• Owner deduction of deposit without rent agreement

Hello Lawyers,

I and 2 friends of mine, all girls, decided to rent a place in Pune on October 2017, We decided on rent agreement Immediately after shifting to the said house with Rs. 40,000, with rent Rs. 20,000. But after shifting the owner began to give excuses about singing up rent agreement, saying as us 3 are working Monday to Saturday we aren't available. We even said we will take a day off just for the agreement he just kept on pushing it on for next week, Then the owner decided to go abroad for a couple of months.

As we wanted the rent agreement for our offices and passport and other legal documentation on Feb 2017 we decided to look for other places, We found one and informed the owner about vacating on March 31st, 2018 and We decided to shift there on April 18th, 2017. Our oral agreement in March was, we will give the rent of the entirety of April (which we have paid), and he will give back the deposit by 30th, April. And we will use the extra days to transfer our stuff.

There has never any delay in payment for the rent or any bills incurred by us (electricity, gas cylinder etc) and all the payment (deposit, rent, bills) has been done via Bank transfer. We have bank statement proof for everything.

We have officially vacated the old place on April 29th and gave back the keys, but withheld one of the keys back for security. But now the owner is refusing to give back the entirety of deposit that is Rs. 40,000. and now he will deduct for painting costs, damages done to the property and other arbitrary charges which comes to about Rs.15,000 (for the record, the house was in exact same condition as it was before we came, we didn't even put a sticker on the wall).

So I wanted to know if there is any law that can help us out with this, We don't want to make an official complaint, as that's a long and arduous affair and we aren't that well off financially to pursue this case in a lengthy manner. We just wanna Point it out to him, whatever he is doing isn't right legally, so that he will give back the full deposit without much commotion, But if we absolutely have to take legal course against him, we are open for it.

I hope you help us out with it, its causing a lot of financial stress for us
Asked 4 years ago in Property Law
Religion: Hindu

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15 Answers

In absence of a rental agreement empowering him to go ahead with all that deductions, it isn't permissible for him to deduct a penny out of this 40k. Also, how was this 40k transferred to him? If do you have proof of this transfer, you can surely go behind him in releasing this payment.

I'll advise you to send him a legal notice in the instant matter. Also, side by side, you may make a police complaint against this landlord complaining how he cheated 3 of you collectively.

Vibhanshu Srivastava
Advocate, New Delhi
9426 Answers
245 Consultations

5.0 on 5.0

File police complaint against landlord for cheating under section 420 of IPC as he is refusing to return your security deposit

2) you can issue legal notice to landlord to return your security deposit

3) if he refuses file suit to recover your money with interest

Ajay Sethi
Advocate, Mumbai
87894 Answers
6207 Consultations

5.0 on 5.0


If in case you do not want to file a case on the owner then you may send a legal notice to the landlord for releasing the security deposit in entirety.


In the alternative you may approach the police and see if the police may just call him to the police station in order to settle the matter.


Anilesh Tewari
Advocate, New Delhi
17940 Answers
377 Consultations

5.0 on 5.0

Hi, You can lodge a Police Complaint against the owner as he refused to refund the Security amount and with the help of the Police you can settle the matter.

Pradeep Bharathipura
Advocate, Bangalore
5394 Answers
310 Consultations

4.5 on 5.0

1. This is a clear case of illegally withholding your security deposit on whimsical reasons.

2. Get a legal notice drafted through a lawyer and address it to the local police station with a copy marked to the owner. Also mark that legal notice to the police commissioner.

3. Personally go to the police station and explain the situation to the duty officer and even the senior inspector.

4. I'm sure the police will help you. There are chances of the police demanding some bribe from You, but the marking of the legal notice to the police commissioner as well, will take care of that.

5. On many police websites there are also separate and dedicated tabs for crime against women. Complaint there too. This will ensure that the police takes action swiftly.

Yusuf Rampurawala
Advocate, Mumbai
6876 Answers
79 Consultations

5.0 on 5.0

Dear Madam,

The legal expenses are more than what you wish to recover. So my suggestin to go nicely orally threaten them then approach the following NGO.There may similar NGOs in Maharastra. Please on the net.


Bitter PIL for landlords, a boon for poor tenants

Petitioners, Dove Drive Without Borders Foundation approached the court contending that tenants in the city have absolutely no bargaining power during negotiations with the landlord for the quantum of money to be paid as security deposit.

Extortion via high deposits demanded as ‘security’ bonds by landlords in Bengalurumust stop, says a group of petitioners — newcomers to the city and good Samaritans— have teamed up to protect the interests of tenants house-hunting in the city. The activists have filed a Public Interest Litigation in the Karnataka High Court addressing the interests of people who do not own homes but must rent housing under one-on-one tenancy agreements with landlords. Such laws already exist in states such asTamil Nadu and Bihar, says Wasim Memon, founder of The Drive without Borders Foundation.

The Foundation, a citizens’ movement that started with the objective of safeguarding the rights of motorists and road users in India and crusaded for a single rate of road tax in all Indian states, is leading the charge.

Waseem Memon said tenants started contacting him on their Facebook page seeking help when faced by Bengaluru’s inequitable rental market. He, a Hyderabadi himself, decided to do something about it.

In the absence of standardised rates for security deposits, it has become customary for landlords to insist upon high security deposits equivalent to 10 months’ rent. For example, a residential property with a monthly rent of `10,000 would command a security deposit of a lakh, while a property with the monthly rent of `30,000 would mean shelling out a proportionate deposit of `3,00,000. This earns the landlord handsome returns through interest earned on the deposits.

The problem is compounded when some homeowners arbitrarily and with impunity get away with deducting amounts of their choosing, posing flippant and vague causes such as ‘damage’ or ‘repainting charges’ as reasons for the deductions.

