Use of rented property for business purposes?
In mid 1970s, my grandfather rented the back portion of our house to a person, who covered the place with aluminium sheets and made it into a shed only to use it for storage purposes for their coal business. For years that shed has been left unused, with no electricity utilized their except a low watt bulb, and only rarely has it been opened to move or store some coal, now and then. The person to whom it was rented passed away some time back and last month his son decided to empty the shed, make it sturdier by building brick walls and a proper roof. My query is, do they have the right to utilize the place for another business without the permission of the present owners of the property? If their new business venture requires heavy electric supply, are the present owners supposed to provide it to them and that too without any revision in the rent that had been paid by them since the 70s?
That is your house and no one can utilize any thing without your permission. Better ask them to vacate the premises. You can send a notice and ask for vacation without citing any reason.
If they are not vacating file suit for eviction.
Is there any rent or lease agreement ?? If yes, then renew the agreement. If no, send them a legal notice to vacate the place. But if they do agree to your terms and conditions, then please make a lease or a rent agreement.
The answer to your queries are as follows:
1) The premises was let out under the old premises tenancy act of 1956 ( West Bengal). Now, that act has been repealed and 1997 act is under force.
2) Rent , under the present law is fixed according to the provisions laid down under Section 17 of the West Bengal Premises Tenancy Act, 1997. In your case, since the premises was let out for commercial purposes and the son of the original tenant wants to build permanent brick walls and do away with the shed. First thing, which you should do , is renew the rent agreement if there was any, else have a new tenancy agreement under the present law.
3) Under the new rent agreement, its your choice whether you give him the right to do business or not. Under the current situation , the tenants have to take permission to build walls . As far as , business is concerned it should be decided by a rent agreement. if there is none, you cannot deny him straightaway. Therefore, it is advisable to have a rent agreement.
4) As far as the electricity is concerned, its the tenants' headache , if he needs a commercial connection or not. The landlord should provide the tenants with a normal residential connection , as the premises of the landlord is for residential purpose. The tenant if he requires, a commercial connection should take permission from the landlord and the applicable electricity board for installation of the new connection. For a commercial connection in a residential premise, one needs No Objection Certificate ( NOC) from the landlord and it should be written clearly in the tenancy agreement.
5) As regards to your query, regarding revision of rent, of course the rent applicable in 70's won't be applicable now. Section 17(4B) of the West Bengal Premises Tenancy Act ,1997 provides that fair rent for any premise which was constructed before 1984 and had been used for commercial purposes for a period of 10 years or more till 1986, the tenant shall be entitled to pay the rent three times of the rent as on 1.7.1986, or accepting such rent, if it is more than what is provided under Schedule III of the West Bengal Premises Tenancy Act,1997 read with Section 17 of the Act. The section provides the substantive provision for fixation of fair rent and the schedule provides for the way to determine the rent according to the floor area.
6) You should approach the Office of the Rent Controller , and revise the rent , if the tenant is not willing to enter into a new rent agreement as applicable under the present law of the state.
I hope, this suffices.
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