Property and land encroachment is the unlawful entering upon the property, other possessions, or the rights of another.
Trespass to land occurs when an individual undeviating intrudes on another’s property without any consent or settles upon the land.
How to protect your property from trespassing and encroachment?
• The prime rule to follow would be to have all the essential documents pertaining to the property in place to legally prove the rights of the owner. Documents such as revenue records, mutation, the title deeds, the copy of the Will which states that the property and land has come by way of a Will, water bills electricity bills, telephone bills, and the original purchase agreement or sale deed, etc. help in establishing the right of the property owner.
• In case, if the title deed is missing from your custody either because it is lost or untraceable, then one must quickly lodge a formal police complaint to the effect.
• Apart from this, the best thing is to issue a notice in at least two dominant local newspapers regarding the ownership rights of that property. Moreover, one should obtain the certified copies of all such records from the revenue offices or the concerned registering authority.
• Another major thing is to pay all outgoings and liabilities like municipality or panchayat or property tax to the authorities on time.
• One must be in touch with the neighbours so that they may be able to inform you if they notice any illegal activity. Moreover, one should also keep a check on the property, through friends, and relatives, so that the trespassers as well as encroachers know that the property is not a soft target.
Tips regarding the land encroachment in India
• If one has to give a PoA (Power of Attorney) to a friend or relative, then it must be well-defined whether it is Special PoA or General PoA.
• One can also fence and put up a board on the property.
• The legal help of a professional service provider who can assist with monitoring the property is also effective. They make occasional visits to the property, put up boards as well as fence the property on behalf of the land owner.
• A little concrete construction on the property that can be rented out to a tenant under the proper documentation is also an attractive option to keep encroachers and trespassers at bay.
• One must have legal tenancy agreements to protect one’s interest. Hiring a property lawyer is well worth it.
• Get your property renter registered with the local police station of your area or city, where such tenant registration is either compulsory or is voluntarily accepted.
• Always renew lease agreements on the current terms as may be on expiry of the contract or request vacation.
• Keep a monthly check into your bank account if the rental payments are coming through the bank. Checks may get bounced, and in case, if one does not notice it for a very long period of time that would make the tenant more secure and later on removal of such tenants will not be easy.
• Do not keep tenants at face value; have a precise inquiry before renting out your house or property.
A little care and caution can assist you to avoid such complications involving valuable property in India. Hence, it is always advisable that NRIs need to be careful to avoid land encroachment in India.