Rights and liabilities of buyer and seller

February 17, 2024
A statue of Lady Justice


The Transfer of Property Act (TPA) in India stands as a pivotal legal framework governing the transfer of property rights. Within this comprehensive legislation, Section 55 assumes particular significance, delineating the intricate web of rights and liabilities bestowed upon both buyers and sellers in property transactions.

Understanding Section 55 of TPA:

Section 55 of the Transfer of Property Act provides a detailed account of the rights and liabilities of buyers and sellers involved in property transactions. This crucial section serves as a guide, elucidating the legal obligations and entitlements that accompany the transfer of property.

Rights of the Buyer:

The buyer, often referred to as the transferee, enjoys a set of rights granted by Section 55. These include:

Right to Ownership and Possession: Section 55 explicitly affirms the right of the buyer to receive the property’s ownership and possession once the transfer is complete. This ensures that the buyer gains full control and legal entitlement to the property in question.

Right to Documents of Title: The buyer has the right to receive all documents of title related to the property. These documents serve as evidence of ownership and are vital for establishing and defending property rights.

Right to Sue for Specific Performance: In cases of breach of contract by the seller, the buyer has the right to sue for specific performance under Section 55. This legal remedy allows the buyer to compel the seller to fulfil their contractual obligations.

Liabilities of the Buyer:

Conversely, along with these rights, the buyer also assumes certain liabilities:

Liability to Pay Purchase Price: The primary liability of the buyer is the obligation to pay the agreed-upon purchase price. Section 55 underscores the buyer’s responsibility to fulfill this financial commitment as part of the property transfer.

Liability for Outgoings: Section 55 places the liability on the buyer for outgoings related to the property, such as property taxes and maintenance costs, from the date of transfer. This ensures that the buyer shoulders the ongoing financial responsibilities associated with the property.

Rights of the Seller:

The seller, or transferor, is not without rights in the transaction. Section 55 confers upon the seller:

Right to Lien: The seller retains the right to a lien on the property until the full purchase price is paid. This gives the seller a security interest in the property until the buyer fulfils their payment obligations.

Right to Damages for Breach: In the event of a breach of contract by the buyer, the seller has the right to claim damages. Section 55 recognizes the seller’s entitlement to compensation for any loss suffered due to the buyer’s non-compliance with the terms of the agreement.

Liabilities of the Seller:

Alongside these rights, the seller also assumes certain liabilities:

Liability for Delivery of Possession: The seller is obligated to deliver possession of the property to the buyer as per the terms of the agreement. Failure to do so may result in a breach of contract, leading to potential legal consequences.

Liability for Title: Section 55 imposes a significant liability on the seller regarding the title of the property. The seller is accountable for ensuring that the title is free from any encumbrances or defects that may affect the buyer’s enjoyment of the property.


In essence, Section 55 of the Transfer of Property Act encapsulates the intricate balance of rights and liabilities between buyers and sellers in property transactions. By delineating these legal parameters, the legislation contributes to the smooth and equitable transfer of property, fostering a framework where both parties can confidently engage in real estate transactions with a clear understanding of their respective roles and responsibilities.

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