Category Archive Property Law Guides


A Step-by-Step Guide on How to Register Your Property

Buying a home can often seem like a long, tedious process, but it all becomes worth the effort when you finally have a house to your name. However, there is one final step to complete before you can actually claim this property as your own. Registering your property is crucial because it gives you legal rights over it. Many homeowners delay the property registration process as they can pay their home loan and even move into the new house without having to register it. However, not doing so will leave you vulnerable to property disputes and prevent you from selling it later on as you will not be registered as the lawful property owner of the house.

According to section 17 of the Property Registration Act of 1908, a person will not be able to claim any legal right over a property unless it has been duly registered in their name. Registering the property is one of the most important things first-time home buyers need to know before investing since it may lead to legal hassles later on. As registering property can be expensive, many owners tend to put this off until later, claiming that they don’t have the required funds at present. But this will be a mistake in the long run because the amount payable as registration fees is calculated based on the current value of the property. By delaying the property registration process, you might have to pay a lot more later as the property appreciates. Getting your property registered in your name will also protect you from property disputes and allow you to sell it later on.

Property Registration Procedure

Registering your property is a very straightforward procedure as long as you do your research and have the required documents in place. Here are all the steps involved in the house registration process.

  1. Calculate Amount Payable as Stamp Duty

Stamp duty is a form of tax that is levied by the state government and is one of the most important elements of the property registration process. As the rate of stamp duty is decided by the state governments, it can vary between different states. It is either calculated as the current circle rate as specified by the state authorities or as a percentage of the total property value of the house, whichever of the two is higher. Typically the stamp duty in urban areas are higher than the stamp duty in rural parts of the state. Additionally, stamp duty for women is lower in an effort to encourage more women to become property owners.

2. Prepare the Sales Deed

A sales deed is one of the most important documents in the registration process. A legally valid sales deed needs to be typed on stamp paper which can purchased through a vendor or on an e-stamp paper which can be downloaded online. As it is a legal document, you will need to get a good lawyer to draft it on your behalf. Once the deed has been drafted and signed, the submission of documents to the sub-registrar should not exceed four months from this date of execution.

3.Collect Required Documents

When you meet your sub-registrar to register your property, there are certain documents they will need to check first. Having these documents ready can help the process go quickly and smoothly.

  • Government-approved ID and address proof
  • No Objection Certificate (NOC) for the property
  • Passport size photographs of the owner of the property and of two witnesses
  • Latest receipt for tax payment
  • Latest account statement from bank if still paying home loan on the property
  • Building plan that has been sanctioned by the concerned authorities
  • Title deeds of land owner
  • Cash or demand draft to pay stamp duty

You should also double check the documents with your lawyer to see if they are valid and if you need any additional documents as well. As legitimate property-related documents provided by your builder are very important to register your property.

4.Make an Appointment With the Sub-Registrar

Registration of property can only be done in the presence of the sub-registrar within which the jurisdiction of the property in question falls under. The property owner who has signed the sales deed documents needs to be present along with two witnesses.

5. Payment of Registration Fees

After the sub-registrar checks the documents and stamp duty paid for validity, you will be asked to pay the registration fees. If you have booked an appointment within four months of signing the sales deed, then the registration fee is 1.5% of the total value of the property . If you have exceeded four months, you can petition the sub-registrar to still consider your case, however, you will be asked to pay a hefty fine. Sometimes, this fan can even be 10 times more than the original registration fee.

6. Collecting Registered Documents

Once the sub-registrar approves the documents, they will give you back the registered original documents. They will keep a copy of the originals to maintain property ownership records. The registered documents will have the book and page number where the registration of property details are recorded.

A home is an investment of a lifetime, therefore, you need to protect your asset from fraud and disputes. Once you have registered your house under your name, no one can dispute your legal claim over it or prevent you from selling the property later. This is why first time homebuyers should ensure that the registration of property is completed as soon as they have received the handover.


Property Dispute and Family Settlement

Wars over wealth take place across every stratum from low-income households to ultra-rich families, hence making property disputes a common occurrence in India. Property disputes are a common occurrence in India. The obvious solution for most is to drag the matter to courts instead of settling down. However, most people don’t realize that apart from being a tedious and expensive process, courts in no way guarantee a satisfactory resolution. It is, therefore, advisable to opt for a family settlement. Here are some points that will make you understand the concept of settlement better.


