Rental laws for property owners and tenants

Nov 2019
Rental laws for property owners and tenants

If you are a property owner or a tenant, the laws on renting a property differ between states in India. When it’s important to know the laws for landlords, it’s essential to know the laws for tenants as well. The “Rent Control Act” was passed by our Indian Government with the need of controlling and safeguarding certain rights landlords and tenants enjoy during the situations of unauthorized eviction.

You should better understand the terms and conditions involved in the law while renting a property. It is your duty to know about the responsibilities and rights you have as an owner or a tenant. It is good to look into some points mentioned below that assure you safe moving. Due to variation of rental charges in each state, some guidelines are provided by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs.

Laws for Owners

If you are a property owner or a landlord, you should know the below mentioned responsibilities and rights before letting a tenant into your property.

Landlord Responsibilities

Get the details of your tenant:

Before renting out a property, it is smart to get the background information of your renter. It is your duty to inform to the local police station to provide details about your new tenant and the rental agreement.

Tenant Information Form is available online in the city police official website and you can download the printout copy of the form. Then, you should include the photocopy of rental agreement, tenant’s ID proof, 2 recent photographs and other details of the renter.

Have a written contract:

It is important to have a written agreement created between you and your tenant to safeguard both of your rights. Just having an oral agreement is not legal and an owner should not agree for that. A legal form of the contract with both party signatures should be created. You should have the original copy and your tenant should have a duplicate of the original.

The agreement should be renewed every year when your tenant wants to continue. For good enforcement and transparency of rental laws, it is essential to mention everything clearly in the contract in written for the benefit of both the parties.

Assure your tenant’s safety:

As a property owner, you should ensure your tenants safety and maintain your rented property as well as its contents, as no damage or injury should occur to your tenants and the neighbors. You should ensure that the inside and outside of the property are well maintained. You should make sure that all gas appliances like ovens and boilers are fully inspected and maintained for their safety.

Ensure that your property contains the basic fire and safety equipment. It is your duty to insure your rental property against the damages caused by things like fire, natural disasters and theft. If you fail to deliver enough safety measures, that could leave you liable for legal action or damages.

Verify and repair the damages:

Be responsible for maintaining your rental property and make it habitable for renters. When any damage occurs, you should take responsibility to repair it as soon as possible. During situations like water line breakage or any other issues that are not caused by your renter, you should pay for the damages.

When any damage is occurred to the property or the contents of the property, the owner should verify who or what is responsible for the damage. The owner is responsible for keeping the property in rentable form according to the law, but, the Rent Control Act gives the option for both the parties to share the budget for the repairs.

Refund the security deposit:

Return the security deposit to your renter within 30 days after the contract termination. Get the key back from your tenant and you should not charge or take more than the damaged charges. The deductions should be listed and the remaining amount should be refunded to your renter. When you deduct the unpaid charges or for any other damages, a statement mentioning the proper reasons should be sent to your tenant.

Provide all the paid receipts:

Be responsible to provide receipts for your renter for all their rents paid and for any other damages or repairs. The receipt must have details like renter’s name, address, date and time, rent paid and received and your signature as well.

Notifications to your tenant:

  • Notify your renter about your visit: When you need to check the condition of the property or perform repairs or to verify anything, as mentioned in the rental agreement, the landlords can enter the house with at least 24 hour notification time. As an owner, you cannot conduct surprise visits or checks without prior notification, whether a set of bachelors or a family renting your property.
  • Notify your tenant regarding the contract expiry: It is better to give notifications to your tenant about the expiry and renewal of the rental agreement at least before 1 month in advance.
  • Notify your renter about the possession of property: The tenant should be notified regarding the temporary possession of the property by the property owner before making any alterations or changes in his property.

Landlord Rights

Can create an agreement in his favor:

The tenant is supposed to sign a contract with the owner under certain terms and conditions. The Rent Control Act normally functions in favor of tenants and it is applicable only for 12 months agreement. So, the owner can allow the renter to occupy the property for a period of 11 months and then he can break this contract for renewal. This right acts as a preventive measure for the owner as well.

Can take a security deposit for up to 10 months:

Owners can take up to 10 months’ rent as security deposit as a required precaution. This must be refunded when the rental lease period ends and the rental property should be left in right condition.

Can ask for up to 3 months’ notice:

If the renter wants to vacate the property before the specified time of 11 months, the renter can provide notice based to the rental agreement made. The notice duration can commence from at least 1 month to up-to 3 months. During this period, either the renter pays the rent for remaining months or the landlord can deduct the charges from the security deposit.

Can do visits with prior notice:

The owner can enter into the property with at least 24 hours prior notice and according to Model Tenancy Act, the owner’s entry inside the property should be made between 7am and 8pm.

Can charge penalty from the security deposit:

The property owner has the right to get a security deposit from his tenant and this security deposit protects the owner, when his tenant leaves the property without making any notifications. The owner can’t deduct charges to cover normal wear and tear, but, he can deduct penalty charges on unpaid utilities, late payments, unpaid rent and any damages for which the tenant is responsible for.

Can charge for any damages or loss:

If the damage is caused by the tenant, the owner can pay for the repairs and then, he can claim from the tenant. When the renter refuses to pay for the repairs, the charges can be deducted from his security deposit.

