Landlord can enter and inspect tenanted premises?

IN THE HIGH COURT OF BOMBAY

Writ Petition No. 7181 of 2008

Decided On: 04.12.2008

Empeegee Portfolio Services Pvt. Ltd.
Vs.
Sharada Navinchandra Shah

Hon’ble Judges/Coram: Anoop V. Mohta, J.

Citation:(2009) Bom Rent Cases 202

1. The petitioner-landlord’s challenge is restricted to portion of the impugned order as the Appellate Court rejected his application to inspect the premises with an architect.

2. The petitioner/landlord, as the respondent tenant not permitting him to inspect the premises though prior notice was given, moved this application under Section 28 of the Maharashtra Rent Control Act, 1999 (hereinafter referred to as the Act’ for short). The Appellate Court however, by impugned order observed as under:

Appeal is partly allowed. Order passed by the Ld. trial Court in respect of seeking order to the defendants for facilitating Architect to visit the suit premises is hereby set aside. Respondents/plaintiffs are at liberty to follow the appropriate course as found fit in that regard.
3. The result of this, that the landlord’s application was rejected mainly because he wanted to inspect the premises with an architect. Considering the scheme and object of the Act and specially Section 28 which is reproduced here under:

28. Inspection of premises: The landlord shall be entitled to inspect the premises let or given on licence at a reasonable time after giving prior notice to the tenant, licensee or occupier.
In my opinion “to inspect the premises” covers a critical examination. It cannot be mere casual glance or mere ocular inspection. In a given case it may be to determine the past and present condition of the premises. I see no reason why the landlord should not be permitted to inspect the premises let or given on licence after giving notice to the tenant, licensee or occupier. There is no stage mentioned or contemplated in this section. At any point of time in the given facts and circumstances of the case, if the landlord, wants to inspect his own premises, I see there is no reason not to permit such landlord to inspect the premises.

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4. The contention that now the matter is fixed for framing issues and therefore the landlord wants to collect the material for the purpose of his case and this amounts to collection of material are unacceptable. There is no restriction whatsoever created by the legislature whereby the inspection of the premises by the landlord must be alone. The landlord can in a given case inspect the premises alone and or with architect or with such other person, subject to notice. I see there is no reason such application should be rejected. In the present case as noted above it was not an application under Order 26 of Civil Procedure Code (CPC) after framing of the issues wherein the landlord applied for appointment of a commissioner. If Section 28 nowhere restricts, I see there is no reason to reject the case of the landlord considering the scope and purpose of the Order 26 of the CPC.

5. According to me Section 28 of the Act is very clear whereby the landlord at any point of time after issuing notice can inspect the premises alone or with an architect or other such person. Taking all this into account in my view, the impugned order dated 28.8.2008 deserves to be quashed and set aside to the extent as referred above. The application filed by the landlord under Section 28 is allowed. Petition is accordingly disposed of. Rest of the impugned order is maintained. No costs.

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