Q: I have been a tenant for 39 years, but I have no written lease agreement. For the past 10 years I have been paying a rent of Rs 2,500 per month. I have rent receipts dating back to 25 years. Recently, my landlord asked me to increase the rent to Rs 20,000, which I can ill afford. He also said that in keeping with a new law, he wants to enter into an agreement. Is a lease agreement compulsory? I was under the impression that the new law is only for new tenants and not for old ones. Can the landlord force us to vacate the house? If he does not accept a lower rent, where can I deposit it?
A: A lease agreement is different from a tenancy agreement and is governed by the Transfer of Property Act. It seems that your landlord wants to enter into a fresh agreement in keeping with the West Bengal Premises Tenancy Act, 1997, according to which a fresh agreement can be made subject to fair rent. In your case, the landlord will have to apply to the controller to increase the rent and, thereafter, make a fresh agreement with you. However, if you are not willing to increase the rent without an order from the controller, your landlord cannot force you to vacate the house. If he refuses to accept the lower rent, you may deposit it at the rent controller’s court.
Q:How can I get the extract of an order passed by the Mumbai High Court? The order was regarding defence documents in connection with a departmental enquiry under Bombay Port Trust Employees (Classification, Control and Appeal) Regulation, 1976, against delinquents of major ports.
Nirmalendu Sinha, via email
A: If you are aware of the date of the order and the names of the parties in the case, and if it has been reported in legal journals, you can find it in appropriate journals such as the All India Reporter.
Q:Can an unregistered flat owners’ association take any legal action against a flat owner for non-payment of common maintenance charges?
Bimalendu Saha, via email
A: Even if an association is not registered, the others can claim maintenance charges from defaulting flat owners by filing a civil suit.