Madras High Court sets aside order of rent court favouring landlord to evict tenant
The judge observed that there is no refusal on the part of the tenant to execute a written agreement and he had always exhibited readiness and willingness to do so.
CHENNAI: Madras High Court has ruled that a tenant cannot be evicted from a property on the ground of non-execution of rental agreement as per the Tamil Nadu Regulation of Rights and Responsibilities of Landlords and Tenants Act 2017 if the mandatory 575 days for executing the agreement has not been exhausted.
Justice Sathi Kumar Sukumara Kurup gave the ruling while setting aside an order of a rent control appellate court. The case pertains to a civil revision petition filed by partners of Top Kapi, a toy shop, seeking to set aside an order of the rent tribunal dated December 20, 2022 confirming the July 18 , 2022 order of the rent court.
The tenant has been occupying the building for over 40 years through an oral agreement. After the tenants act came into force, landlord S Sarath Babu served the tenant a notice in March 2019 seeking to sign a written agreement. The tenant had sent a reply expressing willingness but it reached the landlord late.
However, the landlord issued another notice and cancelled the tenancy, thereby, asking the tenant to vacate the premises and pay double the usual rent for the period after eviction notice.
The tenant filed a petition before the RDO seeking his intervention to formalise the agreement. In the meantime, Babu filed a petition before the rent court which ordered in his favour. Challenging the order, an appeal was filed before the rent control appellate court which confirmed the order of the rent court. Aggrieved, the tenant approached the high court.
The judge observed that there is no refusal on the part of the tenant to execute a written agreement and he had always exhibited readiness and willingness to do so. "Therefore, this court is of the view that there is adequate force in the submissions that the landlord's petition before the rent controller is not maintainable. In other words, as on the date when the original petition was filed by the landlord in this case, complaining about non-compliance of section 4 (mandatory agreement) of the Act by the tenant, time was very much available to the tenant to enter into an agreement," Justice Kurup noted.
"While so, section 21 (repossession) of the Act cannot be pressed into service in the present case to evict the tenant and consequently, the original petition is not maintainable," he ruled. Setting aside the order, he directed the landlord and the tenant to enter into a fresh lease agreement within a year.