This unfairly raises the total layout for rent, and results in income loss through the loss of interest for, often, hard-pressed youngsters and recent economic immigrants.

Priyanka Patel, a young professional who started living in a flat in Marathahalli, shelled out `1.5 lakh around two years ago as a security deposit and was faced with no choice but to give away `56,000 to her London-based landlady, though she had agreed to only pay `30,000, ostensibly for “repainting” the property.At one time, the landlady threatened to keep their deposit money if she had any male visitors, even relatives, to the house.

Though the problem extends across all income classes and communities, the unsanctioned practice harms vulnerable groups of, often, young men and women who move to live in Bengaluru to be part of its booming electronics and IT industries, the region’s largest employers.

“Young immigrants and couples in junior positions in jobs who are new to the city are also badly-affected,” says Memon who is leading the group of activists. “They lose lakhs of rupees to landlords each year in the guise of one imagined problem or another. Going to court to establish the nature of the wrongdoing by a landlord is difficult, expensive and time-consuming and not considered a viable option by busy city dwellers. So, in the absence of legal recourse, tenants have little option but to bear the financial burden.”

The practice has become rampant and reached near epidemic proportions, he says: “Keeping this in mind, the Central Government’s draft Model Tenancy Act (first in 2011 and a revised version in 2015) seeks to update the law relating to landlords and tenants across the nation. It is a model law directed for the consideration of state governments. it will provide for a cap on security deposits for tenancy agreements at three months’ rent.”

The statute, if put in place, also seeks a retrospective provision where tenants who have their cash — greater than 3 months’ rent — stuck with landlords may ask for it back, and expect it to be returned within a period of 15 days. The citizens’ group, Drive Without Borders, a Facebook group, has sought a preliminary response from the high court within 21 days of the receipt of the petition.

Dove Drive Without Borders Foundation

S2, 2nd Floor, Olive Garden No.74, Benson Cross Road,

Benson Town Bangalore Bangalore KA 560046 IN

Kishan Dutt Kalaskar
Advocate, Bangalore
6050 Answers
381 Consultations

4.8 on 5.0

The landlord is not entitled to deduct maintenance cost for the natural wear and tear of the house. It is responsibility of the landlord to keep the house in habitable condition therefore he is bound to bear painting costform his own expenses instead of security deposit. If you have deliberately damaged the house then landlord is entitled to deduct the maintenance cost from the security deposit. In this situation you should move a petition before the rent control officer. You have bank statements and these are the sufficient evidence to prove that you are the tenant. It is not necessary that rent agreement should be in written. this bank statement is sufficient to prove that house was let out and landlord accepted the rent month by month.

You can also file a civil suit for recovery of money but the civil suit will take more time then the application before the rent control option.

Shivendra Pratap Singh
Advocate, Lucknow
5127 Answers
78 Consultations

4.9 on 5.0

File a police complaint on onwer for cheating of money and criminal breach of trust

Further issue a legal notice to the owner for refund of amount which has no right and illegally kept with him.

If on notice he doesnot return file a summary recovery suit for recovery of amount with interest and itigation fee.

Shubham Jhajharia
Advocate, Ahmedabad
25516 Answers
179 Consultations

5.0 on 5.0

You can file a case of 420 in the police station and if you don't wish to go police station file a criminal complaint in the court after giving him a notice by an advocate under section 420 and 406 of IPC for cheating and misappropriation and 506 for threatening.

Vimlesh Prasad Mishra
Advocate, Lucknow
6848 Answers
23 Consultations

4.9 on 5.0

You can do the following:

1. Send a personal letter to him written by yourselves and narrate the same incidents to him and ask him to hand over the deposit to you;

2. If he still does not respond, send him a legal notice drafted by a lawyer;

3. You can also ask you lawyer to negotiate the amount with your previous owner;

4. If everything else fails you can file a Recovery Suit in the court.

Gowaal Padavi
Advocate, Mumbai
1920 Answers
5 Consultations

5.0 on 5.0

Hello mam, since you do not want to get engaged in legal proceedings ,the only way is to file a complaint to the police.. The police may intervene and can force the owner to arrive at a suitable settlement

Hemant Chaudhary
Advocate, Gurgaon
4619 Answers
67 Consultations

4.9 on 5.0

First of all send legal notice asking him to repay the amount if you have written agreement where clause mentions that owner has right to deduct amount for painting and other expenses he can deduct. In case there is no rent agree ment in writing and since you people have full bank.statement to show that the amount is paid to him you can file suit for recovery of money in jurisdiction court. First send legal notice as soon as possible.

Swarnarka Chowdhury
Advocate, Mysore
1878 Answers
5 Consultations

5.0 on 5.0

The deduction towards painting and other minor repairs at the time of vacating the rented premises is not uncommon.

If he had undertaken painting work before letting the premises on rent, then you are liable to bear the expenses even if you had hardly stayed there for two months only.

If you proceed legally for this Rs. 15,000/- you may have to spend more than double towards litigation expenses which would include advocate fee and other incidentals, plus you may not be assured of a success despite spending your money, time and energy towards this litigation.

It may drag on years, hence think and act wisely.

T Kalaiselvan
Advocate, Vellore
78048 Answers
1543 Consultations

5.0 on 5.0

You need to send him a legal notice and also file cheating Complaint against him. You can also file suit for recovery of your deposit from him. There is no short cut to the legal procedure. You also can file suit for specific performance.

Prashant Nayak
Advocate, Mumbai
27224 Answers
88 Consultations

4.4 on 5.0


The landlord is not acting in right manner and he should return the complete deposit. You may send him a notice.

Ganesh Singh
Advocate, New Delhi
6646 Answers
16 Consultations

4.5 on 5.0

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