Tag Archives: Lessee

Nature of Structure

No hard and fast rule can be prescribed for determining what is permanent or what is not. The use of the word “permanent” in Section 108(p) of the Transfer of Property Act, 1882 is meant to distinguish the structure from what is temporary. The term permanent does not mean that the structure must last forever. A structure that lasts till the end of the tenancy can be treated as a permanent structure. The intention of the party putting up the structure is important for determining whether it is permanent or temporary. The nature and extent of the structure is similarly an important circumstance for deciding whether the structure is permanent or temporary within the meaning of Section 108(p) of the Transfer of Property Act. Removability of the structure without causing any damage to the building is yet another test that can be applied while deciding the nature of the structure. So also the durability of the structure and the material used for erection of the same will help in deciding whether the structure is permanent or temporary. Lastly, the purpose for which the structure is intended is also an important factor that cannot be ignored. Hindustan Petroleum Corporation v. Satish Chandra Jain, 2020 (138) FLR 822.

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Failure to Pay Rent – Deliberate Default

In Santosh Mehta v. Om Prakash, (1980) 3 SCC 610, it was held that the power to strike out a party’s defence is an exceptional step and has only to be exercised where a “mood of defiance” and “gross negligence” on the part of the tenant is detected. It was held as under: “We must adopt a socially informed perspective while construing the provisions and then it will be plain that the Controller is armed with a facultative power. He may, or may not strike out the tenant’s defence. A judicial discretion has built-in self-restraint, has the scheme of the statute in mind, cannot ignore the conspectus of circumstances which are present in the case and has the brooding thought playing on the power that, in a court, striking out a party’s defence is an exceptional step, not a routine visitation of a punitive extreme following upon a mere failure to pay rent. First of all, there must be a failure to pay rent which, in the context, indicates wilful failure, deliberate default or volitional non-performance. Secondly, the section provides no automatic weapon but prescribes a wise discretion, inscribes no mechanical consequence but invests a power to overcome intransigence. Thus, if a tenant fails or refuses to pay or deposit rent and the court discerns a mood of defiance or gross neglect, the tenant may forfeit his right to be heard in defence. The last resort cannot be converted into the first resort; a punitive direction of court cannot be used as a booby trap to get the tenant out. Once this teleological interpretation dawns, the mist of misconception about matter-of-course invocation of the power to strike out will vanish. Farewell to the realities of a given case is playing truant with the duty underlying the power. Dina Nath v. Subhash Chand Saini, (2019) 9 SCC 477

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SARFAESI Act – Rights of a Rightful Tenant

If a valid tenancy under law is in existence even prior to the creation of the mortgage, the tenant’s possession cannot be disturbed by the secured creditor by taking possession of the property. The lease has to be determined in accordance with Section 111 of the Transfer of Property Act for determination of leases. As the existence of a prior existing lease inevitably affects the risk undertaken by the bank while providing the loan, it is expected of banks/creditors to have conducted a standard due diligence in this regard. Where the bank has proceeded to accept such a property as mortgage, it will be presumed that it has consented to the risk that comes as a consequence of the existing tenancy. In such a situation, the rights of a rightful tenant cannot be compromised under the SARFAESI Act proceedings. Bajrang Shyamsunder Agarwal v. Central Bank of India, (2019) 9 SCC 94.

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Filed under Rights of a Tenant, Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest Act

Lawful Possession

Possession may be lawful, it may be unlawful. It may be legal or illegal. The acquisition of legal possession would obviously be lawful and would of necessity involve the occurrence of some event recognized by law whereby the subject matter falls under the control of the possessor. But a problem arises where the duration for which possession is recognized is limited by the grantor or the law. Continuance of possession beyond the period specified by the grantor or recognized by law is not treated as a lawful possession. For example, a tenant acquires legal as well as lawful possession of the tenanted premises from the landlord with the express consent of the landlord but limited to the duration of the lease. On expiry of the leaser, if the landlord does not consent to the lease being continued, the possession of such tenant would not be a lawful possession. The nature of possession being not lawful would entitle the landlord to regain possession.

        From a common sense point of view, lawful possession must be the state of being a possessor in the eyes of law. The possession must be warranted or authorized by law; having the qualifications prescribed by law and not contrary to nor forbidden by law. Sawwad Ali v. Rajesh Kumar, 2019 (135) ALR 927.

