• Possession of keys during tenancy

I have let out my apartment to my tenant for about 2 years now. Last year he moved out of country, but however, he has kept his belongings in the house, so he is regularly paying the rent.
Recently, he expressed his intention to close the tenancy and after some negotiations, I agreed for 1 month notice period, instead of the 2 months which we had signed for in the agreement.
The tenant has given the house keys to the neighbour who he and I trust(I stay quite far away from the apartment) and since he has decided to vacate, he has given permission in email to me to take the keys from the neighbour enter the house and show it to prospective tenants. So far lots of people have come by, seen the house for tenancy and gone.
The problem starts here: Last week I had been to the apartment to show it to a prospective tenant, and took the keys from the neighbour. While I was returning back, the tenant was not at home and so I had to take the keys back with me, as I did not see any other viable option. Also, he called me to finalize the settlement and verify all other keys(rooms, wardrobes etc) which were in his unlocked wardrobe. I did that and kept all keys back as it is.
As it was very late that night, I emailed him about this next morning, along with detailed account of how much he owes me and how much of his deposit I need to return back, thinking now all is over and I can happily close this tenancy and let out to someone else.
Suddenly my tenant calls me and shouting at me for taking the keys with me. He has also instructed the neighbour not to accept the keys from me. He is now saying he will not vacate the house and I am responsible for loss of any valuables.
Is there any problem I could face, like vandalism?  My family is very much worried about this, and so am I.
My take is this: I had taken written permission to enter the house, lots of people have done so, for tenancy purpose and he is not even letting me return the keys to the trusted neighbour, so ideally I should not land into trouble, but I don't know how my actions can be twisted by him or his advocate in case he decides to file a case against me. Also, how would I evict him. In case I send him eviction notice by email, is it valid? For court proceedings, does he have to be present in person, or his lawyer can do it on his behalf?
Asked 10 months ago in Property Law from BANGALORE, Karnataka
Religion: Hindu
1)one set of keys are always with the lcensor and second set is given to licencee 

2) if tenant refuses to vacate the house issue him legal notice to vacate 

3) also inform him that if he fails to vacate he will be liable to pay penal rent as per the agreement 

4) prepare list of his valuables and forward him list of said valuables . request him to collect the same from the house within period of 15 days from receipt of notice

5) if he fails to do so file suit for eviction 
Ajay Sethi
Advocate, Mumbai
23240 Answers
1219 Consultations
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Hi, Don't bother too much he can't do anything.

2. As you being the owner of the property you have every right to enter the premises and you being the owner of the property you can keep the keys with you, he can't do anything.

3. In the worst case he may lodge a police complaint and police will not interfere in civil disputes. 
Pradeep Bharathipura
Advocate, Bangalore
4105 Answers
133 Consultations
4.3 on 5.0
You have not broken any protocol or procedures, you have followed it to the core. No need to be worried of the consequences. If the tenant or his advocate want to make this incident a big issue I see they have no grounds to do so.
Send an intimation to the tenant clearly admitting that he has returned the keys with the assurance that he will be taking away his belonging within 30 days and therefore you can go ahead and return his security deposit amount as well.
Keep his belongings in the flat for 30 days, after which put it in a safe locker or place after making a list of items along with signatures of two independent witnesses.
Kiran N. Murthy
Advocate, Bangalore
765 Answers
50 Consultations
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Your tenant is making a mountain of a molehill but you can ignore it. If he does not vacate on his own accord then a lawyer's notice may be issued to him. If he does not vacate even after the notice from your lawyer then the remedy is to file a lawsuit for his eviction. A notice from your lawyer to him email id wherefrom he has been communicating with you is a valid notice. Even the courts are now sending summons through email. Neither of you have to appear personally in the court except for the witness deposition and making of statement.
Ashish Davessar
Advocate, Jaipur
18102 Answers
448 Consultations
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Is there any problem I could face, like vandalism?  
The tenant cannot enter into any vandalism, it will be illegal on his part.

My family is very much worried about this, and so am I.My take is this: I had taken written permission to enter the house, lots of people have done so, for tenancy purpose and he is not even letting me return the keys to the trusted neighbour,
As you stated that he has given permission in email to me to take the keys from the neighbour enter the house and show it to prospective tenants, this is a valid evidence to rebut his charges, if at all he tries to make one against you.  No doubt it was your mistake that you did not return the keys to the neighbor but the fact is that you have already permitted him to vacate the premise but it is he who is dragging on the issue without vacating it and moreover since the neighbor was not available at that time to hand over the keys, it was not your mistake, however since you have already informed him about this situation, your intentions are clear but it is he who is trying to make hill out of a mole.  You can retain the keys with you if the neighbor is not willing to accept the keys from you and can inform the neighbor that you cannot be held responsible for the items lying inside the house since the neighbor is not accepting the keys and immediately you can send a notice to the tenant to vacate the house as per his request failing which you may file an eviction suit.  The notice sent by email is valid in law these days. 



 so ideally I should not land into trouble, but I don't know how my actions can be twisted by him or his advocate in case he decides to file a case against me. Also, how would I evict him. In case I send him eviction notice by email, is it valid? For court proceedings, does he have to be present in person, or his lawyer can do it on his behalf?
For court proceedings, your advocate will take care of the situation, hence you just follow your advocate's instructions on all such further issues. 


T Kalaiselvan
Advocate, Vellore
14026 Answers
127 Consultations
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