Basic rights that tenants and landlords need to be aware of

October 2018


When it comes to rental accommodations, there are some basic rules and rights that tenants, as well as landlords should be aware of, to avoid friction. Here's a look at some simple, yet, commonly overlooked aspects

People who live in rental accommodations, often face disputes on minor things with their landlord. It is, therefore, essential to know what your rights as a tenant are, as well as the rights of the landlord. Both parties must respect these rights, to live in harmony.

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Basic things that the landlord must provide with the property

According to Nishit Dhruva, managing partner, MDP & Partners, “The most basic requirements that a landlord (licensor) ought to provide to the tenant (licensee) under the common Leave and License Agreements include:

  • - Accurate details of the licensed premises, such as the size of the premises, availability of car parking area, etc.
  • - Willingness and cooperation to get the leave and license agreement duly stamped and registered, at the sub-registrars office.
  • - Uninterrupted use and occupation of the licensed premises.
  • - Safety and privacy to the licensee, to use and enjoy the licensed premises.
  • - Clear right, title and interest, to provide the licensee with the license to use and enjoy the licensed premises.

Tenants should inspect the apartment for defects and make a note of them, by taking a photo to share with the landlord. They should ensure that the plumbing systems (including the water pressure), electricals fixtures and other provisions in the apartment are in a usable condition. Some tenants also request that the landlord repaint the walls, before they move into the apartment.

When should the deposit be handed over to the landlord?

“The deposit is usually an advance given by the tenant to the landlord as a security, while moving into the rented apartment. The purpose of the deposit is to protect the landlord, in case of any damages or alternatively, in the event of any non-payment by the tenant. The payment period for the deposit is usually stipulated in the agreement with the landlord. The deposit is typically inclusive of administrative fees. Any grounds for deduction from the deposited, should be specified in the agreement. The deposit is returned to the tenant after the completion of the tenancy period, assuming that there are no deductions applicable,” explains Shubika Bilkha, business head at REMI.

Who bears the cost of repairs in a rental home?

Experts believe that ideally the licensor should bear all costs arising out of wear and tear and structural damage caused to the licensed premises, on account of the monthly license fees enjoyed by them. However, most of the parties come to an understanding, whereby, the licensor bears the costs of all long-term structural damage, while regular wear and tear is borne by the licensee.

Under what condition can a landlord ask the renter to leave the property?

A landlord can ask the tenant to vacate under two conditions:

  • - Eviction with a cause and
  • - Eviction without a cause

Dhruva elaborates: “Landlords can allow the tenant the pre-decided notice period, to look for alternate accommodation, in case of eviction without cause. In most situations, the following causes can be a reason for eviction:

  • - Consistent delay in the payments received from the tenant.
  • - Violation of a term or a condition specified in the agreement.
  • - Illegal activities on the leased property.
  • - Serious damage to the rental property.”

Increase in rental

Increase of rent is entirely up to the understanding arrived at between the licensor and the licensee. Strictly as per the law, there is no cap on such increase and the licensee must negotiate and settle on fair terms, in respect of the increase in rent.

Also read: A guide to renting out your property

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