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Second Notice – A New Tenancy Cannot be Inferred

In Sarup Singh Gupta v. S. Jagdish Singh, (2006) 4 SCC 205, it was held as under:

       “In the instant case, two notices to quit were given on 10th February, 1979 and 17th March, 1979. The suit was filed on June 2, 1979. The tenant offered and the landlord accepted the rent for the months of April, May and thereafter. The question is whether this by itself constitutes an act on the part of the landlord showing an intention to treat the lease as subsisting. Mere acceptance of rent did not by itself constitute an act of the nature envisaged by Section 113, Transfer of Property Act showing an intention to treat the lease as subsisting. The fact remains that even after accepting the rent tendered, the landlord did file a suit for eviction, and even while prosecuting the suit accepted rent which was being paid to him by the tenant. It cannot therefore, be said that by accepting rent, he intended to waive the notice to quit and to treat the lease as subsisting. We cannot ignore the fact that in any event, even if rent was neither tendered nor accepted, the landlord in the event of success would be entitled to the payment of the arrears of rent. To avoid any controversy, in the event of termination of lease the practice followed by courts is to permit the landlord to receive each month by way of compensation for the use and occupation of the premises, an amount equal to the monthly rent payable by the tenant. It cannot, therefore, be said that mere acceptance of rent amounts to waiver of notice to quit unless there be any other evidence to prove or establish that the landlord so intended.”

       In the Judgment rendered by Orissa High Court in Bhagabat Patnaik v. Madhusudan Panda, AIR 1965 Ori 11, Section 113 has been interpreted to hold that since a valid notice to quit a lease or to determine a tenancy cannot be waived without the assent of the landlord and the tenant both, the question as to whether such facts and circumstances of the case. An English Authority in Lawenthanfal v. Banhoute, 1947 (1) ALL ER 116, was quoted to say that a new tenancy cannot be inferred on the issuance of second notice. It is in this context that it was observed that a “subsequent notice to quit is of no effect.” It was held that a tenancy is not revived by anything short of a new tenancy and in order to create a new tenancy there must be an express or implied agreement to that effect.

       The mere fact that the tenant continues in possession and rent is accepted and the suit is not instituted are insufficient circumstances for inferring an intention to create a new tenancy after expiration of the first. It was further held thus:

       “Generally speaking, giving a second notice to quit does not amount to a waiver of a notice previously given unless, with other circumstances, it is the basis for inferring an intention to create a new tenancy after expiration of the first.” Praveen Kumar Jain v. Jagdish Prasad Gupta, 2019 (132) ALR 357.

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Subletting or Sub-tenancy

Sub-tenancy or subletting comes into existence when the tenant gives up possession of the tenanted accommodation, wholly or in part and puts another person in exclusive possession thereof. This arrangement comes about obviously under a mutual agreement or understanding between the tenant and the person to whom the possession is so delivered. In this process, the landlord is kept out of the scene. Rather, the scene is enacted behind the back of the landlord, concealing the overt acts and transferring possession clandestinely to a person who is an utter stranger to the landlord, in the sense that the landlord had not let out the premises to that person nor had he allowed or consented to his entering into possession over the demised property. It is the actual, physical and exclusive possession of that person, instead of the tenant, which ultimately reveals to the landlord that the tenant to whom the property was let out has put some other person into possession of that property. In such a situation, it would be difficult for the landlord to prove, by direct evidence, the contract or agreement or understanding between the tenant and the sub-tenant. It would also be difficult for the landlord to prove, by direct evidence, that the person to whom the property had been sublet had paid monetary consideration to the tenant. Payment of rent, undoubtedly, is an essential element of lease or sub-lease. It may be paid in cash or in kind or may have been paid or promised to be paid. It may have been paid in lump sum in advance covering the period for which the premises are let out or sublet or it may have been paid or promised to be paid periodically. Since payment of rent or monetary consideration may have been made secretly, the law does not require such payment to be proved by affirmative evidence and the court is permitted to draw its own inference upon the facts of the case proved at the trial, including the delivery of exclusive possession to infer that the premises were sublet.” Flora Elias Nahoum v. Irdish Ali Laskar, (2018) 2 SCC 485.

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Filed under Rent Law, Subletting, Uncategorized

Lease Deed – Unregistered

It is also a well settled position of law that in the absence of a registered instrument, the courts are not precluded from determining the factum of tenancy from the other evidence on record as well as the conduct of the parties. A three Judge Bench of the Hon’ble Apex Court in Anthony v. K.C. Ittoop and Sons, (2000) 6 SCC 394, held as under:

“12……..A lease of immovable property is defined in Section 105 of the Transfer of Property Act. A transfer of a right to enjoy a property in consideration of a price paid or promised to be rendered periodically or on specified occasions is the basic fabric for a valid lease. The provision says that such a transfer can be made expressly or by implication. Once there is such a transfer of right to enjoy the property, a lease stands created. What is mentioned in the three paragraphs of the first part of Section 107 of the Transfer of Property Act are only the different modes of how leases are created. The first paragraph has been extracted above and it deals with the mode of creating the particular kinds of leases mentioned therein. The third paragraph can be read alongwith the above as it contains a condition to be complied with if the parties choose to create a lease as per a registered instrument mentioned therein. All other leases, if created, necessarily fall within the ambit of the second paragraph.

When lease is a transfer of a right to enjoy the property and such transfer can be made expressly or by implication, the mere fact that an unregistered instrument came into existence would not stand in the way of the court to determine whether there was in fact a lease otherwise than through such deed.