Can increase the rent:

The owner should provide a prior notice before increasing the rent. Owner can determine the rental charges for his tenant based on the current market rates and he can increase the rent every year as well. The Draft Model Tenancy Act is implemented to develop a balance by bringing the urban rented accommodations.

This act specifies the rent payable, period, inheritance, also the duties of tenants and owners. For residential properties in India, the applicable increase in rent is around 10 percent for every 2 years. This law also varies in some states like owners in Delhi can increase the rent only according to 6 and 8A of Delhi Rent Control Act.

Can evict his tenant:

The property landlord can force his renter to evict the property only if the renter does not pays the rent, or delays the rent, or if there is any wrong doing as mentioned in the Indian Law  and Rental control Act.

Can ask tenancy rights during renter’s death:

If the tenant dies, the right of tenancy goes to the tenant’s spouse, sons, daughters, parents or to the daughter in law. This law is applicable, if the successors are staying along with dead tenant. In this case, when no successors live with this renter, the lease ceases quickly.

Can obtain possession of his property:  

The owner can obtain the possession of his property when there is need to perform the alterations, repairs and other changes to the property. These things can’t be executed without the property being vacated and becomes unsafe for habitation, the owner is entitled to take the possession of his property.

Can complaint about the tenant:

An owner can make complaints regarding his tenant to the Local Rent Authority for certain reasons like

  • When the tenant fails to pay his rent and other charges for many months.
  • When the tenant is involved in any wrong doings like preparing weapons or spreading terrorism at home.
  • When the tenant is not accepting the charges for his damages and repairs.
  • When the tenant is refusing to leave your rental property and he is acting against the rental agreement.

Additional conditions:

  • Sometimes, the owner can impose some lifestyle restrictions for tenants.
  • The owner can deny the tenant on subletting the property without getting a written statement from the owner.
  • The landlord can consider the marital status of the renter before renting out his property.
  • The owner can even avoid a renter who bring his pets to his property.

Laws for Tenants

If you are a tenant or a renter, you should know the below given responsibilities and rights before occupying the rental property.

Renter Responsibilities

Never pay the rent without a written contract:

If your owner did not provide you the written rental agreement, you are not obliged to pay the rent, as your landlord may ask you to evacuate his property without returning your security deposit.

Give your details and follow the specified rules:

Provide your background information and other details to your owner to submit them to the local police station or through the Tenant Information Form available online. Try to follow any specified terms and conditions mentioned in the written rental agreement.

Pay your rent and other charges on time:

Pay your rent and other charges on or before the specified time and your rent can be paid by cash or by using bank checks. Pay the other charges that are mentioned in the contract such as utility bills, flat maintenance charges, garbage collection charges, etc.

Maintain your rental property:

Take responsibility to maintain the rental property and you should not do any alterations or renovations without notifying your owner. Changes could be done when you both parties agree. Keep the property very clean and try to avoid damage or loss caused by you. Ensure that you don’t cause breach of law for the owner.

Register your tenancy agreement:

The rental agreement should be registered with the Rent Control Authority of State and the law tells that not to rent the property without registering the written rental agreement. This law also  entertains the cases for settlement of disputes on fixation and revision of rents.

Notifications to your owner

  • Inform your owner about certain things: Inform about the number of people staying and about any special things you own in the rented property.
  • Notify your owner regarding the damages: When your renter occupies the property, he is fully responsible for maintaining the original conditions of the property, except their normal wear and tear. The tenant should inform you regarding the damages and he should allow you for routine inspections or to execute the repairs by taking appointments.
  • Notify your owner about your move: When you are ending the tenancy or leaving the rented property, you should proper notice to your owner at least 2 to 3 months in advance.

Renter Rights

Can claim for receipts:

When the owner neglects to provide the receipts to the renter, the tenant can ask or force the owner to give him the right receipts for the rent and other payments he have made before.

Can ask for written rental copy:

When a landlord does not provide any written rental contract and orally gives you the word, It is your duty to force him to provide the written agreement. Hence, it is not recommended to pay the rent, if the contract process is in pending.

Cannot be evicted without proper reason:

The property landlord cannot evict his renter without a good reason for at least 5 years, if he has paid the rent properly without any delay based on the agreement unless.

Can vacate immediately during situations:

When the maintenance cost crosses more than 50% of the agreed rent, the house is considered to be uninhabitable. If the landlord denies to act upon it, the renters have the right to vacate their property within 15 days’ notice to the owner. The owners can approach the local Rent Authority to act on the issue.

Can complaint about the owner:

A tenant can make complaints regarding his owner to the Rent Control Authority for certain reasons like:

  • When the owner cuts-off utility services such as the electricity, parking, water supply, sanitary services, communication links, etc.
  • When the landlord wants you to evict without a proper reason.
  • When the owner refuses to return the security deposit after all the deductions.
  • When the landlord denies you the rental contract in written.
  • When the owner fails to accept your rent payments through all modes of cash transfer.
  • When the landlord refuses to provide you the receipts for all your payments.

The above mentioned laws are based on the Draft Model Tenancy prescribed by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs and the Rent Control Act which act as guidelines for all, before relocating or renting a new property.



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