People often ask us, “Can a landlord evict a tenant for complaining too much?” Well, according to the landlord-tenant law in Pakistan, every tenant has a set of rights that are protected by law, and landlords are also obliged to act according to it. Just as much as the law protects a tenant’s rights, it also puts a great responsibility on their shoulders. Every province in Pakistan has certain grounds and policies which enable a landlord to terminate a rental agreement. One thing shared by rental laws across the country is that no court allows the violation of tenancy laws and tenants have the legal right to file a petition against illegal eviction. So, this blog is written to give you a better understanding of the situations when a landlord can rightfully evict a tenant and terminate the rental lease.
Here are Some Legally Valid Situations where a Landlord Can Rightfully Evict a Tenant
There have been cases where a tenant’s behaviour and personal choices have irritated landlords beyond measure. Knowing that a tenant doesn’t abide by a particular clause in the agreement or is involved in some downright illegal activities are some cases that make it mandatory for a landlord to evict the tenant.
However, having a difference of opinion on some issues, or cooking something with a strange smell, or not inviting the landlord to a party and other similar reasons are not justified to evict a tenant. It takes patience to resolve such matters and acknowledging the fact that people can have dissimilar interests should be at the top of every landlord’s mind. Landlords can only issue an eviction notice and terminate a rental lease when there are lawful reasons behind it. So, without further ado, here’s a list of the situations when a landlord can rightfully evict a tenant:
- Violation of Property Rules
- Illegal Use of Property
- Major Concerns & Property Damage
- Disagreements Over Rent Charges
Violation of Property Rules
It goes without saying that when a tenant signs a rental lease, they agree to abide by the rules and regulations mentioned in the agreement for as long as they are using the property. So, if they breach the terms of the lease they have signed, landlords reserve the right to take proper action against them, including filing a case for eviction and terminating the rental agreement. Ethically speaking, landlords are advised to issue a notice that asks the tenants to quit before signing an eviction – otherwise, landlords can knock the court’s door and seek justice. Some common causes of lease violation that count as situations when a landlord can rightfully evict a tenant are:
- Subletting: All adult tenants using the rental property should be registered as tenants, or the landlord should be aware of every individual using their property. Subletting is an act of using someone’s property without their consent, and it is quite common to see tenants bringing another rent participants to share the rent charges. However, there’s no harm in doing so, but the landlord should agree to it. In cases where homeowners discover unregistered/unlisted people living in the unit, they can file for lease termination.
- Breaching Pet Policy: Just like tenants are not allowed to bring a human being into the landlord’s property without their consent, they cannot bring in a pet – especially when the property owner has strict policies for bringing pets into their rental unit. If a tenant surprises the landlord with a pet in a no-pet policy, they shouldn’t be surprised to receive an eviction notice at all.
- Breaking Schedule: This rule applies to the properties that have enter/exit schedules. Some homeowners do not give an extra pair of entrance keys to tenants and like to have that control in their hands. So, if the schedule is already mentioned in the lease agreement, tenants are obliged to obey it under any circumstances. They can, however, ask for a few exemptions and bring it under the landlord’s attention while mentioning those exclusions in the agreement.
Tenants often think that their rental agreement will save the day – it is true in some cases where the agreement is thoroughly drafted. While in other cases, rental lease often falls short by not providing enough evidence to reverse the termination. To avoid these common causes of property disputes, renters are advised to read the whole agreement carefully.
Illegal Use of Property
Besides unlawful uses of the property, any use that isn’t spelled out in the landlord-tenant law or in the rental agreement can lead homeowners to issue eviction notice and terminate the rental lease. No landlord appreciates having their piece of property involved in illegal activities, and if they find out about any such activities, they can evict the tenant. So, it doesn’t matter if the property is being used for some purpose that the landlord isn’t aware of or whether the property is being used for unlawful activities, they have the right to file for eviction.
A residential unit is only zoned for residential purposes, and any activity beyond it will not be tolerated, which means if a tenant decides to use the property for commercial purposes, then they are using the property illegally and unlawfully. A small example here is of a tenant who decides to run a catering business or a salon on the residential property. Doing so is not only breaching rental lease but also makes the tenant accountable for breaking zoning laws.
Major Concerns & Property Damage
If a property is prone to life-threatening situations or is in a flood zone, the safety concerns arising must be resolved. However, it cannot be done with people living/using the unit, and a landlord has the right to evict a tenant or terminate the lease in this case. In such situations, property owners are abiding by the law to provide an eviction notice or what we say “notice to quit” [in common language] to tenants. The notification should be issued at least three months prior to the eviction date.
Similarly, if a tenant does not take care of the rental property, this can also result in eviction. Let’s say if a tenant has the habit of forgetting to turn off faucets and leave the house without double-checking. This forgetful habit can result in severe damage, and it might take a toll on the property owner’s pocket. Tenants can, however, offer to pay for the loss or fix it themselves (if they know to do so). Ensuring cleanliness and keeping the property in good condition, ideally in the same condition as it was while being handed over, is one of the major responsibilities of a tenant. Failure to do so can result in termination of the rental lease.
Disputes over Rent Charges
Disagreement over rent charges can occur in two situations: firstly, when the tenants have a habit of paying late, and secondly, they refuse to pay the legal rent increase. To begin with, it is a landlord’s right to receive monthly rent on time, and they can terminate a lease over unacceptable delays in receiving rent. Furthermore, in most provinces of Pakistan, landlords have the legal freedom to increase rent by a certain percentage annually. So, if the rent increment percentage was mentioned in the rental lease and tenants have signed it, landlords can rightfully evict them on their refusal to pay the revised rent.
Additionally, renters often take undue advantage of soft behaviour, and they go with the attitude of “little mistakes won’t matter” since the entire process hinges on a proper eviction notice being served to the tenants explaining the lease termination. Obviously, no landlord is going to mention a petty scenario such as, “for wasting water”, “for breaking my flower pot”, or “for not cleaning the apartment often” – tenants, however, should be aware of the fact that no property owner would be excited to hand their piece of property to someone who is not going to treat it as their own.
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Disclaimer: The information provided in this blog is not a substitute for legal advice for your property matters. Rental laws in Pakistan vary from one province to the other. It is a general piece of information, and it doesn’t reflect the law of a particular province. Readers are encouraged to consult a legal expert for their property matters.