Property Disputes in India: Types, Laws, and Solutions
In a country as big as ours and with as many people, it is no surprise that property disputes are very common. These are the main reasons why the Indian judicial system has gained a reputation for being slow and inefficient with almost 80% of pending cases being a property dispute of some kind.
From disputes regarding the division of property among brothers and sisters, to cases over non-payment of rent, there is great diversity in the range of property disputes in India. A property dispute is a menace to the well-being of anyone who goes through it. However, there are still provisions to deal with all types of these disputes in Indian Law.
The old adage, “Knowledge is power” stands apt for legal matters in India, as the one who knows more about the law often stays one step ahead in the courtroom. Through this blog, we aim to educate you about the types of disputes regarding property, the laws that deal with them, and the solutions to any kind of property dispute.
|Table of Contents
Table of Contents
Types of Property Disputes
There are many reasons why a property dispute might arise. While it might not be possible to list all of them, we discuss some of the most common ones by dividing them into a few broad categories. The most common types of property disputes are-
- Dispute Over Inherited Property
- Dispute Over Property Title/Ownership
- Delays in Possession
- Non-Payment of Dues
- Joint Property Ownership Disputes
- Real- Estate Fraud
- Illegal Possession
Disputes Over Inherited Property
Disputes over inherited property can occur for several reasons. If a person dies leaving a will that can be challenged by others. The chance that a property dispute might happen when a person dies intestate (without leaving a will). These are the most common type of property disputes in our country, very common among siblings.
Inherited property can also be distributed by letters of administration or succession certificates. In these cases, there are many risks among buyers of such property as they can land in trouble if the property hasn’t been distributed in reality exactly as mandated in the succession certificate or letter of administration.
Dispute Over Property Title/Ownership
The owner of a property has the right to enjoy the property fully, as in possession, use, or income by rent, etc. The owner of a property has the title over a property if there is enough documentary evidence to support his claim. Disputes over the title can arise for many reasons, like when the property is sold or transferred and someone challenges it to be legally invalid.
Delay in Possession
This type of property dispute arises when a builder does not comply with the stipulated time frame that was agreed upon between them and the buyer, leaving the buyer in a lurch. Sometimes, real-estate development companies even take payments and still fail to deliver on time, leaving hassled buyers with no other option but litigation.
Non-Payment of Dues
This is a common dispute between landlords and tenants, where the dispute arises when the tenant refuses to pay the rent. Cases where the property is on lease and the tenant is occupying the property but refusing to make payment are also quite common.
Joint Property Ownership Disputes
It is a good idea to hire the best lawyer for property disputes you can get your hands on while dealing with a joint property ownership dispute. These occur when one owner refuses to acknowledge the right of the co-owner. This type of case is very common between NRIs and a co-owner living in India.
Real estate fraud usually involves cases when one party deceives the other by promoting their property by misrepresentation. This usually involves a transaction that the aggrieved party has already made. Common examples of real estate fraud include cases where the builder keeps on asking for more and more installments in payment to complete a project but still always fails to deliver by the previously agreed timeline; or uses the money for other purposes instead of using it towards the construction. Sometimes, developers also just vanish after taking money from hapless buyers.
Oftentimes tenants refuse to vacate a property after their lease is up, or don’t pay rent for months and still occupy the property. In those cases, the owner of the property has all rights to remove them, but if they still don’t then it falls under illegal possession. Illegal possession also occurs when a caretaker refuses to vacate the premises when the owner asks them to. Basically, anyone who occupies a property which they have no right over for an extended period of time counts as illegal possession.
Property Dispute Laws in India
It is almost impossible to list all the laws that can be used with respect to the various myriad kinds of property disputes that might arise. However, in line with precedent, here are some of the laws that the talented team at Lex solution is very familiar with:
- Indian Stamp Act, 1899 and Registration Act, 1908
- Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016 (RERA)
- Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013
- Transfer of Property Act, 1882
- Indian Easement Act, 1882
- Indian Contract Act, 1872
- Land Revenue Codes
Solutions to Property Disputes
There are mainly two ways in which property disputes in India can be dealt with – settlement or litigation. Let us look a little deeper at these.
A settlement refers to when the persons involved in the dispute sit together, often in the presence of a neutral third party, and come to a mutual settlement that is agreeable to both. This is extremely common for property disputes that occur within a family.
The alternative to settlement is litigation, where parties take legal action to resolve their property dispute. This process is long and expensive, hence this should only be the recourse if you have all the relevant documentation and only with the advice of your lawyer.
There are many reasons that a property dispute might occur, as they are very common in our country. There are extensive laws to deal with all types of disputes regarding property but only a good lawyer, like the ones at LexSolution can help you if you have to deal with one. Hence, always take the advice of your lawyer if you are ever involved in a property dispute.
- What is the best course of action for a family dispute over the division of property?
The best course of action for a family dispute over the division of property would be pushing for a family settlement.
- How can I avoid property disputes regarding ownership/title?
To avoid property disputes over ownership/title, always make sure to have the original title, deed, and other relevant documentation like city approvals.
- Do sisters have equal rights as brothers in the division of property?
Yes. According to law, female heirs have an equal calm over property as brothers.
- Can courts order a settlement?
Yes. Court-mandated settlements are very real and often used by courts for small disputes.