LANDLADY’S INTERFERANCE

Publishes by The Daily Star on April 02, 2011 (Link Over)

This week Your Advocate is Barrister Omar Khan Joy, Advocate, Supreme Court of Bangladesh. He is the head of the chambers of a renowned law firm, namely, ‘Legal Counsel’, which has expertise mainly in commercial law, corporate law, family law, employment and labor law, land law, banking law, constitutional law, criminal law, IPR and in conducting litigations before courts of different hierarchies. Our civil and criminal law experts from reputed law chambers will provide the legal summary advice.

Query
I am a divorced woman live in Uttara with my son of 13 years old. The problem I face is regarding my land lady. She is very much interfering. She almost everyday come at my place and sneak into my room to see whether I am with any other person or not. She in several occasions said bad things to me about me being single. I can’t even leave this place because it is very convenient for me to stay here as my son’s school is nearby. Moreover, these days it is difficult to rent a flat for single women. Is there any permanent solution of it in a legal way?

Ms. A
Gulshan, Dhaka.

Response
I would like to thank you very much for your query. From the given facts, it appears that you are in an uncomfortable situation so far your landlady’s interference in concerned. From the legal point of view, the relationship between the landlord and tenant is primarily governed by the lease/rent agreement concluded between them. As the Lessee (i.e. the tenant), you have got exclusive possession over the leased premises. Accordingly, you are also entitled to disallow the landlady from entering the premises, nonetheless it is owned by her. Therefore, it is also very much obvious that the Landlady cannot enter into the premises whenever she likes and sneak into the rooms to observe what is going on inside unless there is anything contrary in the lease agreement allowing her to do so, which is very unlikely. The landlady has to seek your consent in case she wants to enter into the leased premises.

However, generally speaking in the context of Bangladesh, there may be some factors which are likely to be relevant in a situation like your’s. Usually there is a clause in Lease agreement (which may be express or implied) prohibiting illegal, immoral, unsocial and unreligious activities in the leased premises. It is very much obvious for your relatives, family members, and friends (including males) to visit and even stay in your house. But, considering the social context in which we live in, it is also very much likely for most of the people will interpret it negatively, if different males visit you and stay for a longer period. Thus, an inference may be drawn. Though may be incorrectly, that something immoral is going on in your flat! As you are already aware of the difficulty faced by a single woman to rent a flat nowadays and given the fact that those difficulties are mainly caused by wrong perceptions, we would like to advise you to share the matter with those who are your near ones and visit your house quite often. As warranted by the situation, you may maintain some control over the persons visiting your house. Besides, you should look for an amicable solution to the problem by sitting with your landlady and have the situation explained before her. You should try to make her clear that the bad things already whispered against you are baseless. If possible, you can introduce some of your friends, relatives and family members (visiting your premises) to her. This will be a practical solution to your problem. You must also keep in mind that your son is growing and you don’t also want him to know different rumors about you from some corners.

However, in case the dispute reaches a point of no return, you may have a scope to file a suit for defamation vis-à-vis bad things said by your landlady. In case, your landlady does not want a peaceful solution and goes for eviction, it may also be possible to file a suit before the rent controller.

We hope that the above opinion shall help you to take appropriate step towards a solution to your problem and lead a happy and prosperous life.

For detailed query contact: omar@legalcounselbd.com.