In a nutshell, a family settlement is an agreement where family members mutually work out how a property should get distributed among themselves. All the parties should be related to each other and have a claim to a share of the disputed property. The latter need not be limited to real estate, but can also cover movable assets like jewellery or money in bank accounts. A family settlement is usually used to settle common property or joint property that the family owns as opposed to individual or self-acquired property.


A family settlement is an agreement between family members, generally made to avoid any court disputes and divide the family property with mutual understanding. A family settlement agreement is made in the same format of a partition deed. Moreover, a family settlement agreement does not require registration and stamping.

A family settlement agreement must be signed by all the members of the family voluntarily, without any fraud, coercion or pressure from any family member. In addition to this, it is not necessary that the family settlement agreement is drafted in a written document and can be executed either by a compromise or by a mutual understanding between the family members.


  • For those who wish to avoid protracted, public and messy court battles
  • Quicker, more harmonious way to resolve disputes.


A family settlement is a conciliation process where a third person, usually a lawyer or a senior family member, helps the family arrive at a mutually acceptable solution to the property dispute.

A family settlement may not be a single legal document incorporating the distribution of the property; it can also be a series of documents spelling out the property rights of each of the family members.

A settlement instrument is neither a gift nor a transfer of property as per the provisions of the Income Tax Act. Therefore, separate transfer of property documents will have to be drawn up in addition to the said family agreement in order to bring about an actual transfer. The tax fact must be taken into consideration while a transfer of property is decided.


Now, before a case is filed in court for partition of property, a legal notice has to be sent to the other co-owners of the property regarding family property partition/ settlement. The legal notice for partition suit must state the shares of each co-owner, complete details of the property in dispute and the requisite action required to be taken. If the co-owners do not reply to the legal notice or send an insufficient reply, a partition suit can be filed in the court.

A partition suit is a court case filed when none of the co-owners agrees to the terms and conditions of property division, and one or more co-owners want to divide the property according to their shares. A suit for partition is filed in the court which has jurisdiction over the area in which the property is located.

The court first determines whether the person who has filed the partition suit has a rightful claim in the property or not. One the share is established and no additional inquiry is needed, the court may assign individual ownership of the property to the co-owners.

If the property cannot be distributed merely on the partition suit, the court may order for an inquiry to be conducted and pass a preliminary or initial decision for appointment of a Commissioner who will then evaluate the property and submits a report. The court then determines the share of each co-owner on the basis of the said report and divide the property according to each co-owner’s share.


Self-acquired property settlement can’t be executed during the lifetime of a person who had acquired it, but at the same time, the self-acquired property automatically becomes a part of the ancestral property on the death of such person. However, the person can assign the self-acquired property through his/ her will to any person he desires.


Merely reaching a consensus is not enough; there are a few legal formalities that must be completed to ensure that the agreement is valid.

  • The settlement document must be signed by all the family members involved. A missing signature can easily become ground for challenging the document in court at a later date.
  • As a safety measure, the document should be attested by two witnesses, though it is not mandatory.


The next step is to register the agreement. According to Section- 17 of the Indian Registration Act, a family settlement that purports to assign immovable property must be mandatorily registered or the deed would be invalid. A stamp duty is applicable to such deeds and the amount would depend on the value of the property involved.


While a duly executed family settlement cannot be revoked, except by a court decree, it can be challenged in a court of law under the following circumstances.

  • An agreement that is brought about by fraud or coercion
  • Any misrepresentation of facts regarding the title of the disputed property, too, can lead to future altercations.
  • Improper execution.

Paying heed to these common tripwires while drawing out an agreement will result in a foolproof, amicable and binding family settlement, which benefits everybody.


Sons and Daughters Rights in Father’s Property

Children as a coparcener have certain rights over their father’s property including right in ancestral property by birth; a right to survivorship (if one coparcener dies the property gets divided among the rest) and so on. The children have a right to take or sell their share of the property to anyone they want.

Can a father gift a property to his son?

In a recent case, the Supreme Court held that a property that was gifted by a father to his son could not be counted as an ancestral property simply because he got it from his father. The court stated that the property of the grandfather can be held as the father’s ancestral property.

