I am a working individual staying in Mumbai specifically in Navi Mumbai for more than 10years. Since the time I have come to Mumbai, I have been staying as a tenant at different places as per my job requirements. Currently I am facing an issue for which I need legal advice. 2 years back I shifted to a flat which I found affordable in Navi Mumbai. I clearly checked every single detail in the Leave and License Agreement Contract registered by the CIDCO after which I decided to sign along with my Landlord. During my stay at his place, everything went good until the day after 2 years when I informed my Landlord that I wish to vacate his flat due to my job requirement and also because the contract was getting over. However, to my surprise he informed me that he won’t be returning the security deposit back to me stating that there are some unmetered electricity bills against me for my stay of 2 years. Since the beginning of my stay at his flat, I enquired with the owner and also the builder for my monthly cycle of electricity bill when I noticed that I am not receiving it at my door step. After repeated requests, finally the builder informed me that the building does not have separate meters for the flats, but instead have a common meter for the entire building. This was the first time I heard about such a thing and so asked him the reason why it was not stated in the contract which I signed with my Landlord. I also asked him to explain me the way he is planning to charge my monthly electricity bill cycle. Even after repeated reminders and requests to both the builder and the Landlord, none of them provided me any answers to both of my questions. Due to my job requirement and to avoid the burden of shifting to a new place with my family, after the end of 1st year contract with my Landlord, I decided to renew my contract for 1 more year to which my Landlord agreed. However, my Landlord decided to suddenly increase the rent of the flat by almost 30% to which I had to agree because of the same reasons I have stated above. During my renewal of contract with the same Landlord for the 2nd year, I once again asked him about the way he is planning to charge my monthly electricity bill cycle. I had even asked him to provide me with a proof of registered bill or receipt against my name for any unsettled dues, if so any. I was informed by my Landlord that there are no pending dues against my name after which we both signed the Leave and License Agreement Contract registered by the CIDCO for the 2nd consecutive year. After my stay at his flat for 9 months in the 2nd year, I received my 1st copy of monthly cycle of electricity usage bill and I have paid it on time without any hesitation, as it is my responsibility as per the contract signed between me and my Landlord. When I decided to vacate his flat, I called up my Landlord to inform him about the same. Shockingly, he spoke to me over the phone in a very rude manner and also threatened me by saying that he won’t refund me back my security deposit. I asked him the reason for this kind of action being taken against me and my family to which he responded by suddenly disconnecting the call. Few minutes later he called me back saying the reason for him not being ready to refund back my security deposit is because he wants to charge me for the unmetered electricity usage that I may have used from the time of my 1st stay at his flat since my 1st contract. I asked him for a proof of bill or receipt for my electricity usage charged by the MSEB. He replied me saying that no such bills or receipts can be provided since the building had only 1 common meter and hence, he has decided to charge me a monthly average of electricity usage based on the entire building's total monthly electricity usage. I was surprised by his reply as I know there are months where I have been out of town along with my family and the electricity usage was nearly zero. I quickly realized the monthly average electricity usage being said to me by my Landlord for the entire 22 months of my stay is equalling to the security deposit which I had given him. When I had questioned my Landlord regarding the same and informed him that I felt it was illegal to cut my security deposit based on something which I was not informed earlier and also not mentioned anywhere in the contract agreement of both years either. He has not responded properly to my calls thereafter. If it was mentioned in the agreement that I need to pay a monthly unmetered electricity usage bill based on the total metered building's electricity usage, I would have paid it on time thus not keeping any liabilities behind as I know it is my responsibility as a tenant. Please advise me about what I should be doing in this situation. Waiting for a legal advice in anticipation.
Please brief in your questions as experts cannot go through the same as they cannot devote much time. Your query might be relating to troubles being given by landlord. You have two options. One you may lodge complaint against him or file civil suit against the landlord claiming your amount along with compensation for mental torture caused to you.
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Shanti Ranjan Behera
Responded 3 years ago
You have the right to go to the Consumer Court.
You have also the right to go to the Court for violation of the Contract.
You have the right to see the electricity bill from the begining till the present day and see how it has been distributed flat wise and the principle used.
You decide what you want to do.
Shanti Ranjan Behera