Property Disputes in India- Recurrent problems and their solutions

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Property issues pertaining to their Indian homes are now a major issue for the NRI community. In India, many NRIs own real estate. NRIs typically acquire these properties through inheritance, joint ownership with family members, or, finally, because they frequently purchase Indian real estate in order to maintain ties to their homeland.

Despite owning properties in India, non-resident Indians are not physically present to manage these assets. As a result, several legal problems involving these properties come up.

Now let’s examine the most frequent and persistent property conflicts in India and how one can anticipate to shield their assets from them.

Typical Property Conflict Types in India and How NRIs Can Prevent Them

  • Ownership/title disputes.
  • Disagreements with inherited or willed property.
  • Illegal possession, or the act of obtaining property against the intentions of its owner.
  • Tenant disputes with landlords.
  • Disagreements between the real owner of the property and the caretaker who won’t leave.
  • Co-owner disagreements about property.
  • Adverse Possession.
  • Disagreements between purchasers and builders/real estate developers.

Dispute related to Title Search or Ownership of Property.

When land is acquired by a will, transfer, or gift deed and the deed was not properly performed, a property dispute pertaining to ownership or title search may arise. In addition, NRIs should obtain a clear title search on any property they intend to purchase in India in order to ascertain its current status. This requires conducting a thorough study to confirm that the property is clear of liens and legal disputes. Thus, before making a real estate investment, a physical inspection of the property and its appraisal are always required.

One must confirm all the property-related paperwork and, if necessary, seek legal counsel in order to prevent these disagreements. Original Title/Ownership documents, such as a Sale deed, Transfer deed, or Conveyance deed in favour of the prevailing party, are necessary to resolve an ownership dispute. He should be listed as the owner in the revenue or local record.

Disputes relating to willed or inherited properties

Conflicts involving inherited or bequeathed property are also frequent. When someone inherits property through a will and others question the validity of their decision, conflicts may arise. When someone passes away intestate, or without a will, disputes can also arise.

One should draft a will using all appropriate safeguards and authorised legal channels to prevent these disagreements. Succession laws apply in the event of an intestate death. Make that the sellers of a property are the legitimate owners, particularly if it is being purchased through inheritance or a will.

Possessing a property against the owner’s wishes, i.e., illegal possession.

When NRIs aren’t present in India to oversee their land or assets, dishonest people frequently seize their holdings illegally. It is a laborious process for NRIs to reclaim ownership of their assets after these dishonest people seize control of them. The reason for this is that certain laws in India provide protection to those who hold property, even if they are not the proprietors. Because of this, unlawful possessors are abusing these laws. In certain cases, these intruders fabricate paperwork pertaining to the property in order to maintain their ownership. The NRIs must maintain up-to-date records and manage their property’s daily operations in India through a local friend, neighbour, or family in order to prevent such situations. Every time you travel to India, make sure you have documentation proving you have lived in the relevant property. A criminal complaint and a civil lawsuit can be brought against the unauthorised inhabitants in order to evict them from the property.

Landlord-Tenant Conflict

To maintain the upkeep of their properties, the majority of non-resident Indians (NRIs) who own homes in India often offer the same lease or rent. However, these tenants/lessees often take advantage of their absence and harass the NRIs because they are not physically present in India.

You should always draft a registered rent agreement that is signed by the landlord and the renter, and you should periodically update it to safeguard yourself from these issues.

Disputes between the actual property owner and caretaker refusing to vacate the property.

Tenants’ refusal to pay rent or leave the property in spite of the landlord’s personal demands is the primary cause of landlord-tenant disputes. Nevertheless, a landlord may also file for the tenant’s eviction on other grounds, such as unlawful use of the property, unapproved subletting of the property, damage to the property caused by the tenant, etc.

Such disagreements may be settled in court against the noncompliant tenant in the location of the tenanted premises.

Dispute between two co-owners

The majority of the time, properties in India are inherited by NRIs from their dads. In such a case, the Indian inhabitants are the other co-owners of the properties, with the NRIs typically being one of them. There is usually conflict between the non-resident Indians and their Indian co-owners because these other co-owners tend to refuse the NRIs’ rights in these jointly owned properties.

Co-owner disputes can be resolved by asking the court for partition and separate possession in order to divide each co-owner’s share of the property.

Adverse Possession

If a trespasser or caretaker claims to be in continuous, uninterrupted hostile possession of the property for more than 12 years and with the owner’s knowledge, the idea of adverse possession permits them to occupy and possess the property.

Because they are unable to visit India regularly to care for and maintain their assets, non-resident Indians are more likely to lose their properties in India due to adverse possession.

Conflicts between purchasers and builders/developers

A contract between the buyer and the builder/developer is called a property transaction. Furthermore, there have been many instances where the builder has failed to fulfil their end of the bargain, leaving the buyers in the dark.

One should only buy properties from reputable builders to prevent these issues. And there’s always RERA if someone wants further information regarding the builder’s reputation! As a result, a person should never purchase real estate that has not been approved and registered by RERA.

RERA (Real Estate Regulatory Authority)

It is advisable to property owners to get their projects registered under the RERA to avoid further disputes with the contractor. Registration under RERA secures all possible problems associated with the property’s construction.

Ways to Resolve the Property Disputes in India

In India, there are two different ways through which you can resolve property disputes:

  1. Settlement
  2. Litigation

Settlement

A settlement could be an option if there is a disagreement among family members. All parties involved in the settlement process gather around a table to decide how the assets and property should be split. Jewellery is one example of a moveable and immovable asset that is included in property division. Families may turn to an impartial third party for assistance in upholding discipline. An impartial third party like this can help the parties reach a win-win solution. Once the family has decided on a shared divide, a settlement agreement must be drafted.

This settlement agreement form needs to be signed by every family member. Court costs are reduced when family members settle together. It is usually preferable to settle an issue through negotiation in the first place. Property disputes can be resolved through the legal system if a family settlement cannot be reached or if one tries and fails.

Litigation:

Litigation is a lengthy process that incorporates court procedures and processes. As a result, one should only pursue legal action if they possess the required paperwork, such as the title deed, and if their attorney believes they have a good chance of winning. Parties may occasionally be ordered by courts to reach a settlement outside of court. It’s known as a settlement overseen by the court.

Conclusion

In conclusion, there are a lot of property conflicts, particularly in India, which could have terrible outcomes. Mutually agreeing on the distribution of property is a simple and peaceful way to settle property disputes; nevertheless, this requires that the agreement be carried out in good faith and with free consent. If this doesn’t settle the disagreement, the parties must file a partition suit in order to assert their ownership interests in the property, after which the court will make a decision.

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