Obligation of lessee to hand over possession

Duty of lessee to hand over possession:

Transfer of Property Act, 1882; Section 108(q):

“on the determination of the lease, the lessee is bound to put the lessor into possession of the property”

Law in general prescribes and insists upon a specified conduct in human relationship or even otherwise. Within the limits of the law, courts strive to take note of the moral fabric of the law. In the instant case, under the terms of the lease, the property had to be handed over to the lessor. Besides under Section 108(q) of the Transfer of Property Act, on the determination of the lease, the lessee is bound to put the lessor into possession of the property. Since the landlord has not assented to the lessee’s continuance in possession of the property, the lessee will be liable to mesne profits which can again be recovered only in term of his wrongful possession.

[Source: M.C. Chockalingam & Ors. v. V. Manickayasagam & Ors., [1974] 1 SCC 48]

Tenant at sufferance is one who comes into possession of land by lawful title, but who holds it, by wrong after the termination of the term or expiry of the lease by efflux of lime. The tenant at sufferance is, therefore, one who wrongfully continues in possession after the extinction of a lawful title. There is little difference between him arid a trespasser

[Source: R.V. Bhupal Prasad v. State of A.P. & Ors. [1995] 5 SCC 698]

On determination of tenancy the tenant would be bound to restore the possession of the demised
premises to the erstwhile landlord and if there is an express term/Convenant in the lease to that
effect it would apply and if there is no express covenant the law will imply an obligation to that effect
of the erstwhile tenant. As we have noted in the present case there is an express covenant in the
lease which also was relied upon by the plaintiff. But in the absence of such an express covenant the
law would imply a statutory obligation on the part of the ex-tenant to deliver and restore vacant
possession of demised premises to the landlord on determination of the lease. That would obviously
create a legal right in favour of the landlord and correspondent legal duty and obligation on the part
of the ex-tenant.

[Thus] on the expiry of the period of lease, the erstwhile lessee continues in possession because of the law of the land, namely that the original landlord cannot physically throw out such an erstwhile tenant by force. He must get his claim for possession adjudicated by a competent court as per the relevant provisions of law. The status of an erstwhile tenant has to be treated as a tenant at sufferance akin to a trespasser having no independent right to continue in possession.

[Source: Raptakos Brett And Co. Ltd vs Ganesh Property, 1998 Supp(1) SCR 485]


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