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My Tenant is a police officer owning multiple properties in the same city but refusing to vacate my property 

Shivendra Pratap Singh

Advocate (Lucknow)

Online advising since Oct. 2014

Property

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Question: Hello Sir/Madam I am from Pune, and in 2018 I let out my residential property to a police officer in Nashik based on leave and licence, which was set to expire in December 2019. Unfortunately, by early 2020, Covid had begun, and because of a nationwide lockdown and Covid crises in my and his family, I was unable to renew or extend the leave and licence agreement. In between he forced me to lower his rent in 2021 and mentioned that he was having financial difficulties as a result of his Covid treatment. I lowered the rent in response to his request. I went to him as soon as the restrictions were lifted to ask him to leave the property because I needed it for my own use. This time, he gave the reason for his daughter’s marriage and demanded that we extend the lease or sell the property to him for a very low price. 

By this point, he had retired from his service. I have to extend the leave and licence on Dec 28 2021 which will now expire Nov 27 2022. 

I served him a informal intimation letter on Oct 10 2021 to vacate the property one month earlier before the actual expiry date to carry out some renovation work before we move there, Initially he agreed to it over phone and then in few days he sent a legal notice from a lawyer stating the below: 1. I am paying rent on time 2. I am a retired police officer and nowhere else to move. 3.  My children are still studying 4. My wife and I suffer from asthma and you are unnecessarily harassing us 5. Either you sell this property to me or again extend the agreement, or I will drag you to court. 

In reply to this I have legally sent him a notice through a lawyer simply stating to vacate the property upon the expiry of the leave and licence agreement. But he is still refusing to vacate. Some Facts about the Tenant 1. He never paid rent on time despite calling him multiple times 2. He owns residential property in the same municipal corporation (which is let out to someone) 3. His children are not studying, they are working in big IT companies. My Tenant was serving in the police department when the premises was given to him on leave and licence. 

It is pertinent to say that because of the nature of his service he is very familiar with police and lawyers in and around the city. He has always been in a position to unfairly benefit from his position to the said premise. I am still paying the EMI of this property and me and my family want to relocate there, we are in extreme tension. Considering my tenant’s nature of service, we risk losing our hard-earned property. 

Asked from: Maharashtra

The period of leave and licence shall expire on 27 November 2022. You (landlord) wants possession of the premises for your own reasonable and bonafide requirements. In this situation the tenement (licencee) is bound to vacate the premises. 

According to section 16(1)(g) of the Maharashtra Rent Control Act, 1999, the landlord can seek eviction of the tenant if the premises are reasonably and bonafidely required by the landlord for occupation by himself or by any person for whose benefit the premises are held by the landlord.

The tenant owned an accommodation in the same city, hence, the court shall presume under section 16(2) of Act 1999, that tenant would not face any hardships if decree of eviction is passed against him.

According to section 24 of the said Act, the landlord is entitled to take possession of the premises from the licencee on the expiry of the period of licence. Section 24 further says that a licensee in possession or occupation of premises given to him on licence for residence shall deliver possession of such premises to the landlord on expiry of the period of licence.

Therefore, according to section 24 and 16, the tenant is bound to vacate the premises. The tenant has admitted the fact that he is a licencee and the period of licence is going to expire on 27 November 2022. 

In the reply of your notice he has given two options in lieu of eviction. Firstly, to extend the period of licence. Secondly, to sell the premises to him. He is not willing to vacate the premises however, he is legally bound to vacate it. To get the possession you have to prove these facts:

  1. Period of licence has expired and a notice thereof has duly served on the licencee.
  2. In passing the eviction decree the tenant shall not face any hardship because he owns a residential accommodation in the same city. 
  3. Landlord has a bona fide need of the premises for his residence and he has no other residence in that city (if you want eviction of bona fide need).

In Bega Begum v. Abdul Ahad Khan, (1979) 1 SCC 273 the Supreme Court has held that “there must be an element of need as opposed to a mere desire or wish.” The same is reiterated by the Bombay High court in AMI Merchandising Pyt. Ltd. v. State of Maharashtra, 2014 SCC OnLine Bom 450. You have to prove your bona fide need.

The tenant is bound to vacate the premises either on expiry of licence or on bona fide need of landlord. In both situations the defences taken by the tenant in his legal notice are unsustainable. 

In case of expiry of the period of licence, he knew at the time of execution of leave & licence agreement that the tenure of licence is fixed. However, due to covid 19 pandemic and marriage of his daughter the tenure of licence has been extended. So the tenant is fully aware that there is a fixed time to stay in this premises hence, it does not matter that:

  1. Tenant is paying the rent on time.
  2. He is a retired person and not able to move.
  3. He and his wife are ailing from asthma etc.
  4. Tenant is ready to purchase the premises.

He has to vacate the premises either on expiry of the period of licence or bona fide need of landlord.

shivendra pratap singh advocate

Shivendra Pratap Singh

Advocate (Lucknow)

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