Taking a different view would be contrary to the reality when parties clearly intended to create a lease though the document which they executed had not gone into the process of registration. That lacuna had affected the validity of the document, but what had happened between the parties in respect of the property became a reality. Non-registration of the document had caused only two consequences. One is that no lease exceeding one year was created. Second is that the instrument became useless so far as creation of the lease is concerned. Nonetheless the presumption that a lease not exceeding one year stood created by conduct of parties remains unrebutted.”

Thus, in the absence of registration of a document, what is deemed to be created is a month-to-month tenancy, the termination of which is governed by Section 106 of the Act. Park Street Properties Pvt. Ltd. v. Dipak Kumar Singh, (2016) 9 SCC 268.

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Transfer of Land – By Government

Articles 294 to 296 of the Constitution of India provide for vesting or property (which includes land) and assets in the Union of India and various States. Article 294 deals with the development of the property and assets which vested (prior to the coming into force of the Constitution) in His Majesty for the purposes of the Government of the Dominion of India and for the purposes of the Government of each Governor’s Province. Article 295 provides for the succession to the property and assets which vested prior to the commencement of the Constitution in any Indian State. Article 296 deals with accrual of properties by escheat or lapse or as bona vacantia. The Imperial Legislature recognized the need of a law to regulate the method and manner by which the Governments could transfer or create any interest in the land vested in the Government. Section 2 of the Government Grants Act declares that “nothing contained in the Transfer of Property Act, 1882 applies to any grant or other transfer of land or any interest therein” made by or on behalf of the Government either prior to or after the commencement of the said Act. In other words, when the Government transfers land or any interest therein to any person, such a transfer is not governed by the Transfer of Property Act, 1882. The rights and obligations flowing from the transfer of either a piece of land or an interest therein by the Government cannot be determined on the basis of the rights and obligations specified under the Transfer of Property Act, 1882. They are to be ascertained only from the tenor of the document made by the Government evidencing such a transfer. Tata Steel Ltd. v. State of Jharkhand, (2015) 15 SCC 55.

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Lease of Immovable Property

Immovable property means landed property and may include structures embedded in the earth such as walls or building for the permanent beneficial enjoyment. A lease of immovable property is a transfer of right to enjoy such property ion consideration of price paid as per Section 105 of the Transfer of Property Act. By way of lease, a right and interest is created which stands transferred ion favour of the lessee. The immovable property, thereafter, only can be reverted back on determination of such right and interest in accordance with the provisions of the Transfer of Property Act. Therefore, once the right of lease is transferred in favour of the lessee, the destruction of a house/building constructed on the lease property does not determine the tenancy rights of occupant which is incidental to the contract of the lease which continues to exist between the parties. Shaha Ratansi Khimji and Sons v. Proposed Kumbhar Sons Hotel Pvt. Ltd., 2014 (5) AWC 4394 (SC).

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Lease and Mortgage – Difference between

Lease and Mortgage are species of the same genus viz., the ‘transfer of property’. Both of them bring about transfer of property, but with a substantial change as to the nature of disposition. The principal objective of a mortgage is to provide security for repayment of amount, whereas the one under lease is that the owner of an item of immovable property permits another to use it on payment of rent. Except in the case of usufructuary mortgage and mortgage through conditional sale, the possession of the property continues to be with the mortgagor.
In the case of lease, the transferee invariably gets the possession of the property. Apart from the broad difference, there are certain minute important aspects, that differentiate the mortgage from lease. Once a transaction of mortgage is brought about, the mortgagor gets the right to redeem and the mortgagee gets the corresponding tight to foreclose the mortgage. The nature of decree to be passed in a suit for foreclosure of mortgage differs substantially from the one to be passed in a suit for recovery of possession of property from a lessee. A preliminary decree is to be passed and it is followed by final decree. Chapter IV of the Transfer of Property Act, 1882 confers rights and places obligations on the mortgagors, on the one hand, and mortgagees, on the other hand, which are typical and germatone to such transactions. Prescription of any fixed term is alien to mortgages.
Lease, on the other hand, involves, just the permission being accorded by an owner of property, to another, to use it. The consideration therefor is the rent fixed with the consent of the parties. In a given case, the lease may be nominal or phenomenal. Further law does not prohibit the rent being paid in the form of adjustment from the amount due from the lessor to the lessee. What becomes important is the objective underlying the transaction, namely use of the property belonging to the lessor by the lessee, on payment of rent and for a stipulated term. Chapter V of the Act enlists the rights, which a lessor has against the lessee and vice versa. Termination of lease on the one hand, and foreclosure/redemption of mortgage, on the other hand, have nothing in common. When such is the radical difference between the two transactions, it is not at all possible to take the one for the other. Gita Cotton Trading Company v. CCRA, Hyderabad and another, 2013(121) RD 661 (AP).

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