• Cheating by Landlady by not returning the security deposit

This is to seek the opinion regarding a cheating case by landlady

I had got a house for rent in Bangalore; the landlady has collected a security deposit of 2 Lakhs (10 months’ rent) which is a returnable amount while vacating the premises.

Landlady and daughter is staying in ground floor of the same premises, all our communication were through the daughter who is staying along with her since she was not proficient in English or local language.

I had given the notice to landlady/daughter that we will be vacating the premises with 2 months’ notice effective from Oct 2nd, 2015 (i.e. by Nov 30th 2015), which was accepted by her, however on Nov1st she has informed that security deposit cannot be returned giving some vague reasons which I have not accepted since I had already shortlisted couple of other houses for shifting. 

She had insisted that as per agreement written notice to be given, further I had given a written notice to her which she did not agree to acknowledge. I had sent a registered post dated Nov 1st 2015 to her address which was also not accepted, which was subsequently returned to me after 3 attempts by local post office mentioning door locked and not collected after intimation.

On Nov 5th landlady’s daughter had pasted a letter on our door mentioning the premises need to be vacated with 2 months’ notice (ie Dec 31st 2015).

On Nov 21st she had sent another letter to my wife’s office (agreement is in my wife’s name & rent paid by wife’s employer) addressed from as Landlady (agreement made in her name) mentioning the house need to be vacated by Jan 21st.

We had vacated the house by Dec 19th and paid the rent up to Dec 31st (as per the notice given by daughter). When we requested to inspect the house and return the security deposit she had mentioned that notice period was not over and she has slammed the door and was not ready for any dialogue either with me or any 3rd party as moderator.

While vacating we had locked the house with another lock. I had logged a police complaint on Dec 30th 2015 mentioning about the cheating for which acknowledgement is given by local police station but they had not taken any action mentioning that it is a civil case.

When we visited the house to check the status we found the lock was broken and they had taken possession of the house and they didn’t allow to go inside. She had contacted the ACP office and mentioned that we are harassing her and ready to return the amount by a weeks’ time. 

On Jan 26th I had visited their house along with local police and handed over the keys through the ASI and land lady’s daughter has given a PDC dated 31st Jan, deducting 58K citing reason that sufficient notice was not given since the earlier notice was given in daughters name and only mother’s letter sent on Nov 21st is valid.

Landlady’s daughter has given a PDC dated Jan 31st when we presented; the bank has notified that there is a stop payment given for this cheque.

Following are my queries.
1.	If the cheque is given stop payment, is it considered same as dishonouring the cheque and can we proceed with criminal case- If we are proceeding with a case, do we need to raise separate cases one against daughter for dishonouring the cheque and another against landlady for not returning the security deposit
 
2.	Is the notice by landlady is mandatory or her daughter’s  is sufficient since it is mentioned in agreement that she or her legal successors can get the tenant vacated

3. The agreement original copy is with landlady, is it legally valid if we have a signed copy only
      
4.	Police has asked to acknowledge in petition that I have received the amount. I had clearly mentioned it as postdated cheque subjected to realization-Do I need to raise a fresh complaint and mention about dishonouring of cheque and regarding the breaking of lock

5.  Is there any other legal recourse which we can take to get the money refunded?

6.  In general what would be the duration of cases of this nature and the expenses which we may have to incur?

Note: We have made two agreements against the property, one with my wife’s organization name as tenant and one against my wife’s name on their insistence- Wife’s employer will not be taking any action since it is our responsibility to settle the dues
Asked 10 months ago in Property Law from Bangalore, Karnataka
Religion: Hindu
1) if cheque is dishonoured on presentation issue legal notice under section 138 NI against dishonour of cheque . stop payment amounts to dishonour of cheque 

2) if payment is not made file 138 NI case for cheque dishonour

3)file case of cheating , criminal breach of trust against landlady for refusal to return security deposit 

4) you can also file summary suit under order XXXVII of CPC for recovery of security deposit against mother 

5)your signed copy is sufficient to file case 

6) cheque bouncing cases take 5 years to be disposed of 

7) summary suit results would be faster as court would direct landlady to deposit amount in court within one year 

8) tenant is the wife organisation . legal proceedings have to be taken by the organisation for recovery of SD 

