Dispute mechanism available under a lease

How it started:

It started with the case of Booz-Allen & Hamilton Inc v. SBI Home Finance Ltd & Others (“Booz-Allen”), wherein the Supreme Court, after hearing the matter, held that the disputes relating to eviction and tenancy were not arbitrable. Leases are governed under the Transfer of Property Act, 1882 (“TOPA”). The court discussed the nature and scope of issues arising for consideration in an application under Section 8 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act (“Act”) wherein “even if there is an arbitration agreement between the parties, and even if the dispute is covered by the arbitration agreement, the court where the civil suit is pending, will refuse an application under Section 8 of the Act, to refer the parties to arbitration, if the subject matter of the suit is capable of adjudication only by a public forum or the relief claimed can only be granted by a special court or Tribunal”.
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Time is of the essence for registration of a lease

INTRODUCTION

More often than not, the central procedural question on the minds of parties entering into a lease deed is whether the registration thereof is mandatory. This central query pervades the gamut of situations ranging from lease of residential to commercial properties, and from short-term to long-term leases.

The law governing registration of lease deeds is primarily contained in the Registration Act, 1908 (“Registration Act”) and the Transfer of Property Act, 1882 (“TOPA”). A lease of an immovable property is a transfer of a right to enjoy such property, made for a certain time, express or implied, or in perpetuity, in consideration of a price paid or promised or of money, a share of crops, service or any other thing of value to be rendered periodically or on specified occasions to the transferor by the transferee, who accepts the transfer on such terms as defined in Section 105 of TOPA. According to the Registration Act, ‘lease includes a counterpart, kabuliyat, an undertaking to cultivate or occupy, and an agreement to lease[1]’.
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RERA or Consumer Fora – Homebuyers can make the choice!

Can allottees approach Consumer Forum under the Consumer Protection Act, 1986[1] (the “CP Act”), despite the remedies available under the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016 (the “RERA”), if they don’t want to take a recourse under the latter? This question was long debated and the Supreme Court of India (“Supreme Court”) finally answered it in the case of Imperial Structures Limited v. Surinder Anil Patni and Another[2]. The Supreme Court held that the RERA does not bar the jurisdiction of the CP Act to deal with the complaints filed by consumers who are homebuyers or allottees of real estate projects registered under RERA. While this finding may create more challenges and complexities, such as parallel litigations and claims initiated under both RERA and CP Act, we will analyse the rationale behind this judgment.
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Lenders as Promoters under RERA regime - Analysing Haryana Real Estate Regulation Authority’s recent Order in Supertech Hues case

Introduction

The Haryana Real Estate Regulation Authority (“HRERA”) has recently delivered an unprecedented order in the matter of Deepak Chowdhary Vs PNB Housing Finance Ltd. & Ors. (“Supertech Hues case/ Order”)[1]. This Order will have implications on banks and other financial institutions, which provide credit to real estate companies, while also bringing into focus, the conflict between the rights of such banks and financial institutions vis-à-vis the rights of allottees of such projects. Despite the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016 (“RERA/Act”), contemplating mortgage loans to be the “first funders” of a real estate project[2], the HRERA has passed an order, which may have implications on secured lenders when it comes to exercising their rights to enforce their security.
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Real Estate Collaborations & Significance of Corporate Due Diligence 

Introduction

India’s real estate sector has been witnessing critical changes since the last few years, including the promulgation of the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016 (the “RERA Act”). The implementation of the RERA Act has pushed the sector to organise and standardise operations and management of real estate entities. The checks and balances imposed by the RERA Act and liquidity crunch faced by the real estate market has forced the dislodgment of small and unorganised players. Owing to such changes, the real estate market is now witnessing a phase of consolidation and collaboration.
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The disruption that Covid-19 has brought about is for everyone to see. Businesses across all sectors have been severely impacted due to the several versions on lockdown orders issued by the central and state governments from time to time.

Given that all enterprises continue to scamper to preserve cash and reduce costs, one of the major payouts that all businesses are actively trying to avoid or minimize exposure to is rental payouts. Two of the most obvious questions in this regard have been:


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To Pay Rent or Not To Pay Rent - The Delhi High Court rejects plea for suspension of rent during lockdown

The COVID-19 outbreak and the resultant nationwide lockdown have severely impacted performance of obligations, whether contractual or otherwise, across the country. Most entities/individuals are exploring the option of pleading frustration of contract[1] or invoking force majeure[2] clauses to suspend or obtain a relaxation on their contractual obligations. In this post, we examine the recent decision in Ramanand & Ors. v. Dr. Girish Soni & Anr.,[3] where the Delhi High Court rejected an application for waiver or suspension of rent on account of the lockdown.
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Termination of Leases – Express or Implied 

Landlord-Tenant relationship is a jural relationship and is governed by the provisions of Transfer of Property Act, 1882 (Act). In a landlord/tenant relationship, the parties are often referred to as lessor (landlord) and lessee (tenant). The contract under which the landlord-tenant relationship is bound is a lease agreement. The term ‘lease’ is defined under Section 105 of the Act and states as follows – 

“A lease of immovable property is a transfer of a right to enjoy such property, made for a certain time, express or implied, or in perpetuity, in consideration of a price paid or promised, or of money, a share of crops, service or any other thing of value, to be rendered periodically or on specific occasions to the transferor by the transferee, who accepts the transfer on such terms”. Thus, a lease of an immovable property is a contract between two principal parties the lessor and the lessee, whereby the lessor creates an interest in favour of the lessee with regard to property for a specific duration.
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Validity of Operational Licenses In The Wake of Covid-19 – A Grey Area

In the wake of the pandemic Covid-19, many legal and regulatory modifications have been undertaken in the country to facilitate compliances by the business houses as well as ease of doing business.

Recently, the Ministry of Corporate Affairs, Securities and Exchange Board of India, Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India, Real Estate Regulatory Authority, to name a few, have issued various regulations as well as amended the existing ones to suitably modify timelines and processes needed for secretarial compliances, periodic reporting, disclosure requirements, tasks to be undertaken under liquidation process etc.
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REITs in India - A prescription for regulatory inoculations and booster shots

In our previous piece , we had gazed into our crystal ball for predictions on the future of REITs in India, specifically in light of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and its aftermath. However, putting the largely untameable forces of macroeconomic factors, sectoral outlooks and market perceptions aside, there are some regulatory changes which, if introduced by the relevant regulators in a timely manner, could provide the real estate sector and specifically, REITs in India, with the necessary shot in the arm to thrive in the times to come. Set out below is a short wish-list.
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