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Photo: Mint

Tenants paying rent regularly may have a stake in the property

Taking a preliminary view, it can be assumed that many may have acquired rights in the units as tenants

My father’s sister had a chawl in Mumbai since 1975. When her husband passed away in 2004, she gave a power of attorney (PoA) to my father to manage the chawl. She passed away in 2009, while my father passed away in 2010. What should I do with the property? My father’s sister had three daughters. How can the property be transferred in their names? None of us has visited the chawl since 2010. Will the chawl tenants have a stake in the property now that they have been living there for a long time? We have all the legal papers.

—Srihant

Based on the limited information provided to us, it appears that your aunt (father’s sister) was the owner or landlord of the chawl, hence after her demise her legal heirs would be entitled to the same.

We assume that the PoA given to your father was for the limited purpose of managing the chawl, including collecting the rent from the tenants, which would be valid only till your aunt was alive.

Assuming that the aunt and the family are Hindus and that they were or are governed under the personal laws applicable to Hindus, pursuant to the demise of your aunt and her husband and in the absence of any will, their legal heirs as per the Hindu Succession Act, 1956, which in this case are the three daughters, will be absolute joint owners of the chawl.

To ascertain if the chawl tenants have a stake in their respective units or tenements, one will require to consider the legal papers and verify, if the persons or their legal heirs using and occupying the units are bona fide tenants under the Maharashtra Rent Control Act, 1999, and have been paying the rent regularly from time to time and obtaining receipts for the same. Taking a preliminary view, it can be assumed that many may have acquired rights in the units as tenants. It is to be noted that any legal action that you are proposing to take against the chawl tenants will have to be taken by following the due process of law.

Aradhana Bhansali is partner, Rajani Associates. Queries at mintmoney@livemint.com

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