March 31, 2023

Rights of an apartment owner

It’s a little strange, but true. Not too many property holders in our country are actually aware of their rights. While a lot is said and written about the rights of tenants, the owners’ legal privileges are rarely discussed. In plain vanilla terms, ownership of a property automatically vests the rights on the owner to use, possess and rent out the premises with proper legal compliance.

What are the basic rights of an apartment owner?

# Right to UDS: While buying an apartment, not only does the homebuyer pay for the flat’s carpet area and common area amenities, but also a part of the land on which the construction stands. This is the right to own an undivided share of land or UDS.

# Right to legal documents: As a homebuyer, you have the right to demand all the appropriate legal documents from the developer/seller, including the signed agreement, letter of allotment, payment schedule, copies of all necessary NOCs and permits, tax receipts, etc. Without valid documents, you will never be able to address disputes/issues with the property that might arise in future.

# Right to repossess property temporarily: The title of a property remains with the owner till such time he/she legally owns that property. The title document is transferred to a buyer only after the entire payment has been cleared. Till such time all dues are paid, the owner can repossess or retain possession of the apartment.

# Right to exclusion: The owner has the right to control trespassing by exercising the right to exclusion which gives him/her control over who gets to enter the premises and who doesn’t. Legally, the owner is not obliged to let anyone enter the property except law-enforcement officers, that too with a valid warrant.

# Right to enjoy responsibly: An apartment owner is entitled to use the premises as he/she pleases, of course without inconveniencing or impinging on the rights of the neighbours. For instance, partying is fine as long as the decibel level isn’t so high as to become a nuisance to the neighbours/fellow residents in the society. Of course, every housing society has its list of dos and don’ts which are expected to be followed by all residents, whether owner or tenant. Also, they are bound by state laws. But as long as they use their premises responsibly, they should be fine.

# Right to rent out: The property owner has the right to rent out the premises to a tenant for residential or business purposes as long as he/she has all the legal papers of the rental agreement in order. The owner is absolutely entitled to earn extra income from the property and also hike the rental amount periodically as per market dynamics.

# Right to sell: The owner of an apartment is perfectly within his/her rights to sell the property as and when desired. The only rider here is that any house loan obtained by the owner must be cleared totally before any sale agreement can be worked out.

# Right to expel: The apartment owner is also well within his/her legal rights to evict or expel any tenant in case the person and/or his/her family has been creating repeated nuisance or breaking rules laid down by the society board. While this was really difficult for landlords earlier with the Rent Control Act, the Draft Model Tenancy Act, 2015 has actually made their job easier to expel errant tenants when it becomes a real problem.

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Rights of an apartment owner