There are only two conditions under which the father would get the property, one being that he inherits the property after his father dies or in case the fathers’ father had made a partition during his lifetime. However, when the father obtains the grandfather’s property by way of gift, it is not considered an ancestral property. Sons and daughters don’t have any claim on the said property gifted by the grandfather.

A gift from the father to his son is not a part of the ancestral property as the son does not inherit the property on the death of the grandfather or receive it by partition made by the grandfather during his lifetime. The grandson has no legal right on such a property because his grandfather chose to bestow a favor on his father which he could have bestowed on any other person as well.

Thus, the interest which he takes in such a property must depend upon the will of the grantor and therefore, when the son has got the property from his father as a gift, his son or daughter cannot claim any part in it calling it an ancestral property. He can alienate the gifted property to anyone he likes and in any way he likes. Such a property is treated as a self-acquired property, provided there is no expressed intention in the deed of the gift by the grandfather while gifting the property to his son.

Sons and daughters only have their rights in ancestral properties that have devolved upon their father.


Buying Property through General Power of Attorney – GPA

A legal document giving one person (called an “agent” or “attorney-in-fact”) the power to act for another person (the principal) is called a Power of Attorney. The agent can have broad legal authority or limited authority to make legal decisions about the principal’s property and finance. The power of attorney is frequently used in the event of a principal’s illness or disability, or when the principal can’t be present to sign necessary legal documents for financial transactions.

“When someone transfers any immovable property through GPA, it does not convey any rights or title or create any interest in respect of such immovable property in favor of such person as only a deed of conveyance/sale deed which is duly stamped under the provisions of the Stamp Act applicable to the state in which such property is situated, as well as registered under the provisions of the Registration Act, does so”, this was stated by the Honorable Court in one of their ruling.

Validity and Scope of General Power of Attorney

In cases where a sale deed cannot be carried out due to various issues for buyers and sellers, a power of attorney can be put to great use.

A GPA is defined as “a mere agency whereby the grantor authorizes the grantee to do certain acts specified therein; this he does on behalf of grantor, which when executed will be binding on the grantor as if done by him”.

GPA is Not Irrevocable

Immovable property can legally and lawfully be transferred or conveyed only by a registered deed of conveyance and not through GPA. By the means of a registered sale deed the ownership transfers directly to the purchaser. In case of a General Power of Attorney, if principal dies then automatically the general power of attorney ceases and ownership goes to the legal heirs of the principal. The law is that even if the parties have determined that the GPA is irrevocable it won’t have the effect of transferring title to the grantee.


Women’s Right to Inherit Property

Inheritable property in India was initially granted only to the son in a Hindu family. With the recent amendments, the right to inherit property has now been granted to the women as well. However, according to a rule passed by the Supreme Court, a woman cannot claim right in the inheritable property that was left behind by her father before 2005. This means that if the father had passed away before 2005, the daughter cannot claim an equal share in the inheritable property.

Are there any specific rules that apply only to properties left behind by women?

A property left behind by a woman should be divided equally among her children and her husband. If a child had already passed away, then that child’s share would be divided between his children. If there is no spouse, child or grandchild alive then the property would be divided between her parents. If her parents have also passed away then the property would be divided between the heirs of her parents.

Widow’s right in her husband’s property

Section 10 in The Hindu Succession Act, 1956 talks about the distribution of the property in situation where a husband dies intestate and says that distribution of property shall take place among the heirs in class I of the Schedule wherein the Rule 1 specifically states that the intestate’s widow, or if there are more widows than one, all the widows together shall take one share.

For instance, if a husband dies intestate and is survived by two widows and a son, heirs in Class I shall take the property simultaneously and to the exclusion of all others. Here according to the provisions of Rule 1 of section 10, both the widows of the husband shall take one-half share in the property of the husband and the other half shall go to his son.

In situations where a husband dies intestate leaving two widows and no sons, both of them shall inherit the property equally, i.e. both of them shall be entitled to one-half share, there being no other Class I heir.

