Bachelors and Student tenants are not allowed – legally speaking

Housing societies have been in the news for a while for discriminating on the basis of religion, community, food habits and marital status. This issue in more pertinent in certain part of our country. Most common issue that crop up in every society is whether to allow student tenants or not. Before we proceed with the article, we would like to clear that we are not discussing the disadvantage of renting out to Bachelor and Student tenants. We are bringing up the legal stand on this issue and why you should understand the legal aspect before enforcing this decision.

Can a housing society bar its members from letting out their flats to students, bachelors, spinsters and foreigners? The legal answer is NO. Let us explain in detail;

Every citizen of India and non-citizens, have been granted fundamental rights under the Indian Constitution, to stay (reside) anywhere in India, BUT except  in prohibited and restricted areas. None of the Apartment Acts across India have provisions for “Prohibited & Restricted” areas in the Society premises. Also, they don’t provide for restrictions on “Tenants”, then “Bachelor Tenant” cannot be prohibited (banned) from residing in a Society, even if for whatever reasons.

[Edit] Since this post went live, we received this image from a home buyer. A recent fatwa by Noida based developer.

And the discrimination continues

Legal standing of a Society

The Society is classified as a “Service Provider”, under the Consumer Protection Act, which is further reinforced from several Judgments of the Consumer Court. The Sole-Responsibility of a Society, is to provide “Common Services & Amenities”, to its members, which also lawfully means “Common Services & Amenities” to the Tenants of its members.

The housing societies can indeed frame their own laws. There are broad guidelines, or bye-laws, that every housing society adopts when it is registered. These rules and regulations govern the day-to-day functioning of the housing society and are crucial to its smooth running. Though it is the legal right of the owner to lease his property, the housing society in which the flat is situated, too, has a say in it. “Individual societies are legally empowered to deny tenancy based on their bye-laws. In many cases, such bye-laws are interpreted in a certain manner in order to achieve this. However, they have no constitutional right to do so.

Any regulation which infringes on the fundamental rights of an individual can be challenged in the court of law. “The housing society regulations don’t have the same stature as that of a law. Every Indian citizen has the right to reside anywhere in the country and discrimination is not allowed on the basis of religion, caste, sex, eating habits or marital status.

Case Study

Case 1: This was probably the first time that flat owners have revolted against the bias, calling it a violation of their fundamental rights. A Mumbai Base Co-op Housing Society had passed a resolution that owners can rent out flats only to families. All members who had let out flats to bachelors and spinsters were asked to get them vacated in a month time. The agenda circulated at the society’s special general body meeting said bachelors, spinsters and foreigners residing in the society were causing a nuisance. There has been a case of suicide, a few foreigners were involved in a sex racket, inadequately dressed females and males gather in the open area of the society at odd hours, it said. The resolution was approved by a majority vote. Aggrieved by the society’s decision, a resident, who had let out two flats to bachelors, challenged the resolution in the district consumer forum Mumbai.

District Consumer Forum later declared the resolution illegal and lifted all such bans. Same was upheld by State Consumer Forum.

Case 2: In case of Sanwarmal Kejriwal vs. Vishwa Cooperative Housing Society, Hon’ble Supreme Court upheld the owner’s right to keep tenant of his choice.

Case 3: In Case of St. Anthony’S Co-Operative, Bombay High Court came out with strong observation and rejected the amended bylaws by which the Society wanted to restrict membership to a particular religion.

Conclusion

Even if your society take the decision to debar the tenants with majority’s resolution, such resolutions are not maintainable in court of law. We advise you to take an informed decision.

4 thoughts on “Bachelors and Student tenants are not allowed – legally speaking

  • October 28, 2015 at 2:33 pm
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    I want a clarification, the point in question is a person take the house on rent but self he further keep 10 to 12 girls or boys and also provide them with food etc. by employing one help. the most of the bachelors staying in the flat do not submit police verification nor any identity and they come stay for few days and fresh set of bachelors are kept. Society is not in a position whether the person staying is having criminal back ground or a terrorist i.e. being run as P.G. and when 10 to 12 boys/girls are staying then putting extra load on utilizes. Pl. clarify the legal status on the case

  • October 28, 2015 at 2:38 pm
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    Mr. Singhal,

    In such cases, you can complaint to the police against owners not getting the police verification done. Also, running a PG inside housing colonies is illegal as per the local bylaws of some authorities. If such is the case for you, you can complaint to the authority for the same. In your case, the issue at hand is commercial activities inside a residential complex and there are ways t deal with it.

  • October 28, 2015 at 3:22 pm
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    Really a very good article and it gives valuable information to the people who are struggling with the same problem.

  • November 18, 2015 at 7:32 pm
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    Hey Mr Singhal, would you feel that a family was running a PG as well if they were having a marriage or some function and the entire extended clan came to stay for a few weeks/months? Or if a family decided to invite some friends/relatives over to stay with them for an extended period? Would you insist on background checks for all the guests in these situations as well/ You can only call it a PG if the tenants are getting some monetary compensation out of the arrangement. Your irrational bias against young people won’t play well in court. Unless you have deep pockets. In which case, you should definitely go to court.

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