I am planning to buy a floor in a building. This building was previously owned jointly by three siblings. According to the seller, he and his siblings had effected an oral partition of the property. In the oral partition, each sibling was given separate ownership of a floor each. How can I establish my ownership in the floor?
—Mahesh Sharma Though a risky proposition, an oral partition of immovable property is a legally valid and recognised mode of partition under law. Given the absence of a written and duly executed partition deed, the erstwhile co-owners of the entire building may be made confirming parties in the sale deed executed with the owner for the particular floor. Legal due diligence of the property (chain of title of ownership) may also be undertaken.
I am in negotiations for lease of my property. As the proposed lease term is five years and the stamp duty implications are hefty, the prospective lessee is of the opinion that in the lease transaction, both parties have to share stamp duty costs. Is this correct?
—Yogesh Saraf Unless both the lessee and lessor have agreed to a different arrangement in the lease deed, it is the lessee’s (ie your prospective tenant’s) sole responsibility to pay stamp duty and registration fee applicable on lease deed.
The previous tenant of my apartment had defaulted on payment of maintenance charges for many months, despite the fact that the lease deed executed by us contained a clause holding the lessee responsible for paying maintenance charges for the entire duration of the lease. As the lease deed has now expired and the lessee has vacated, how should I proceed?
—Shefali Sood Most maintenance agreements for apartment complexes contain a clause to the effect that the ultimate responsibility of timely and full payment of monthly maintenance charges is that of the owner of the apartment, irrespective of whether the apartment is occupied by the owner, is vacant or given on lease. Even though the previous lessee had defaulted on payment of maintenance charges, you are liable to make payment of the outstanding dues and penalty, being the owner of the apartment. However, you may file a suit for breach of contract and for recovery of amounts paid by you against the lessee in the court of competent jurisdiction.