Landlord forcing me to give house keys before returning deposit
I'm staying in a rented house for 2 years. Just 15 days before the end of the agreement, I informed the owner via phone that I would vacate the house in 30 days, and the owner acknowledged this.
10 days before the deadline: I informed the owner that I would be completely vacating the house in 5 days.
I requested the owner to transfer the security deposit so that I can hand over the house keys to her. From my side, I gave full co-operation and told her that I would be willing to show the house to anyone until I have the key with me.
Day of vacating the house: Owner saw the house and mentioned that she would return the security deposit after reducing the painting and cleaning charges of 9k. In the agreement it is mentioned that tenant would pay for the damages done by him. However the house has seen no damage, and the paint is in the same condition in which she handed over initially.
1 day after vacating the house: Without any other option, decided to agree to take whatever amount she gives (security deposit - 9k), and informed her to transfer the amount via NEFT. She took the help of his husband to transfer the amount and collect the key.
Last few days: Husband claims he has dropped the cheque in the bank, and demanding for the house keys. When asked for the bank seal on the cheque, husband claims he has just dropped in the ATM and counterfoil has no bank seal. Hence I requested the owner's husband to wait till I get a confirmation SMS/email from my bank regarding the cheque. At this point he got furious and did the following:
- Raised his house and shouted. Even on repeated requests from me to reduce his voice, he kept shouting over phone.
- Threatened to get police, and mentioned that he knows how to get the house keys back in a threatening way
- Mentioned about having another pair of house kjey with him using which he can enter the house any time, but he didn't want to do it
- Ignored all my requests to wait for a day or two till I get cheque deposit status to be safe from ym side. But he didn't heed to this.
Next day after this: Owner called and started abusing me over phone. She didn't even allow me to respond anything. She kept shouting continuously.
- I have been requesting to get the security deposit first before handing over the house keys. However both the owner and her husband are not happy with this.
- Rental agreement clearly mentions that the tenant would pay for his/her damages. There are no paint or structural damages from my side. But even then the owner wants to cut 9k for painting and cleaning the house.
- All this while, owner had another set of keys, which was never disclosed orally or mentioned in the rental agreement. Isn't this an offence? We used to keep all the confidential and constly items at house wihtout the slightest knowledge that they had another set of keys.
- Can I press charges against the owner's husband for shouting at me and threatening?
- Even if the cheque gets desposited (less by 9k), should I send legal notice and hand over the keys? Or should I hand over the house keys after she agress to transfer the remaining 9k also?
Note: I have all the phone call recordings and Whatsapp messages for the entire discussion with the owner and her husband. I'm a bit skeptical about pressing charges on the owner since the Indian laws favors the women more. Kindly advise.