Ajay Sethi
Advocate, Mumbai
23087 Answers
1212 Consultations
5.0 on 5.0
1 Yes, it is same as dishonour of cheque and hence on this basis you can file case of cheque bouncing.
2. Any of them can send notice.
3.Yes
4.Yes
5. file case of cheque bouncing, criminal trespass,burglary,cheating etc.
6. Cases prolong for some time and it would be anything between 2-5 years.
Devajyoti Barman
Advocate, Kolkata
5136 Answers
54 Consultations
4.9 on 5.0
1. Stop payment is equivalent to dishonour of cheque due to insufficiency of funds in the account of drawer. The prosecution of the drawer can thus be launched. A criminal case for cheque bounce is lade out against the daughter whereas a lawsuit for recovery of money will have to be filed against the landlady.

2. Within the sweep of the agreement the notice by the daughter of landlady is sufficient. 

3. The original copy is always retained by the landlord, a copy thereof is valid.

4. The only remedy for you is before the criminal and civil court. You can launch the prosecution of landlady's daughter for cheque dishonour and also file a civil suit to recover the deposit with compensation against her mother. Police has no role to play in this.

5. The time frame for the disposal of the case would be subject to the backlog of cases in the concerned court.
Ashish Davessar
Advocate, Jaipur
18049 Answers
445 Consultations
5.0 on 5.0
Your case is fit case for filing 138 Negotiable instrument act . For getting the return of advance amount you can approach the civil court and also challenge the unauthorised deduction of money. Before filing the complaint check the person to whom you entered in the agreement for rent and to whom has provide the check.(Whos cheque).The photo stat copy is sufficient for filing the case ,the same may be mention in your petition. 138 case is faster than other litigation process.
Ajay N S
Advocate, Ernakulam
1905 Answers
19 Consultations
5.0 on 5.0
Hi, as the landlady has issued the Post dated Cheque and you can present the same to your bank on that date, suppose if the cheque is dishonored then you can file a complaint under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instrument Act.

2. As per law once the cheque is issued it is for consideration so  you will get your money but you must have patience and you have to file a case in the court.
Pradeep Bharathipura
Advocate, Bangalore
4104 Answers
133 Consultations
4.3 on 5.0
1.	If the cheque is given stop payment, is it considered same as dishonoring the cheque and can we proceed with criminal case- If we are proceeding with a case, do we need to raise separate cases one against daughter for dishonoring the cheque and another against landlady for not returning the security deposit
The cheque dishonor case can be filed against whosoever has issued the cheque, but remember that the daughter not being a party to the agreement, you should not have accepted the PDC from her account because there is no legal liability on her therefore sh need not pay you the cheque amount so your case may not succeed.  However you can file a case against the landlady for recovery of entire security deposit amount with interest.




2.	Is the notice by landlady is mandatory or her daughter’s  is sufficient since it is mentioned in agreement that she or her legal successors can get the tenant vacated
The meaning of she or her legal heirs means in the absence of the landlady the legal heirs can step into her shoes  i.e., after the demise of the landlady.  Therefore during the life time of the landlady only her notice can be held as valid. 



3. The agreement original copy is with landlady, is it legally valid if we have a signed copy only      
Yes, it is valid.




4.	Police has asked to acknowledge in petition that I have received the amount. I had clearly mentioned it as postdated cheque subjected to realization-Do I need to raise a fresh complaint and mention about dishonouring of cheque and regarding the breaking of lock
Yes you can make a police complaint against it and can also claim that your valuables kept in the house is missing since the lock is broken, so there is a suspicion of burglary and the suspects are the daughter and the landlady.  This will really create problem for those people who will rush to compromise with yo including returning the entire amount..




5.  Is there any other legal recourse which we can take to get the money refunded?
Yes, you can file a money recovery suit.  you may also drag the landlady into the criminal case for cheating.



6.  In general what would be the duration of cases of this nature and the expenses which we may have to incur?
The time taken for disposal of such cases cannot be predicted, usually it should be disposed within one year, but it depends on various factors. 
T Kalaiselvan
Advocate, Vellore
13902 Answers
127 Consultations
5.0 on 5.0

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