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My father bought my uncle’s share in an ancestral property. However, my uncle’s children now want a share in the property, saying they have a legal right as it is an ancestral property. Is that correct? Is the agreement between my father and uncle invalid? My uncle’s children were minors when he sold the share to my father.

—Name withheld on request

Assuming that your family is governed by the law as applicable to Hindus in India, as regards joint family property, all the legal heirs have rights in the same by birth.

Further, assuming that no partition or division has happened and the property was still an ancestral property when your father purchased your uncle’s share and that no permission from the court having competent jurisdiction was sought by your father or uncle and everyone having a share in the ancestral property for dealing with the share of the minor children in the ancestral property, your uncle’s children may become entitled to claim rights in the ancestral property.

I live in Delhi and want to give my house on rent. Which agreement is safer for landlords—the one signed on stamp paper worth 100 (for 11 months) or the one where 2% of the annual rent is paid as stamp duty (for more than 11 months)? Are there any other kinds of rent agreements that can be made? Which one is the most suitable?

—Dolly Moga

A rental agreement or lease agreement is required to be stamped and registered in accordance with the laws applicable in the state/ Union territory and the Transfer of Property Act, 1882.

As your house is in Delhi, being a Union territory, an agreement will have to be properly executed and stamped as per the applicable stamp act i.e. the Indian Stamp Act, 1899.

It is imperative that the document is stamped and registered to avoid any legal hassles/issues at a later point.

In the event of any dispute, a registered document is normally considered valid until proved otherwise in a court of law.

The choice of entering into any contractual understanding and registering the same would depend upon the intention of the parties, more particularly the period for which the house is to be given i.e. for minimum 11 months where the stamp duty that will be levied would be minimum or for any period where appropriate stamp duty will have to be paid as per the provisions of Indian Stamp Act, 1899.

However, from the landlord’s perspective, it is advised to have a rent agreement for a period not exceeding four to five years, which may be later extended at the option of the parties.

This is to avoid any issues in relation to adverse claims from the tenant or eviction relation issues, which may then require the landlord to follow the due process of law.

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

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