Tenant rights in India are pretty easy to understand, yet loads of people are not aware of them. Did you know it falls under your right to ask your landlord to paint the house and fix all pipelines before you commence living there? Yes, it is your lawful right to ask, and your landlord is bound to do so.
Like this, there are many more tenant rights that we aren’t aware of. Mostly the young generation gets pretty scared and baffled up before or while staying in a property. Why getting confused and scared when you can get to know all your lawful rights as a tenant before moving into a property? Let’s unveil your rights as a tenant!
Why Knowing Your Rights As A Tenant Is So Important?
It is possible that you move onto a new city for education or work. What will you do if you are made a fool by your landlord in a new city? It is extremely important to know the tenant rights in India, as well as the rights which your landlord possesses.
Moving to a new place is tricky, and one should pay attention while moving in. Also, one should pay attention while renting out a property.
There is the Rent Control Act by Govt. Of India which covers most of the urban areas & cities in India. It safeguards the tenants’ rights and controls the rents. Also, there are guidelines for the Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs.
Understanding your rights is extremely important. Be a smart and wise tenant of this generation!
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What Are The Top Tenants’ Rights That You Should Know?
There are plenty of tenant rights available in the book of the law. But here, we have picked the most important and useful ones to help you out in your tough times! May it happen that you get the best landlord/lady ever! But that will not be the case, mostly.
1. Written Agreement Is A Must!
Suppose you are searching for a place to stay, and an uncle says that you can stay at his place for a given amount. You agree. You move in. And soon, after taking money from you, he evicts you for the crime of trespassing. What will you do? What is the proof at the very first place that he agreed to you for a stay?
In the eye of the law, there is no oral agreement. If there’s an agreement between two parties, it has to be on a legal form, which also needs to mention all the clauses and terms. It has to be duly signed by both the parties; Tenant & the landlord/lady.
The landlord/lady gets to keep the original legal form, whereas the tenant gets to keep a copy of the same.
Until the time there’s no copy of the agreement has been provided to the tenant, the tenant is not obliged to pay any rent. Though it is advisable to pay the rent if the documentation is under process. But the fact is, a written agreement falls under tenant rights in India.
2. The Landlord Can Not Enter The House Before Prior Notice :
Nope, he can’t. Be it you are partying hard with your friends or staying with your family, the landlord/lady can not enter the house before a prior notice of a minimum of 24 hours.
And the notice must be in writing. Yes, maintaining the good relation, loads of the landlord enter the house under the tenancy, but it is not lawful.
Whether it is to repair the property, or just to check on the house, a landlord can not enter the property before prior notice, harming the privacy of the tenant.
There can not be any surprise checks by the landlord, so next time your landlord pays you’re a surprise visit, you have all the rights to ask him to stop. Also, all the visit has to be from 7 am to 8 pm. Not earlier, not before.
Tenant rights in India are pretty much pro Tenant.
3. Maintenance :
Who is liable for the maintenance? The landlord? The tenant? Both. Both parties are equally responsible for all the maintenance of the property. Of course, normal wear & tear is excluded.
If there is no other clause mentioned in the agreement form, then both parties need to bear the cost of maintenance 50-50.
As a tenant, you can not reconstruct a wall or decorate it which will be permanent. Anything temporary is okay. If you change anything permanently, you will be held liable as a tenant.
Also, as a landlord, you can not just reconstruct the wall either, just because you are the owner. You will require the written permission of the tenant to carry the workout. If they do not agree, you can not reconstruct within the tenancy period.
Also, if the maintenance cost rises above 50% of the actual rent, then the property is considered to be uninhabitable. The landlord must act upon it, and if he refuses to, then the tenant can move out of the place with 15-day prior notice. All the security deposit will be paid back.
Now, what is the tenant refuses to pay the amount for repairing? The landlord can rightfully deduct the money from the security deposit. What is the landlord refuses to pay money? Cut it from the rent! That too, lawfully.
4. Who Bears The Damage?
What happens when you commence living in the property? You are responsible for keeping it in the original condition when it was given to you. Or course the minimal wear and tears are excluded. No damage will be entertained by the landlord/lady.
If you damage any property in the house, you shall immediately inform the owner. It will be on you to repair the damaged property, not on the landlord.
5. The Essentials :
Every landlord is entitled to provide the minimum essentials of staying in a place. Which is water supply, electricity, sanitary needs, and communication links? These fall under the basic tenant rights in India.
These services are the lawful right of the tenant, and it can not be cut off, even if there are payments due from the tenant.
If you face such an issue, you must inform the local Rent Control Authority to act upon it.
The essential basic needs are basic tenant rights in India.
6. When You Can Be Evicted, Lawfully?
If you have dues for more than two months, you can be lawfully asked by the landlord to vacate the place. But that comes with proper notice. It does not happen overnight.
If you break any clause of the agreement, if you damage the property severely, if you misuse the property, you can be rightfully asked to vacate the place. If the tenant fails to do so within the given period of time, then the landlord can charge double rent as compensation.
What happens when a tenant dies within the term period? The tenancy goes to his successor: wife, husband, son, unmarried daughter, parents.
In case there’s no successor mentioned, and the tenant used to live alone, the tenancy period ends immediately.
7. How Much Rent You Should Pay?
The rent of a property is decided upon various factors. Firstly, it depends upon the locality and amenities. Better the locality, the higher the rent. Better the amenities, the higher the rent.
Also, it gets decided on the basis of the rent of similar properties in the same area. You need to agree upon the rent on the written agreement by signing it. Also, the rent is decided upon the total value of the building too.
Under the rent control act, you will be secured enough. Also, every two years, the landlord can increase the rent by 10%.
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8. How Much Security Deposit?
Tenant rights in India cover that the security deposit can not be more than the amount of three month’s rent. However, people charge security deposit equal to 11 month’s rent, too. But that is not pro-law.
The rate of the security deposit is determined by the state laws. Once the house is vacated, the landlord must pay back the security deposit without any interest to the tenant, within one month of vacating.
Also, the landlord can adjust any cost of damage from the deposit.
The security deposit must be repaid within one month, and if not repaid, then the tenant can take legal action against the landlord/lady.
These were all the important tenant rights in India which every tenant should know. But this was mostly from the point of view of the tenant. The picture should be cleared from every point of view, what about the landlord?
9. When Can A Landlord Evict?
A landlord can evict the tenant if he requires the place for his own usage. Yes, of course after serving a proper notice period. If any illegal activity is conducted in the place, the landlord can rightfully evict the tenant. The rent control act is applicable only when the tenancy is over 12 months. Below 12 months, there’s no rent control applicable.
A breach of any clause can get a tenant evicted by the landlord. Also, if the landlord finds out about any sub-tenancy without his due permission, he has all the right to evict the tenant.
10. What Is Temporary Possession?
A landlord can rightfully take the possession back if any repair work is needed to be conducted. Of course, the landlord needs to serve a notice period beforehand. After the renovation, the place will be offered back to the tenant.
11. To Advise Repair :
A landlord is entitled to the right to advise repair work in the house. Definitely the cost will be shared by both the parties, the landlord & the tenant. Unless something else is mentioned in the agreement.
A landlord is responsible to keep the property and good condition so that the tenants can live there properly.
12. Rent :
The landlord can lawfully increase the rent by 10% every two years. Suppose your rent in ₹15K in 2020, it can be increased to ₹16.5K by the year 2023. Bur mostly, rent control act safeguards the tenants here too. This comes under many regulations and the hike of the rent is uncommon in every two years.
These were the tenant rights in India which is mostly in favor of the tenants. But one should always obey the law and do all the needful things as the right citizen.
Don’t litter the apartment unnecessarily. Help others to keep your society clean. And, in case you face any problem, you already know the tenant rights in India!
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