We have been hearing or reading instances of disputes between Tenant and Landlords. This article aims at providing information about the rights of tenants and how they can protect themselves from a landlord. Certain observations are as follows:
The Landlord cannot enter into the house occupied by the Tenant without permission unless there is a real emergency. The Tenant has the right to privacy.
A landlord cannot cut essential services such as electricity and water or restrict a tenant from using common amenities.
A tenant has the right to live in a fit house. Leaking floors/walls, plaster coming down from the ceiling, bad wiring etc. are considered unfit. It is the Landlord’s responsibility to:
provide a clean house when the Tenant moves in
clean common areas (hallways, stairs, yards, entryways)
Keep hallways and entryways lighted well; and
Keep plumbing systems working
Correctly repair stairs, porches, floors, ceilings, and walls
Good locks on the doors of the house
Safe fire exits from the building
Viewing devices on doors
Extermination service if the house is infested with pests or rodents
A smoke detector in working order
Appropriate containers for the removal of waste items, including providing for the separation of recyclable items from other solid waste.
It is imperative for the Tenant to check any house that he/she may rent for unsafe and unhealthy living conditions such as plumbing problems (leaking faucets and broken toilets); building problems (leaking roof, peeling paint, broken windows, falling plaster); hazardous (dangerous) electrical wiring or equipment; bad odours and other such conditions in the house which appear unsafe/unhealthy.
The Tenant is entitled to have visitors and relatives for overnight or short period stay unless prohibited explicitly in the tenancy agreement.
If the Landlord directs the Tenant to evict the premises without any lawful reason and fails to accept rent, the tenant can:
Issue notice in writing to the Landlord, asking for details of a bank into which the Tenant can directly deposit the rent to the Landlord. If the Landlord doesn’t respond, the rent can be sent via money order to the Landlord.
If this attempt fails, the Tenant must immediately apply to the competent Court to deposit further rents in Court.
The Tenant is entitled to claim money spent by him for any repairs.
The Landlord should return the amount deposited to the Tenant at the end of the agreement term with interest set by a statute if any.
Under the Rent Control Act of various states, legal heirs of the Tenant are also tenants and are entitled to receive all the rights available to the Tenant.
Landlords should give the receipt for any payment by tenants. In case the Tenant dies, the receipt is required to be issued in the name of a family member of the Tenant.
Earlier, the landlords used to misuse their power to evict the tenants illegally. But since the Rent Control Act is passed, it protects the tenants from such illegal eviction. The Court looks into the matter and decides whether the eviction is genuine or fake. A similar set of laws are made throughout the territory of India for protection of Tenants.