In 2001, our family (including myself, my parents and siblings) had amicably resolved all disputes and arrived at a settlement regarding the distribution of various properties held by individual family members. After a few years, we decided to put down our understanding in writing for the purpose of keeping it as a record. What is the validity of this document? Is it legal and binding?
—LK Grover In case the document in question merely serves to record the family settlement, which was previously arrived at between the parties, and does not create any fresh rights and obligations of the parties, then such a document will not require to be registered, and is valid even if unregistered. However, whether the document is a settlement which would require registration or is only a record of a past settlement would depend on the nature of clauses contained. The owner of a property that I have taken on rent wants me to file property tax for it. Is filing property tax the responsibility of the owner or the tenant?
—JL Thapar Ownership of an immovable property comes attached with the owner’s responsibility to pay certain dues with respect to the property owned, such as property tax. It is the owner’s responsibility to make complete payment of his property tax on time. However, in case the lease deed executed between you and the lessor contains a term that the property tax is to be paid by you for the duration of the lease, then it will be your responsibility to make timely payment of property tax. Last year, I entered into a lease for five years, with a lock-in period of three years. However, the lease deed was not registered by the lessor despite my requests to him to accompany me to the subregistrar’s office. Due to other disputes between us, I wish to vacate the property soon. Can I vacate the property?
—Amit Garg A lease of one year or longer duration, such as in your case, is required to be compulsorily registered. If not duly stamped and registered, such a lease will amount to month-to-month tenancy. Currently, yours is a case of month-to-month tenancy, where both parties have the right to terminate such an arrangement any time. However, registration of the lease deed would have protected the rights of both parties.