A remarried widow can keep the share of her dead husband’s property. In 2008, the Supreme Court of India decided that a widow who remarries cannot be deprived of a share in her dead husband’s property as according to it the widow becomes an absolute owner of the deceased husband’s riches to the extent that her share under the provisions of the Hindu Succession Act 1956 would prevail over the earlier Hindu Widow’s Remarriage Act 1856.

The Supreme Court of India did not concur with the provisions of the Hindu Widow’s Remarriage Act 1856 which says that all rights and interests which any widow may have in her deceased husband’s property by way of maintenance, or by inheritance, shall cease upon her re-marriage and set it aside.

The Supreme Court, in its decision, observed that the Hindu Succession amendment Act has brought about a huge change in Shastric Hindu law and made Hindu widows eligible and equal in the matter of inheritance and succession along with male heirs.

The Apex court held that section 4 of Hindu Marriage Act would have overriding effect over the text of any Hindu law including the Hindu Widow’s Remarriage Act.


Important considerations in a Lease and Rental Agreement

Everybody once in their life time will come across a lease and rental agreement either to negotiate or sign it for personal or business use. There are certain comprehensive conditions that are involved in negotiating and understanding legal agreements dealing with leasing, renting or leave arrangements for residential and commercial properties.

What is a Lease and Rental Agreement?

A rental agreement provides for tenancy of a short duration that is automatically renewed at the end of the period unless the tenant or landlord ends it by giving written notice. For these month-to-month rentals, the landlord can change the terms of the agreement with proper written notice. 

A lease agreement, on the other hand, gives an occupant the right to occupy a rental unit for a set period of time – most often for six months or a year but sometimes longer — as long as the tenant pays the rent and complies with other lease provisions. The landlord cannot raise the rent or change other terms of the tenancy during the lease, unless the tenant agrees.

When a lease expires it does not usually automatically renew itself. A tenant who stays on with the landlord’s consent after a lease ends becomes a month-to-month tenant, subject to the rental terms that were in the lease.

Important points to ensure an effective lease agreement

  • The rent amount should be decided beforehand only and the amount that the occupant will pay for the leased or rented property must be clearly established. It should also contain about the quantum of increase in rent due to changing environment.
  • The payment date must be decided in advance for any delay in the payment can be fined.
  • The duration of the lease and it must be clearly stated in the agreement to prevent future conflicts between the tenant and the owner.
  • The agreement should mention about the maintenance costs of the leased or rented property to and who will be the bearer of the same in order to prevent any confusion in the future.
  • The agreement must also contain important information of the parties i.e. the lessee and the lessor like name, address, etc.
  • It should be clearly stated as who is to bear the water bills, electricity bills and other such expenses.
  • Clearly specify as to how and in what circumstances the agreement can be terminated. Whether it would be fault based and no-fault termination or both. Fault based termination rights are triggered when one party breaches any terms and conditions of the agreement. No fault termination is when the parties can terminate the agreement without citing any reason.
  • The agreement should contain a wear and tear clause stating that the occupant will return the property in the condition in which he received it, subject to normal wear and tear, as long as the same was not caused by any direct act or negligence.
  • It should also mention about the security deposit and what would be its amount plus when will it be refunded to the tenant on repossession of the property by the landlord. The agreement should clearly state whether this deposit is interest free.

Laws related to co-ownership of a joint property

What does Co-ownership of property mean?

Co-ownership or joint ownership means when two or more persons hold title to the same property.

What are the types of co-ownership?

Tenants in Common: When two or more people buy a property but do not specifically mention the share that each has in the property, a ‘tenancy-in-common’ is said to exist. All the co-owners can use the entire property and every co-owner is deemed to be having an equal share in the property.

Joint tenancy: Joint tenancy is a form of co-ownership where the property is owned by two or more persons at the same time in equal shares. This type of tenancy provides rights to ownership of the property for the co-owners who outlive other co-owners.

Tenancy by entirety: This is a special form of joint tenancy when the joint tenants are namely the husband and wife — with each owning one-half.

What are laws related to transfer of property by a co-owner?

Section 44 of the Transfer of Property Act 1882 deals with transfer by a co-owner and it also deals with the rights of a transferee in this type of a transaction.

According to this Act, every joint or co-owner has a proprietary right on the entire property. Hence, any sale has to be done with the consent of all co-owners involved. If, however, there are specific conditions in the agreement that gives co-owners exclusive rights to certain parts/portions of the property, a co-owner can sell his portion to whom he chooses.

