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Ask Mint Money | If child lives with tenant on death, he may be considered a tenant

Ask Mint Money | If child lives with tenant on death, he may be considered a tenant
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First Published: Tue, Oct 04 2011. 01 06 AM IST
Updated: Tue, Oct 04 2011. 01 06 AM IST
Does equal share in property for each joint tenant also apply to ownership flats? Can I add my son’s name to the joint tenants?
—J.D. Bamboat
Equal share in property for each joint tenant applies to ownership flats also.
Joint tenancy has to satisfy “four unities”. Unity of title occurs when each joint tenant derives his interest by the same act or by the same instrument (through the same deed of conveyance or under the same will). Unity of interest arises when each joint owner has an identical interest in the whole property and every part of it. Unity of possession is when the possession of the whole property is vested in each joint tenant, jointly with the rest, which means they have an undivided interest in the whole property and not divided interests in separate parts of the property. Unity of time of commencement is when each joint tenant acquires an interest in the property at the same time.
You can’t add another person (including your son) to the joint tenancy as joint tenants can only derive an interest in the property by the same act or by the same instrument (unity of title). Another requirement is unity of time of commencement. Again it would not be possible to add your son’s name at a later point of time as all the joint tenants should have acquired their right in the property at the same time.
A joint tenancy may be severed and converted into a tenancy in common by one of the joint tenants disposing of or contracting to sell his interest or by mutual agreement or by a course dealing by all of the joint tenants sufficient to indicate a severance.
Can a child have rights on a rented flat in Maharashtra at the time of the death of the tenant?
—Sayi Devi Rao
I am assuming you are a “tenant” of a rented flat for which you have a tenancy agreement.
Rights to a tenanted flat are governed by the Maharashtra Rent Control Act, 1999. Section 7(15) defines the word “tenant” to inter alia mean any person by whom or on whose account rent is payable for any premises and includes in relation to any premises which are let out for residential purposes, any member of the tenant’s family who is residing with the tenant at the time of the tenant’s death. If no such member of the tenant’s family is residing with the tenant at the time of death, any heir of the deceased tenant, as may be decided, in the absence of agreement, by the court. This provision would not apply just to the death of the original tenant, but even on the death of any subsequent tenant, who becomes a tenant on death of the last tenant.
So if the child of the tenant was residing in the rented flat with the tenant at the time of his death, that child may be considered to be a tenant on the death of the original tenant. But if the child is not residing with the tenant in the rented flat at the time of his death and there is no agreement between the tenant and his landlord in relation thereto, then the court shall have the power to determine who will get tenancy rights.
Shabnum Kajiji is Partner, Wadia Ghandy & Co. Advocates, Solicitors and Notaries
Queries and views at mintmoney@livemint.com
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First Published: Tue, Oct 04 2011. 01 06 AM IST