustees.
Terms Of The NoticeThe landlord has no right to forcefully evict the tenant. He cannot even call
the police to directly throw him out. Taking the help of wrongful methods like
cutting the water supply or electricity connection, throwing his belongings out
or taking penalizing measures on his own to evacuate the place can make the
landlord liable in the court of law.
The landlord must give the eviction notice which provides sufficient time limit
to the tenant to either vacate the place or make the payments (whatever the case
may be). The time given must be in accordance with the terms mentioned already
in the rental agreement and if they were not specifically mentioned then in the
eviction notice, then sufficient time should be given after which the tenant can
be summoned in the court according to the state enacted acts.
According to the Section 106 of Transfer of Property Act, 1882, the time a lease
of immovable property that is renewed year from year is terminable after six
months notice and a lease that is renewed month after month is terminable after
a fifteen days' notice.
The time given by the landlord to the tenant to vacate the house may vary from
one to three months depending on the reason, relations and the time period for
which the tenant had been staying/using the property. It may extend to six
months time in rarest of cases. At least 21 days are given before ending the
tenancy and sometimes 15 days if rent is not paid since a long time.
Communication Of Notice
If there are more than one tenant, the notice must refer and be delivered to all
of them. The notice can either be handled personally to the tenant or via a
servant may hand it over. There is also a provision of sending the notice via
post where the communication will be accepted as per Indian Contracts Act, 1872.
The notice can be given by the landlord himself taking care of including all the
important points in it according to the Rental Agreement and Tenancy Act of the
state or he may request a lawyer to draft the same sand summon it to the tenant.
Accept Or RejectThe tenant has an option to clear the issue with his landlord in a friendly
manner. If not, the owner can give him a notice to evict the place and still it
depends on the tenant that whether he wants to comply with the terms of the
eviction notice or not. If the notice is sent by post, and no response is
received it may be presumed as unwillingness on the part of the tenant to accept
the terms of the owner by the tenant.
If the tenant accepts the eviction notice, he will evacuate the place within the
given time and if he still does not vacate the place the eviction process may be
The tenant if not complies with the eviction notice the eviction process further
can be carried out against him. It has been held in the case of Munisami Naidu
v. C. Ranganathan
, AIR 1991 SC 492 the Board was entitled to institute
proceedings against the tenant as the notice period had expired. Similar was the
case in Vasant Kumar Radhakishan Vora v. The Board of Trustees of the Port of
, AIR 1991 SC 14 where the plaintiff sued the defended for not
conforming to the Eviction notice.
After the filing of the suit in the Court, the proceedings start which may take
some more time than expected to reach to a conclusion. After the proceedings,
the court decides on the bases of the facts and appeals of both the parties
about the further eviction. If the plaintiff (the landowner) wins the court
orders the tenant to evict the place within a reasonable specified time and
still if he does not the help of police can be sought to get rid of the tenant.
Rights Of The Tenant
There have been cases where eviction notice has been moved against the tenants
without any appropriate reason. Landlord have filed false charges of not paying
the rent on the tenants and then then tried to throw them out of the rented
property. In such false cases, the tenants always have a right to justify
themselves and stand against the eviction. The tenant can seek the help from the
Rent Controllers in the region based on the Rent Controller Act, 1948.
The tenant during the court proceedings can show the bills of the money paid or
cash deposited. In case of cash given in the hand of the landlord the evidence
to prove may be a bit difficult and hence the mode of depositing of the rent
must be fixed prior in the rental agreement.
The tenant also has an option to file a petition against the landlord if he uses
illegal method to evict the tenant (even if the tenant is wrong) as the landlord
can never adopt self-reliant methods to eject the tenant.
Renting an apartment, house or property is a common practice in our society and
is beneficial simultaneously for both the owner and the tenant. But there are
also cases where the landlord gets tired of the tenant as he does not pay the
rent or sorts to some unlawful or hazardous activities at the owner's place and
hence the owner may ask the tenant to leave his place and restore his property
back to him.
The dispute can usually be settled peacefully but if not, the landlord has to
opt for the eviction process to get rid of such a tenant. And to initiate this
process it is imperative to issue a valid eviction notice which have all the
essential elements which if not complied will further act as an evidence in the
List Of References:
- Achintya Kumar Saha v. Nanee Printers (2004, 12 SCC 368)
- Sri Ram Pasricha v. Jagannath, 1976, SCC 184
- Munisami Naidu v. C. Ranganathan, AIR 1991 SC 492
- Vasant Kumar Radhakishan Vora v. The Board of Trustees of the Port of
Bombay, AIR 1991 SC 14
- Transfer of Property Act