• Project completion and handover of keys

Good Afternoon, 
My dad enlisted a contractor to get building works done at his property in Delhi. The works got dragged on quite a bit towards the end , and some minor works have not yet been completed. He was provided with one set of keys , which he keeps refusing to return , saying he has yet to complete this minor work or the other. 

We have asked him several times, but he does not return it. What legal right does he have to hold the keys ? There is an outside door as well. I am considering putting our own lock on it, restricting access. Will there be any legal ramifications if we do this ? 

Al payments to the contractor have been made in full. 

Asked 2 years ago in Property Law from United Kingdom
Religion: Hindu
It appears that the contractor has evil design in doing something wrong.
Immediately ask for return of the keys.If he refuses to do so then lodge complaint with local police about fraud and cheating.
In the meantime terminate all agreement with him.
You can also consider of brraking the padlock and get your own lock put on the door to retain your pissession.
Devajyoti Barman
Advocate, Kolkata
13128 Answers
174 Consultations

5.0 on 5.0

By refusing to deliver the keys he has committed the offence of theft and also criminal trespass. You can file a criminal complaint against him to this effect. You are also at liberty to file a lawsuit against him to complete the incomplete work in accordance with the contract which had been executed and then deliver the possession to you. You can put your lock to restrict access. 
Ashish Davessar
Advocate, Jaipur
23097 Answers
639 Consultations

5.0 on 5.0

1) contractor is mere agent for carrying out the work . 

2) since contractor has refused to return one set of keys as property owner your father is at liberty to get the lock changed 

3) inform the contractor that since full payment has been made for work done by him you no longer require his services 
Ajay Sethi
Advocate, Mumbai
46684 Answers
2762 Consultations

5.0 on 5.0

1. He has no legal ground to keep one set of the keys against the expressed wish of your father,

2. There will be no legal ramification if your father removes the said lock and puts another lock at the gate of his own house keeping both sets of keys with him.
Krishna Kishore Ganguly
Advocate, Kolkata
18749 Answers
452 Consultations

5.0 on 5.0

Hi, as per the terms of the agreement he has to complete the work but he has not completed the work as per agreement then you can file a suit for breach of the contract.

2. First you have to issue legal notice ask him to complete the work and also return the key and thereafter file a suit.
Pradeep Bharathipura
Advocate, Bangalore
4561 Answers
204 Consultations

4.5 on 5.0

Have your dad entered into any contract agreement with the contractor?
if so, what was the time stipulated in it, whether the contractor has completed the works within the time? or he is simply dragging on without completion? What was the terms about the money?
In my opinion, since the contractor has already completed the construction or only a minor works remain to be completed, you may issue a legal notice to the contractor intimating him the termination of the contract and also inform that the entire amount due to the contract had been settled, the last payment being ..... was paid by cheque/DD/Cash on...... hence he is directed to hand over the duplicate keys held by him without any purpose or reason beyond this period and he may be directed to handover the duplicate keys held in his possession within the time fixed by you either in person or by post or else the locks will be broke open and your dad will not be responsible for the loss or damage of any items  he has unnecessarily left behind despite completing the construction work. 
After the expiration of time granted to him, the lock may be broke open and new lock may be replaced on the doors, he cannot go against your dad legally. 
T Kalaiselvan
Advocate, Vellore
36851 Answers
403 Consultations

5.0 on 5.0

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