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Law of Landlord and Tenant

Updated: Sep 5, 2022

Law of Landlord and Tenant

Lease defined: A lease is a transfer of a right to enjoy the property in consideration of a price (called premium) or a rent which may consist of money, a share of crops, service or any other thing of value to be rendered periodically by the transferee to the transferor.

Kinds of tenancy

(1) Perpetual lease.

(2) Lease for a term: e.g., for 10 years.

(3) Periodic lease: i.e., monthly or yearly lease. A lease for an agricultural or

manufacturing purpose is presumed to be a yearly lease. A lease for any

other purpose is presumed to be a monthly lease.

(4) Tenancy at will: In this either party may put an end to the lease at any time.

(5) Tenancy by holding over: When a lease for a term comes to an end, if the tenant continues in possession and the lessor has received rent or otherwise agrees to his continuing in possession, the lease is renewed, in the absence of a contract to the contrary. The renewed lease is a periodic lease. It is yearly if the lease is for agricultural or manufacturing purposes and monthly if the lease if for any other purpose.

Formalities: A lease should be executed by both the lessor and the lessee. If the lease is from year to year, or for a term exceeding one year, or reserves a yearly rent {i.e., as so much per year) a registered instrument is necessary. Other leases may be made either by a registered instrument or by delivery of possession. These formalities do not apply to a lease of agricultural land unless the state government makes them applicable by notification in the official gazette.

Rights and duties of landlord

The rights and duties of the lessor, in the absence of a contract to the contrary, are the following:

(1) Lessor should disclose latent defects of the property.

(2) He is bound to deliver possession at the lessee's request.

(3) He should see that the lessee has quiet enjoyment during the term of the lease. This is called the lessor's covenant for quiet enjoyment. This will protect the lessee against the acts of the lessor and of persons claiming under him and even of persons claiming to have a paramount title (i.e., a title superior to that of the lessor). It does not protect the lessee against the acts of trespassers for the lessee is expected to protect himself against trespasser by taking suitable action against them.

In a case where the landlord had offered the shop after renovation to the old tenant on a condition precedent of an enhanced rent enhanced by him unilaterally and arbitrarily, it was held contrary to the provisions of the Andhra Pradesh Buildings (Lease, Rent and eviction) Control Act, I960.24

Rights and duties of tenant

The rights and duties of the lessee, in the absence of a contract to the contrary, are as follows:

(1) If the property is destroyed by act of God (flood, tempest, fire, etc.) or violence of a mob or of an army, the lessee may put an end to the lease.

(2) If the lessor does not make the repairs, which he has to make, the lessee may make them himself and deduct the expenses with interest from the rent or recover such expenses otherwise.

(3) If the lessor fails to pay the tax, the lessee may pay it and deduct it with interest from the rent or otherwise recover it.

(4) He can remove all things attached by him to the property when the lease has terminated. He should remove them before he leaves the property. Such things are called tenant's fixtures. Things attached to the property by the landlord himself should not be removed by the tenant. They are landlord's fixtures.

(5) If a periodic lease or tenancy at will has come to an end by notice, the tenant is entitled to the crops, planted or sown by him and growing upon the property at the determination of the lease. This is called the right to emblements.

(6) The lessee may sublease the property or assign his interest. As for his duties, there is

(1) a duty of disclosure of facts in regard to the interest, that is, title of the lessor as to which the lessor has no knowledge but of which the lessee is aware and which materially increases the value of such interest.

(2) He should pay the rent at the proper time and place.

(3) He should restore the property at the end of the lease in as good a

condition as he had received it subject to reasonable wear and tear.

(4) He should allow the lessor and his agents to enter upon the property for inspecting its condition.

(5) If any encroachments are made, he should inform the lessor.

(6) He should not commit any act that could be destructive or permanently injurious to the property or use it for any purpose for which it was not leased.

(7) When the lease determines he should deliver possession to the lessor.

The Supreme Court in Raichurmatham Prabhakar v. Rawatmal Dugar construed the provisions of section 108 of the Transfer of Property Act, 1882 on the rights and liabilities of lessor and lessee in the light of doctrine of justice, equity and good conscience. The tenant of a shop handed over the vacant possession of his shop under an order of the rent controller to his landlord for demolition, renovation and reconstruction on an undertaking by the landlord that the tenant could re-enter in it after reconstruction. The landlord on reconstruction offered to the tenant the said at a higher rent. The tenant applied for the same to the rent controller after the delay of more than six months. There was some litigation up to the high court on question of limitation whether his application for re- entry was barred by limitation. The high court in revision held that it was not barred. The landlord took the matter in appeal to the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court held that the application was not time-barred. Applying the doctrine of justice, equity and good conscience, the Court held that the tenant had an implied covenant for peaceful possession and enjoyment of the leased property. On the question of the demand of enhanced rent the Court left the matter to be dealt with by the rent controller keeping in view all the relevant factors such as cost of renovation, reconstruction, etc. However, the Court observed as follows:

"The tenant, when re-enters in to possession, does so under the original tenancy which stands statutorily protected under the Act and he has not been evicted nor held liable to be evicted.. In spite of the building having been repaired, altered, added to or re-erected, the tenant shall re- enter to occupy the premises on the same terms and conditions on which he was occupying the building on the date on which he delivered the possession to the landlord pursuant to the order of the controller. On the tenant's re- entering in to the possession of the building his obligation to pay the same rent which he was paying on the date of delivery ofpossession by him to the landlord, shall stand revived. If the law permits a revision of rent or fixation of rent afresh, the landlord could be at liberty to invoke that provision and revise the rent consistently with such provisions. But the revision of rent cannot be insisted on by the landlord as a condition precedent to re- entry by the tenant".


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