Are You Over-Screening Your Tenants?
When a landlord looks for a tenant, the preference is to the one that has a good character, pays rent on time and doesn’t damage their property. So, if you are also a landlord planning to rent out your property, you may relate to similar situations and expectations.
Being a landlord you may have your own set of expectations, but the law in India says it is mandatory for a tenant to undergo police verification. The process of verification is simple. The landlord has to file for a police verification with particulars of the tenant and submit it to the nearest local police station. The police use this information for a background check of the tenant which includes any criminal record. There are many privately-run companies in India that offer tenant verification services at nominal charges including his identity verification, background check, and reference check. You can also avail these services if you want to double check the verification of the prospective tenant.
The police in different states have made varied efforts to make tenant verification a practice. In fact in Delhi, to make this process even more smooth and transparent, a new app was launched to perform tenant verification. With the help of this app, a police constable can instantly know about any criminal records after uploading the tenant’s information.
Though you may be acting as a responsible citizen, who adheres to law and order, asking plenty of questions to be sure. But, over-questioning or over-screening your tenant could be unfavourable for you or your property.
Limit yourself and ask several questions to the prospective tenant regarding his background, workplace, family members or even ask for reference of previous landlords. But, asking too many personal questions like those on his lifestyle may turn unfavourable for your tenancy deal. For instance, when you interfere too much, the tenant after leaving your home will not give a positive review either about you or your property. If your property remains vacant for long, it then becomes difficult to put it on rent again and at a good rent amount. With the coming of social media platforms, tenants use renting-based groups and pages or listicles to hunt for rental property. They also use these platforms to review the property and the landlord. So, one bad review could move around to a large number of viewers thus calling for a negative perception for you and your property.
To make it easy, one could refer to the dos and don’ts mentioned in the Draft Model Tenancy Act, 2015, formulated last year by the central government. One of the clauses of the act prohibits you from entering the tenant's premises unannounced. To know more about the Draft Model Tenancy Act, 2015, read here
Verifying your tenant is important but make sure you do not over-scrutinise and do not interfere with their day-to-day activities.
With inputs from Shweta Talwar.