Property and land have been invested in and created by families over years. The assets are created so that they are either enjoyed by the owner himself. From time immemorial; families have had feuds over the property and land. Families have suffered hugely in terms of endless litigation over generations, deaths, and traumas in families, criminal cases, etc. It will wrong to say that these disputes only run in the families; there are innumerable cases where there are close friends or third parties who claim stake or 100% ownership/possessory rights in the property.
Land and property disputes seal our judicial system as there is uncountable litigation. Around 66 percent of all litigations are related to lands. These disputes are so very in number and most of the disputes pertain to the title of the immovable property and property transferred by the doctrine of survivorship.
A person has a good title over the property implies that such a person has a right to enjoy the rights or interests in the property such as possession, income by way of rent lease mortgage, etc. For enjoying those benefits you just have to prove the title of the property through documentary evidence which is really a complex process to deal with.
Land and Property disputes often arise on claims by legal heirs, co-owners, disputes over easement rights, wrong representation by the seller, improper or false description of the property in the title deed, etc. A dispute may also arise when a party to the transaction, after receiving the advance money, refuses to perform his part of the contract and speak to another buyer and takes money from him too.
There may also be disputes concerning delays in the delivery of possession of flats, by developers to buyers. When a property is acquired either through a gift or under will probate can also be subject to such disputes. Generally, a dispute may arise in inherited property. Disputes involving property and land can often cause frustration and anguish, whether it involves a neighbor, co-owners, or a local authority, which are related to land and property disputes.
TRESPASSING OR CLAIMING POSSESSION OF THE PROPERTY
Possession is stated as points of ownership as per law. It is important for any owner of the property to keep the possessory rights with him. In situations where the owner is residing outside the city or country; protecting the property becomes a primal concern. Therefore the property is either given to a friend, relative or tenant to ensure the property is intact in the absence of the owner. It becomes a cause of concern when the owner wishes to return to the property and the occupant refuses to vacate.
Can the owner do anything about it or just let go of his property created or inherited to the unscrupulous relatives or friends?? The owner has the complete legal rights to approach the court of law through a property dispute lawyer for seeking the possession of his house. Whether a suit for eviction or possession or Suit of Mandatory Injunction will totally depend on the facts of the case. Additionally, profits for illegal occupation must also be claimed through the court.
The other aspect if any person who has illegally entered your property. It is called trespassing. The owner of the property not only has the right to file a case in court but also file a criminal complaint against such a trespasser.
To avoid Land and Property Disputes it is important for such owners especially persons residing abroad (NRI or PIO) or a house owner living in a different city:
- Being an owner of a house where it is decided to give the house to a relative or a friend only for purposes of caretaking; the owner must enter into a properly drafted agreement that of a caretaker to be categoric as to the rights of the caretaker and that at any stage he cannot take undue advantage of your absence.
- If the house is given to a tenant; enter into a rent agreement and the rent must be deposited into the bank accounts.
- No power of attorney or any blank documents to be signed and handed over to the relative or friend.
- It is most important that the ownership documents such as the registered deeds and documents of the property are in your custody. PLEASE DO NOT HAND THESE DOCUMENTS TO ANY PERSON. Ensure you visit or have some person visit the property regularly.
CLAIMING OWNERSHIP OF THE PROPERTY
Circumstances occur quite often where your own blood or the closest friend or maybe a third party taking advantage of the faith and trust reposed in them; claim ownership of the property (house/land) which lead to a land and property dispute. The claim could be based on any of the following:
- An alleged Will
- Deeds executed by a power of attorney
- Forged agreements
- False facts and documents submitted to government authorities
AN ALLEGED WILL
On the death of a person; as per law, it is his children, widow, and mother who inherit the property in equal shares unless there is a Will left by the deceased. Each child or heir or another party might want the assets solely in their name or maybe unequally distributed based on a Will.
There are many cases in the past that we have seen where false Wills have been created by parties trying to usurp the share of their brothers and sisters or other family members. However, such a Will if comes into the knowledge of the testator himself can cancel it. If such a false or fabricated document is propounded by the beneficiary after the death of the owner of the property, the aggrieved must immediately on attaining knowledge approach the competent court seeking appropriate orders have the Will set aside.
Points to be noted to avoid land and property disputes in such matters:
- Where the property; make a registered Will in India and has two witnesses who will step into the witness box (where the Will is challenged).
- In the case where the parents have died and there are properties back home; the local authorities must be approached to have transferred/mutated in the names of the legal heirs. This step is immediate to avoid any third-party claims etc.
DEEDS ON THE BASIS OF A POWER OF ATTORNEY
Often when a person is residing abroad, he grants powers to his close family and friends to look after his estate. The powers are either given oral arrangements or power of attorney. It has happened in various cases where trust is reposed in friends and family and they have taken undue advantage of the same and misused the power of attorney given to them. The property is then illegally transferred or self to third parties without the consent of the owner of the property. It is based on the power of attorney which was taken under the garb of a mere authority for looking after the property and ends up leading to a land and property dispute.
The remedy of approaching the court is always there with the owner to seek appropriate reliefs such as set aside of any deed or recovery of money etc. A complaint to the police is also a must in such cases of fraud.
There have been cases where the persons living in India have created false paperwork in order to assert a right on the property of a person living abroad. Forged and fabricated agreements to sell are created to claim an illegal right on the property. There are false cases then filed on the owners who are living abroad so as to claim the right on the property.
Many times it so happens that false facts such as names of all the children of the deceased are not given to the government officials and the facts are concealed when getting the properties transferred.
For example, there are cases where the father has three sons and four daughters; the brothers do not inform the authorities about the sisters and get the property illegally transferred in their names.
These are grounds that amount to fraud in such land and property disputes and are subject to criminal implications along with filing a civil suit and applications to authorities to set aside the transfer.
SEPERATION AND PARTITION OF PROPERTY
It is commonly seen that the properties inherited are mostly held in joint names. There is no person who can individually enjoy the possession or ownership of the property. It is rightly said that a person is a co-sharer; he is a co-sharer in each part of the property unless it is partitioned and share i.e. there is the physical division of the property.
The law and the legal framework could be confusing and difficult to understand and to deal with, especially when the issue is regarding a property. In such an outline, it is not easy to realize how to determine, the area of issue or whether the issue needs to bring to court and, how the court procedure works. Searching a lawyer and getting proper legal advice can make you understand your choices and can give you the confidence to enable yourself to determine your legal recourse in such a land and property dispute. You may require legal assistance to reach a permanent solution.
An experienced and skilled property attorney can give you expert advice on how to manage your property issue owing to his years of experience in handling property cases. A property and land disputes lawyer is can help you avoid notable mistakes that may cause financial harm or will require future proceedings to accurate. Our firm offers you the assistance of the most distinguished land and property disputes lawyer to bring foremost and pre-eminent results.
There are various legal issues that NRIs face like property disputes, the partition of ancestral property, & the transfer of property.
The teams here at the legal help India division are trained and have the expertise to handle the land and property dispute for Non-Resident Indians. They understand that it is difficult for a person based abroad to travel to India to manage the process at every step. Our teams are equipped not only with the knowledge, expertise to assist in any property dispute.