5 Important Rights Every Tenant Should Know

16 Apr 2024  Read 1991 Views

Recently, the way people live in cities in India has changed a lot. More jobs and a desire for a better lifestyle have made people relocate to cities, leading to a rise in the landlord-tenant relationship dynamic. 

The essence of this relationship lies in providing a secure & stable living arrangement for tenants while ensuring that landlords' interests are also protected. Tenants, in particular, are given certain rights from arbitrary eviction, rent hikes, etc. However, they also have duties towards their landlords, contributing to a peaceful living environment.

In this blog, we'll talk about common rights that tenants should know about in India so they have a good relationship with their landlords and live comfortably in their rented homes. Let's begin.

  1. Right to Security Deposit Protection

The security deposit is a sum of money paid by the tenant to the landlord before moving into the rented property. It remains with the landlord during the lease/rent period and is refunded (with or without deductions)once the lease is over. 

Why Need to Deposit Security Money?

The security deposit is important for the landlord as it serves as a reserve fund for unforeseen circumstances that may occur during the tenancy. 

For example, if the tenant  breaches the rental agreement or causes damage to the property or fails to pay the rent, then the landlord can use the security deposit to cover repair costs or compensate for rental losses.

What if the landlord does not return the security deposit?

A. Tenants can file a civil suit against the landlord for the non-refund of the security deposit within the agreed-upon timeframe. 

B. Criminal charges of cheating can be filed against the landlord. 

C. Also, a police complaint can be filed if the landlord refuses to refund the security deposit.

  1. Right to Repairs and Maintenance

It is the landlord's duty to carry out necessary repairs immediately, especially those affecting the tenant's safety and convenience. Landlords are responsible for keeping the rental place in good shape. Tenants can ask for repairs and maintenance by giving a written notice to the landlord. 

What can you do if your landlord is not maintaining the property?

Right to Withhold Rent: In case of serious maintenance issues, renters can withhold payment until the landlord makes the necessary repairs. But first, they must tell the landlord in writing and give them enough time to do the repairs. 

Right to Seek Compensation:  Tenants can claim compensation for any harm or losses resulting from the landlord's negligence in maintaining the property. This covers expenses like property damage, medical costs, and other related bills. 

Laws & Acts Governing Tenant-Landlord Relationship

  1. Right of Protection from Eviction

A tenant cannot be evicted by the landlord while the tenancy agreement remains in force, except in specific situations:

A. If the tenant intentionally doesn't pay rent or other charges owned

B. If the tenant sub-lease the property without the landlord's permission.

C. If the tenant is using the property for illegal activities.

D. If the tenant damages the property or makes changes without the landlord's permission.

E. If the landlord needs to temporarily move the tenant for essential property repairs.

F. If the landlord passes away and their heirs need to lease the property, they have the authority to initiate a petition with the Rent Court for eviction and reclaiming possession.

These rules protect the tenant's rights to secure tenancy and prevent unfair evictions, ensuring fairness and equality in renting.

Eviction and Notice Period:

A landlord's power to remove a tenant depends on established legal protocol. The procedures for eviction are explained in the relevant laws, such as the Rent Control Act or state-specific rules. Usually, landlords need to give notice ranging from 30 to 180 days, depending on the situation and state laws.

  1. Tenant Rights Extends to Legal Heir

The rental agreement is usually between the main tenant and the landlord, but the tenant's family and legal heirs have the same rights. If a tenant passes away while living in a rented place, their family can choose to keep living there according to the rules for tenancy after death. 

The rights to the lease then go to the tenant's inheritors, like their spouse, parents, son, unmarried daughter, or widowed daughter-in-law. But this only applies if the family members lived with the tenant before they passed away.

  1. Cases where the Tenant Can Protect Their Rights by Declining the Landlord

Tenants have certain rights that empower them to lawfully decline the landlord in case of the following breaches:

A. Insufficient Notice: When the landlord does not give proper notice regarding important matters such as rent increases, evictions, or entry into the premises.

B. Illegal Liabilities: If the landlord tries to impose unlawful responsibilities/ burdens on the tenant.

C. Last Month Settlement: When the landlord disregards the tenant's right to settle any remaining payments or dues in the last month of the tenancy.

D. Increase in Rent: If the landlord increases the rent too much without following the applicable legal provisions.

E. Forced Extension: When the landlord makes the tenant stay longer in the rental property even if they don't want to or without proper legal grounds.

Conclusion

In summary, tenants have various legal rights under Indian law. These rights include security of tenure, fair treatment, deposits, rent, repairs, maintenance, and termination of the tenancy agreement. While these rights can protect tenants from potential disputes with landlords, tenants must also follow their legal obligations, such as paying rent on time and taking good care of the property.

About the Author: Anirudh Nikhare | 42 Post(s)

Anirudh did his Bachelor's in Law and has practical experience in IPR, Contracts, and Corporate. He is your go-to legal content writer turning head-scratching legal topics into easy-to-understand gems of wisdom. Through his blog, he aims to empower readers with knowledge, making legal concepts digestible and applicable to everyday life.

Liked What You Just Read? Share this Post:

Finology Blog / Legal / 5 Important Rights Every Tenant Should Know

Wanna Share your Views on this? Comment here: