Safeguarding the Tenant: Rental Agreements

Quite often, people do not sign rental agreements on leasing a flat. They agree with the landlord regarding the rent and the deposit amount and move into their homes, forgetting that an important procedure of the tenant-landlord relationship has not been fulfilled. A significant percentage of people that do sign agreements, fail to go over them properly.

This causes problems. The landlord may want to hike rent according to fluctuations of rentals in the area, or may demand the tenant to vacate the premises within a short amount of time. Without the presence of a legal rental agreement, the tenant has no option but to comply with the landlord’s wishes or move out.

Whomsoever settles with a landlord regarding a few basic principles should always enforce the right to a signed rental agreement. Below are a few crucial points to check while entering into a rental agreement.

The Crucial Points To Investigate

It is often the case that the actual owners of the flat employ an agent to look after their property. These are not brokers but ‘caretakers’ who work for the actual owner. This mostly occurs if the actual owner is abroad. The caretakers are known to lease the property to a party without the due consent of the owners. The owners being elsewhere, are not in a position to keep a constant check on the premises. In places such as Pune, flats have been put up for sale without their actual owner being any wiser about it, and in such an atmosphere it is best to safeguard one’s own interest and avoid legal hassles by taking the safer route instead of the easier one.

Verify the title documents of the property, such as the sale deed and the share certificate. Be sure to get a No-Objection Certificate (commonly called NOC) from the society where the property is located. In case the relevant property is under mortgage, then a bank or a financial institution will have custody of the title deeds. In such a case, the NOC needs to be taken from the relevant institution. The title deed clearly spells out the true owner of a property and if the person you’re transacting with is not willing to show you the papers, then look elsewhere, there are plenty of other flats for sale or rent in Pune or the city that you’re moving to. Shveta Jain, executive director of residential services at Cushman & Wakefield, says that tenants should be aware of arbitrary eviction if they deal with an unsolicited party. “A case of trespassing can be filed against such a tenant if he refuses to vacate within a given time frame. The tenant cannot challenge eviction in this case.”

Objects Of A Rental Agreement

The objects of a rental agreement are the terms and conditions under which the property is given on rent. The agreement states the rent amount, tenure of the lease and the security deposit made by the tenant to the landlord.

The agreement will also have mention of the date on which the rent is to be paid and the penalties to be paid by the tenant in case the rent is not paid by that day. Additional facilities given by the landlord, such as parking space or societal club memberships should also be mentioned along with the maintenance charges and other such sundry expenses that are required to be paid.

A general rental agreement in India has it’s tenure set at eleven months and this is primarily done so that the landlord can escape the Rent Control Act of each state. This is not illegal, but it would be ideal for the tenant to have an agreement that is in accordance with the Rent Control Acts. An agreement which has a tenure for more than twelve months needs to be registered.

Another very important aspect of the rental agreement is the notice period that needs to be served by either the landlord or the tenant in order to vacate the premises. Usually, this period is set at two months but a shorter period can negotiated upon between the two parties as desired.

Other aspects such as rent escalation clause and action to be taken upon sale of the flat should not be overlooked.

Bio:

Alana Jones is a real estate writer who has had experience with properties in the Indian Subcontinent for almost five years. Alana, coming from a legal background, specializes in safeguarding the interests of tenants and landlords from fraudulent and unfair acts such as premature eviction and unjustified rent escalation. Contact her for information regarding flats for sale in Pune and the key points of a rental agreement.

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