What are the rights of a co-owner?

A co-owner is entitled to three essentials of ownership:

  • Right to possession
  • Right to use
  • Right to dispose of his share of the property if it is clearly stated, in the deed.

Why is co-ownership better?

If you are a married couple, co-owning a house it with your spouse has many benefits. Both can get tax benefits. In case of a joint ownership, the husband, as well as the wife individually, will be able to claim deductions under Section 24 of the Income Tax Act. Deduction available for each individual is 1.5 lakh for principal u/s 80C and 2 lakhs for interest component u/s 24(B).


Can grandson claim rights in grandfather’s property?

A grandson’s rights in his grandfather’s property depends on the nature of the property whether the property is an ancestral property or it is a Self – acquired property.

What is an ancestral property?

A property which is inherited by a Hindu from his father, father’s father or father’s fathers’ father, is ancestral property. The right to a share in such a property accrues by birth itself, unlike other forms of inheritance, where inheritance opens only on the death of the owner.

Rights in the ancestral property are determined on the basis of per-stirpes and not per-capita. So, the share of each generation is first determined and successive generations, in turn, sub-divide what has been inherited by their respective predecessors.

If the property is an ancestral property, the grandchild has equal share in the same. He can file a civil suit for declaration and partition along-with petition for interim relief. Rights protected by law cannot be denied.

What is the right of the grandchild in the Self- acquired property of the Grandfather?

A grandchild does not have any birth right in the self- acquired property of his grandfather if it has been allotted to his father in a family partition in his capacity as legal heir and not as a coparcener under the Hindu Succession Act 1956. The grandfather can transfer the property to whoever he desires.

If the Grandfather dies without leaving any will, then only his immediate legal heirs i.e. his wife, son(s) and daughter(s) will have right to inherit the property left behind by him.

As the properties inherited by the wife, son(s) and daughter(s) of the deceased would be treated as a personal property of those who inherit the same, no one else has any right to claim any share in the same property.

In case any son or daughter of the grandfather dies before his death, then the legal heir of the predeceased son or daughter will get the share which the predeceased son or daughter would have got.

The grandchild of the grandfather shall be entitled to get a share of his/her predeceased father only but if the father is alive then she/he is not entitled to any share.


Property Partition issue between brothers after father’s death

Inheritance in India is governed by two process – 1. By Will 2. Personal laws

Inheritance under a Will

A will or testament is a legal declaration expressing the wishes of a person, containing the names of one or more persons who are to manage his estate and provide for the transfer of his property at death.
If a father (testator) leaves behind a Will, the property will be distributed among the brothers according to it. An executor is appointed by the testator, as distinguished from an administrator who is appointed by the court.

Inheritance according to personal law

Inheritance in India and the manner in which property of a deceased person is to be distributed is determined by the law of Succession, in the event where there is no will or equivalent document declaring the deceased person’s intent.

Under Hindu law

Section 8 and 9 of the Hindu Succession Act, 1956 governs the distribution of the property after the death of the Hindu male. The property of a Hindu dying intestate devolves upon his heirs of Class I who take the property to the exclusion of all other heirs. And if there are no Class 1 then to Class 2 Heirs.

For example, if the father dies leaving behind his wife and four sons, then each will inherit equal shares of his property, i.e. each will get 1/5th of the father’s property.

Under Muslim Law

There is no concept of ancestral property or rights by birth in Muslim law. Islam recognises that persons may leave behind a will, but a will (unless ratified by all the heirs of the person leaving behind the will) is valid only to the extent of one-third of the deceased’s property. Insofar as it is valid, it is governed by the regular laws applicable to wills in India.

  • -A Muslim wife cannot be dispossessed.
  • -Even though she has to share with other wives if there is more than one wife.
  • -The widow gets a definite share.
  • -Mohammedan Law gives the male heirs, the sons, twice the share of the daughters

Legal Process of distribution

Before making a claim to any property left by the deceased, it should be made sure that there are no debts outstanding. All the heirs would have to first agree to chalk out a strategy to clear the debt.

