The law relating to letting of premises or giving it on license has evolved through different stages during the last hundred years. Previously, the relations between landlord and tenant were governed by The Indian Easements Act,1882. As the situation changed these provisions were found to be inadequate. The new situation created by the acute shortage of housing accommodation prompted the then lawmakers to rethink about the prevailing provisions. And thus the first enactment controlling the rent and housing accommodation came into force in 1918.
In 1939, the Bombay Rent Registration Act was enacted. In 1944, the Bombay Rents, Hotel Rates and Lodging House Rates(control) Act came into force. The Acts of 1939 and 1944 were repealed by S.50 of the Bombay Rents, Hotel and Lodging Rates Control Act, 1947, which was enacted in January 1948. Finally,Maharashtra Rent Control Act, 1999 came into force with the unification of three laws prevalent in different parts of Maharashtra. The present provisions regarding the leave and license agreement are governed by this 1999 Act though the Indian Easement Act’s S.52 defines the term license. The section 52 of the Indian Easements Act defines a license as: Where one person grants to another,or to a definite number of other persons, a right to do or continue to do, in or upon the immovable property of the granter, something which would,in the absence of such right,be unlawful and such right does not amount to an easement interest or an interest in the property, the right is called a license.
This definition makes it clear that when a document gives only a right to use the property in a particular way or under certain terms while it remains to possession and control of the owner thereof, it will be a license.
The provisions regarding the eviction of a licensee are in chapter 8, of the Maharashtra Rent Control Act, 1999.