• Tenant occupying flat with items and not paying rent

Tenant occupying flat with items w/o paying rent since 13 months.

Resepcted Lawyers,

I have a small one bhk flat in Mumbai Suburbs.

Event Sequence: 
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

Current Status:
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 
First --> 
Send notice to tenant to vacate the house in 24 hours/few days

Then -->
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'. 

Questions:
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?
 

Thanks!
Asked 3 days ago in Property Law
Religion: Hindu

First answer received in 30 minutes.

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8 Answers

The option suggested by your advisors is correct and should be followed. He is just trying to harass and scare you. 

Witnesses should be present. Send him a notice before doing it.

Otherwise you may go to the court for eviction for non payment of dues and threats being given to you irrespective of the case whether you have a registered agreement or not.

He cannot lock your flat and live elsewhere.

Rahul Mishra
Advocate, Lucknow
13335 Answers
49 Consultations

5.0 on 5.0

Issue legal notice to tenant to vacate premises and pay arrears of rent 

 

2) if he fails to vacate file eviction suit as he is trespasser on expiry of agreement 

 

3) don’t break the lock and take possession of premises 

Ajay Sethi
Advocate, Mumbai
85548 Answers
5730 Consultations

5.0 on 5.0

You need to send them eviction notice and file eviction proceedings and get exparte decree from competent authority. Once you get it you can break open the lock through police and take possession . Do videography of the said proceedings. You will not have any theft proceedings. 

 

Prashant Nayak
Advocate, Mumbai
25386 Answers
65 Consultations

4.4 on 5.0

Your apprehensions are well founded, any attempt of taking law in to hands can land you in greater trouble. You problem is not without solution. Use law against him, only law cuts law. Default in payment  of rents, not using rented premises are valid grounds to seek his eviction under Maharashtra Rent Control Act, 1999. Any local lawyer will help you out.  Issue a lawyer's notice  seeking payment  of rent and eviction on the ground to not using the premises at the rented flat address . Notice will come back as door locked. File a suit Before Rent Controller seeking eviction on the ground of default of payment  of rent not using the premises. Court will issue notice  to tenant which  will come back as door locked. Court will order you to publish notice  in local newspaper after that Court will pass ex parte order of eviction against him. File execution petition seeking his eviction through Court bailiff, he will file a report of door locked. File an application to break open the lock by Court and possession of premises. Court will get the lock broken and give you possession seizing all his movable property in the flat. His property will be sold in auction and Court will give you arrear of rent. The whole process will take between 4 to 6 months. This is the only legal way you can get possession of your property.

Ravi Shinde
Advocate, Hyderabad
1654 Answers
21 Consultations

5.0 on 5.0

1. whosoever 'lawyer' asked you to break open the locks and take possession of the flat after issuing the notice is NOT a lawyer!!

2. issue a legal notice terminating the license 

3. if tenant does not comply then file a licensee eviction suit before the Competent Authority appointed under the Maharashtra Rent Control Act. In that suit claim arrears of rent plus damages

4. how difficult is that? 

Yusuf Rampurawala
Advocate, Mumbai
6639 Answers
63 Consultations

5.0 on 5.0

. If you have not issued any eviction  notice to the tenant so far, then it becomes pertinent to issue an eviction notice immediately and since the default in monthly rental payment is more than two months, you do not have to give him two months time to vacate the premises.

You can give 15 days time to vacate, if he fails to comply then you can approach the court with a petition to evict him 

By breaking open the lock of the rented premise, you will be held liable for the offences of theft, burglary or any other offence that he may level against you.

Do not take law into your hands.

 

T Kalaiselvan
Advocate, Vellore
75676 Answers
1313 Consultations

5.0 on 5.0

Dear Client,

You should first send an eviction notice. If he does not vacate the property in due time file an eviction suit against him as he has already violated your agreement. If you succeed in the eviction suit then you will have a court order and if after that also he does not obey you can file a contempt petition. Surely, it can be a long journey.

Thank you

Anik Miu
Advocate, Bangalore
3311 Answers
34 Consultations

4.9 on 5.0

At the outset, without any further delay, issue a legal notice to vacate the property within 7 days of receipt of your notice and also ask for arrears of rent to be paid failing which legal proceedings will be initiated against him in both criminal and civil courts of law. If he doesn't adhere to the notice, then you will have to institute a suit in the court of the property's locality seeking eviction and arrears of rent. Once the decree is passed, under execution proceedings you may seek break open of lock otherwise you can get into trouble as you are saying he seems to be a seasoned crook who knows his rights and can manipulate circumstances to his benefit. So, breaking open the lock without court's order and supervision would be risky. Other than that, during the proceedings of the suit, you and the tenant always have the option to settle outside the court.

Sanjay Narayandas
Advocate, Hyderabad
92 Answers

5.0 on 5.0

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