In case, the property is to be distributed among brothers according to the Will left by their father, it is important to make sure there are no ambiguity in the Will and legal advice must be sought while arriving at any kind of settlement. Lack of clarity in the will can lead to serious legal complications at a later stage, which can be avoided by working in the right direction in the beginning itself.

If there is no Will, then a property can be distributed by way of partition deed or family settlement.

Suit of Partition – A suit of partition can be filed by any or all brothers w.r.t property. A partition deed for a property is executed among different people, usually family members.

Family Settlement procedure – A family settlement is an agreement where family members mutually work out how a property should get distributed among themselves. All the parties should be related to each other and have a claim to a share of the disputed property.

Family settlement is a conciliation process where a third person, usually a lawyer or a senior family member, helps the family arrive at a mutually acceptable solution to the property dispute.


How to apply for completion certificate and occupancy certificate

What is a completion certificate?

A completion certificate signifies that a building has been constructed according to the prescribed rules, and the concerned authorities have cleared the project. When any construction of project starts, the builders obtain no – objection certificate from the authorities concerned for the supply of essential utilities like water and electricity.

When a construction is nearing completion, the authorities inspect the site. If satisfied, a completion certificate is issued, which will ensure supply of essential utilities.

What is an occupancy certificate?

Occupancy certificate authorises customers to stay in the property. It is issued by the metropolitan authorities after all other related supporting documents, stating that requirements such as building standards, fire and elevator safety norms, drainage and so on, are in place.

 What is the importance of completion certificate?

  • Completion certificate stands as a proof to the builder’s adherence with National Building code of India, 2005.
  • This certificate is necessary for obtaining basic necessities like water, electricity and others.
  • It is after receiving a certificate, the water rate gets converted to domestic from non – domestic one, in case of residential buildings.
  • The building will be assessed for property tax with effect from date of completion of the building.
  • The completion certificate will facilitate payment of final instalment of the housing loan to start repayment of the same.

 What is the importance of occupancy certificate?

If a building does not have an OC, it means that the building may not comply with the mandatory regulations and may not have been built as per the sanctioned plan. Such buildings are not considered to be ready for inhabitation and can be considered as an unauthorized structure that has to be demolished.

According to Indian law, it is illegal to occupy a building with an OC due to the following reasons.

  • The building may be technically unsafe for occupation because of quality of construction, electrical and fire safety, safety of stairs and lift, etc.
  • The building may not adhere to the approved plan and may have unauthorized extensions, walls and floors.
  • In case of any mishap/accident, occupants of the building cannot hold anyone liable and they may not be eligible for insurance claims.
  • The connection for utilities such as water, electricity, and drainage can be discontinued anytime and the building may be demolished.

How to obtain a completion certificate?

A completion certificate can be obtained from Chief zonal officer of the municipal corporation/development authority of your city. You and your architect need to submit proper completion certificate application along with following documents

  • Copy of sale deed/lease deed
  • Copy of approved building plan and permission letter
  • Receipt of property tax paid up to date, if any
  • Receipt of water tax paid
  • Receipt of underground drainage connection charges
  • Receipt of electricity cable & road cutting charges paid
  • Receipt of bore well permission fee paid, if any
  • Affidavit on Rs 10/- Non-judicial stamp paper to be attested by Notary Public/Metropolitan magistrate declaring ownership of the building, details of the architect/engineer engaged for construction and completion of construction as per bye-laws
  • Other documents as demanded/ required by the concerned authorities

How to obtain occupancy certificate?

After the construction of a building is completed, the builder or the buyer has to submit an OC application form to the concerned municipal or local development authority. The application form for obtaining OC should be submitted within 30 days of completing the construction.
Along with the application, the following documents should be submitted for processing the application:

  • Commencement certificate
  • Completion certificate
  • Built plan along with elevation, site, and section plan
  • No objection certificate from fire force
  • Area calculation sheet of floor signed by an architect
  • Tax assessment with tax paid receipt
  • Photographs of completed building
  • Photographs of rainwater harvesting and solar panels
  • Copy of the sanctioned plan

The authorities will then conduct a physical inspection of the building and will evaluate if the building is constructed according to the approved plan and then, issue the certificate.

If there are deviations up to 5% from the approved plan, a fine will be levied based on the extent of the deviation. The OC will be issued after the fee is paid.