In India, it’s essential to follow several rules and regulations when renting or leasing any property for residential or commercial use. Here’s everything about Tenancy Rights.
The legislature passed a central Rent Control Act in 1948, which governs the rules of property rental and ensures that neither the landlords’ nor the tenants’ rights are abused by the other. It’s also essential to note that each state currently has its own Rent Control Act, which, while largely similar, has some minor differences.
Let’s get in-depth and understand everything about tenancy rights in Mumbai.
What are the rights of tenants?
The right to reject the oral agreement
If your landlord forces you to enter an oral agreement rather than a written one, you have every right to refuse. It is critical to have your rental or lease agreement in writing and registered for validity.
The right to peaceful possession
Every tenant has the right to peaceful possession of the property. The landlord should not enter the rented house without first informing the tenant. Nobody, including the owner, should bother the tenant unnecessarily.
The right to remain on the premises.
The landlord has no right to ask you to leave the premises without providing a valid reason during the tenancy term. You should be given at least a month’s notice to look for a new home.
As a tenant, you have the authority to refuse illegal liabilities. The landlord cannot demand that you pay for structural damages to the house. According to the law, the landlord should bear the expenses incurred for structural changes to the property.
Possession of the deposit
While the tenant vacates the property, the landlord should return the security deposit.
The landlord is not permitted to raise the rent before the agreed-upon term. According to the law, a formula calculates the rent increase percentage each year.
If you are not interested in extending your tenancy, the landlord has no right to force you. You have the right as a tenant to leave the premises for legitimate reasons.
The right to essential services
The landlord cannot cut off essential services such as electricity and water. He cannot prevent you from using the necessary amenities to recover rental payments or for any other reason.
What are the rights of a tenant under the law?
- A tenant has the right to live in a habitable house. Unsafe conditions include holes in the floor, plaster falling from the ceiling, faulty wiring, etc. It is the landlord’s responsibility to ensure that the house meets the minimum accommodation standards.
- According to the law, it is essential to inform the tenant of all the contract’s contents, terms, and conditions, and only with the tenant’s consent can the agreement be signed by both parties and become a valid document.
- Both parties must always keep a copy of the agreement on hand. The tenant is entitled to adequate contact information (phone numbers, email addresses, postal addresses, and so on), and the landlord can be reached at any time.
- The tenant is entitled to privacy. Unless there is a true emergency, such as a fire or a flood in the bathroom, the landlord cannot enter the house without prior permission or information.
- It is illegal for a landlord to disconnect essential services such as electricity and water or to restrict a tenant’s use of common amenities to recover rental payments or for other reasons. If a landlord commits such atrocities, the tenant may petition the Rent Control Court to restore essential services and take action against the landlord.
Suppose the landlord harasses the tenant by asking to evict the premises for no legal reason and fails to accept rent. In that case, the tenant can first issue a written notice to the landlord, asking for the name and address of a bank where the tenant can deposit the rent directly to the landlord’s credit.
If the landlord does not respond, the rent can be sent to the landlord via money order. If this attempt to pay the rent fails, the tenant must immediately file an application with a Rent Control Court to deposit additional rents in court.
- In terms of eviction, the landlord would have to file a petition with the appropriate Rent Control Court to seek eviction of the tenant. The Rent Control Act allows landlords to evict tenants only for specific reasons, such as willful rent default, subletting without prior consent, causing a nuisance, or when the landlord requires premises for personal occupation.
- The tenant is entitled to reimbursement for any repairs they perform that are the landlord’s responsibility.
- Unless specifically prohibited in the tenancy agreement, the tenant has the right to have visitors stay overnight or for short periods. If the tenant has an extra person moving in, he/she must notify the landlord.
- The tenant is entitled to a certain amount of notice before the tenancy ends.
- The landlord must return the deposit to the tenant at the end of the lease term, plus statutory interest.
- Legal heirs of the tenant are also tenants and have the same rights as the tenant under the Rent Control Acts of various states. However, the legal heir can renew the contract with the landlord and stay.
- The tenant has the right to refer any disputes to the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) without penalty.
Types of tenancies in India
A tenancy agreement contains specific information and the terms and conditions for renting or leasing a property. The basic information includes the names of the landlord and tenant, the rent amount, and the length of the tenancy.
The following are the various types of tenancy agreements in India:
- Rent Agreement
- Lease Arrangement.
- Leave and License Agreement
A rent agreement is a legal contract signed by a landlord and a tenant. The agreement details the parties’ names, the property’s description, the rent payment, the security deposit, late payment fees, the grace period, the amenities to be provided to the tenant, parking privileges, and duties related to property maintenance and repairs.
In Mumbai, rental agreements are ordinarily for no more than 11 months. There is no requirement to register a rental agreement; this agreement has legal validity in a dispute and can get admitted in a court of law.
A lease agreement refers to a legally binding contract (between a landlord and a tenant). A lease gives a tenant the right to use the property for a set period, and the time frame is typically longer than 12 months and can get extended to any length agreed upon by the two parties.
A lease agreement must be registered to be valid, and no one can change the terms and conditions of a lease agreement once it has been signed and registered. For example, a landlord cannot raise the rent on a property unless specified in the agreement.
Leave and license agreement.
A leave and license agreement is a contract signed by a landlord and a tenant. It allows the licensee (tenant) to occupy the licensor’s property (landlord). You get permission to occupy the property as a licensee based on the Leave and License agreement, not the tenancy. A leave and license agreement must be registered.
Compared to a lease agreement, this arrangement makes eviction easier for landlords. This agreement only allows the licensee to occupy a property but does not give the licensee ownership of the property.
It does not establish the typical landlord-tenant relationship. Such agreements can get terminated.
Many people all over India wish to come to Mumbai for personal reasons and get a place for themselves that they can call home. Whether you are originally from Mumbai or not, you must take measures while drafting your tenant agreement with the landlord. It is customary to have a contract between you and the landlord before moving into a rented house or a house taken on lease.
It will help you greatly if you know tenancy rights in Mumbai. Knowledge of these rights allows a tenant to live in the house without issues. Ensure to highlight every right you have as a tenant on your rental agreement or lease.