Protection of Tenants from Eviction
The position of tenant is always vulnerable as he/she has to live in the fear of receiving an unwarranted notice of eviction from the landlord and then, facing again the trauma of seeking other premises on lease at a cost which may or may not suit their budget and lifestyle.
The recent upheaval was caused in Mumbai from the outbreak of the news about the state government’s plan to incorporate its Model Rent Control Act, which was expected to weaken the protection of tenants from random hike in rent and unwarranted eviction.
Let’s take a look at how law can protect the tenants from this unwarranted and fake act of eviction by the landlord.
Legal Position on eviction
If the tenant finds out that the eviction is not bona fide and unjustifiable, then he/she has the right to be protected from such eviction. The laws pertaining to tenant protection from eviction are governed by respective state laws and each state has enlisted certain grounds which legally allow the landlord to evict the tenant. Any other ground other than mentioned in the list allows tenant to seek the help of laws and courts to protect themselves from such unwarranted acts of landlord.
In addition to above, there are regional and state laws which govern rent and lease agreements, carefully drafted, mutually agreed and signed by both tenant as well as landlord. These State Acts also enable tenants to fight for their right of protection if landlord compels the tenant to evict him/her for any invalid reason/ground as not enumerated in the Act.
In general, such eviction cases in the court take longer settlement time and goes on for about 10-20 years.
Legislations Pan India
The various states have enacted rent control laws that govern the rental agreements which are made for a period of 12 months or more months. For instance: Delhi Rent Act,1995; Punjab Rent Act, The West Bengal Premises Tenancy Act, 1956, Tamil Nadu Rent Control Act, Karnataka Rent Control Act etc. contain standard provisions which ensure fixation of rent which must not exceed the standard rates, decrees controlling possession, protection of tenants against unwarranted eviction and many more.
In all the Rent Control Laws of the Indian states, there is a clear section that deals with protection of tenants against eviction and specifies the grounds that are legally sufficient for eviction. In fact, as per a judgment passed by the Supreme Court, a landlord cannot evict a tenant for a minimum period of 5 years if he/she has made the rent payment regularly and in accordance to the signed Rent agreement. He/she has the right to evict the tenant only if he/she genuinely needs his/her premises for his/her own use. The Landlord cannot misuse the law on false grounds to evict his/her tenants.
To name some, there is Section 14 of Delhi Rent Control Act, 1958 that protects the tenants residing in Delhi against eviction by the landlord on any ground other than specified in the said section. Similarly, the West Bengal premises tenancy Act, 1956 contains almost same grounds in its Section 6.
Remedies available to the tenants against unlawful eviction by the landlords
It is very important for a tenant to know his/her tenancy rights before agreeing to sign the rent agreement. He/she should also know the authority of landlord and the grounds on which he/she can sufficiently evict the tenant from his/her premises. This way he/she can avoid the eviction but if the landlord is maliciously or unjustifiably compelling you to leave the tenanted premises, then aforementioned remedies can immensely help in taking the rightful action.