Tenant occupying flat with items and not paying rent
Tenant occupying flat with items w/o paying rent since 13 months.
I have a small one bhk flat in Mumbai Suburbs.
1. Rented my flat through Notary (not a registered agreement) in Dec 2020. (Deposit amount 20k)
2. Tenant started defaulting payments since Feb 2021.
3. Tenant then requested for extension for clearing dues.
4. In May 21, I asked tenant to pay rent and dues or peacefully vacate the flat.
5. Tenant issued legal notice to me/family and levelled threatening allegations.
6. Tenant called police on me/family.
7. Tenant locked the door during police visit and has been unreachable since that time.
8. Tenant is Senior Citizen and he says is on deathbed due to some terminal illness etc.
9. Tenant has failed to pay rent till date, Electric and Gas Bills as well. (total amount >1 lac)
10. License Period for flat has expired 3 months back.
11. Tenant is repeatedly changing statements and not willing to take any settlement agreement proposed.
12. Nobody is staying in the house since May 2021.
Tenant claim about items/belongings:
Tenant claims that he has left his furniture, books, other sentimenal items in the house.
Tenant claims he is not in Mumbai and can't travel due to health/covid reasons
Tenant cites covid pandemic-loss of business as reason for not paying dues
Tenant is neither vacating the premises of his items/belongings nor paying rent and other dues since Mar 2021.
Some of my lawyer acquaintances have advised me to
Send notice to tenant to vacate the house in 24 hours/few days
1) to break lock and take possession of the flat in front of few witnesses, recording whole event through professional videographer
2) keep items found in safe custody for few weeks
3) Then dispose the items if not collected by tenant
My fear is that:
There is possibility that tenant is seasoned fraudster/crook.
Tenant is purposefully evading and delaying this matter. He will probably file larger theft/stealing suit on me/my family/witnesses.
Tenant seems extremely well versed with legal/technology matters and kept sending notices and evading/changing statements since beginning.
Tenant is planning large case as he boasted and referenced his/lawyer's knowledge of psychology/criminology also boasted that 'owner can not dare to touch my items/belongings'.
a) What are you thoughts?
b) What are my options/timelines here?
c) Shall I vacate/empty the premises like suggested above?
d) In case I choose to empty the premises, how can I protect myself/family/witnesses/flat from further longer (theft/stealing) litigations?
Asked 3 days ago in Property Law