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How Can an NRI Landlord Evict Tenants in India?

Non-resident Indians owning properties in India see it as a way to earn passive income. And it is, no doubt, a great way to make money on the side.

But, in many situations, renting out properties in India has become an issue for NRIs.

These conflicts and disputes can arise for many reasons. And NRI landlords have the right to evict their tenants in India, given the reason is justifiable.

Justifiable Reasons for Eviction

NRI landlords can only cite justifiable reasons for the eviction of tenants.

Reasons that are considered justifiable for eviction include:

  • When the tenant in India has not paid rent for more than 15 days past the scheduled payment date without any valid reason.
  • When the property has been sublet by the tenant without prior notice to or written consent of the NRI landlord.
  • When the tenant is using the property for illegal or unethical purposes, or for purposes not mentioned in the rental agreement.
  • When the landlord has received bona fide complaints from neighbors about the tenants’ undesirable actions/ways of living.
  • When the activities of the tenants have caused damage to the property that has resulted in a decrease in value or usability of the property.
  • When the tenants have rebutted the NRI landlord’s ownership of the property.
  • When the NRI landlord needs the property for personal or commercial reasons—for example, if the landlord returns to India or needs the property for relatives’ use.
  • When remodeling/maintenance needs to be done to the property that is not possible without eviction.
  • When the landlord wants to get the property demolished for new construction. Such construction can be by self or by a third party.
  • When the tenant has not occupied the premises for a long time without notice.

While these basic reasons apply to properties across India, the tenancy rules may differ from state to state. It is wise to understand the state-specific rules before proceeding with the eviction of the tenants.

In Punjab, for example, NRI rental property management is in favor of the NRI landlords. The East Punjab Urban Land Restriction Act 1949, under Section 13-B, offers the option of immediate eviction. This option is available in case the NRI landlord wants to return to India and use the property.

However, NRI landlords can only use this right once in their lifetime and for one property only. While this limitation exists in Punjab and Chandigarh, you will need to check the Act applicable for your property to verify if the limitation is valid for you.

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Process for Evicting Tenants in India

NRI landlords can follow this simple process for evicting tenants in India.

Step 1: Sending an eviction notice.

The NRI landlord, usually with the help of a lawyer, needs to first draft a notice of eviction for the tenant in India. The notice should mention the date and time by which the tenant must vacate the property. It is also essential that the notice be sent through a court. Send the notice to the court within the proper jurisdiction, and the court will then send the notice to the tenant.

In most cases, the tenant is likely to vacate the property upon receiving the notice from the court.

If the tenant contests the notice and does not vacate the property by the said date and time, you can go on to file an eviction suit in India.

Step 2: Filing an eviction suit.

The NRI landlord has the option to file a civil case against a non-complying tenant in a court with appropriate jurisdiction.

Once the suit has been filed, the court will listen to the pleas of both parties and issue orders accordingly.

In the case of unruly tenants, complaints can first be filed with the relevant Resident Welfare Associations or the police station.

Important Points to Consider Regarding Tenant Eviction

Some important points to be considered by NRI landlords include:

  • Landlords cannot ask tenants to vacate the property within the first five years of the rental agreement if the rent has been duly paid and there is an absence of strong, justifiable reasons for eviction.
  • Drafting a rental agreement is a wise option. Only then can NRI landlords completely exercise their landlord rights in India.
  • NRI landlords should not resort to unethical and wrong eviction techniques. Refrain from cutting basic supplies, changing locks, damaging the personal property of tenants, or using muscle power. This is likely to result in the tenant filing a criminal case against the NRI landlord.
  • If things go south, seek legal help for amicable and easy resolution of disputes.

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