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I have an ancestral property in which my cousins are joint holders. How do I legally stake claim to my ownership as there is no amicable way in sight?

—Sudhir Rangarajan

We have assumed that you are a Hindu, and the property is ancestral. In such a case, all legal heirs by birth are equally entitled to a share in the immovable property and, hence, your statement that your cousins are joint holders is difficult to comprehend. If there are no legal impediments on the ownership of the property held by your forefathers and have not undergone partition or it’s not divided by the coparceners of joint Hindu family, you may claim for partition by filing a suit in a competent court of law.

However, to claim a share in the ancestral property, you should ideally know the family tree and the entire history to conclude your exact share. If a proper suit is filed and a prima facie case is made out then, there are chances of settling the matter amicably.

I bought a two-storey house in my home town recently. However, I have found out that one floor is being illegally occupied by another family. At the time of buying, I was given to understand that they were tenants. What can I do now?

—Mohan S.

We understand that the two-storey house was purchased by you for a valid consideration and through a registered document. Since you were aware about certain tenants occupying certain part of the two-storey house at the time of your purchase, you will not be able to file a suit against the seller for false representation or misrepresentation. Since tenancy goes to the root of the title of a seller, ideally, a due diligence should have been done before buying.

However, you will have to understand the rights of the current tenants and the period of their occupation or possession of the part of the house. You can file a suit of eviction of the tenants, which depends on the facts and the relevant state law. But you will have to adopt the due process of law.

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

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