Landlords Still Uncooperative, Twitterati Seeks A Way Out
By now, demonetisation would have made inroads into your daily life and if you happen to be a college student with exams around the corner, the 1st of every month could be a painful affair especially if you were not one of the lucky ones who had a chance to withdraw the weekly limit (Rs 24,000). There is no way to measure your agony if your rents are higher than the weekly limit. Why only college students, any instance where landlords insist on cash payments for rent has gone down heavily among tenants making demonetisation unpopular.
Radhika Bhatnagar, a first year B.Com (Hons) student from a popular South Campus college who lives in a women's hostel in Sector 13, RK Puram, says, “Because I couldn't withdraw the rent amount in one go, I have been spending close to 3-4 hours per day to withdraw Rs 2,000. Since, my rent is Rs 11,000 per month, I will have to come for almost 6 days. I am trying to buy daily provisions online but that again comes with delivery charges. However, I also need cash in hand because when I take an auto to college, I cannot pay the driver if I don't have ready cash.” The hostel or PG accommodation houses around 55 girls (if not more) most of who pay nothing less than Rs 10,000 per month. Apart from a handful of these girls, the majority pay their rent in cash. We can safely assume that the landlord is making at least Rs 5 lakh per month and there is no account of this. Rent receipts that are usually required to claim your HRA's are also not provided making it worse for working professionals.
Meanwhile, tweeps on Twitter are leaving no stone unturned to voice this concern to the related ministries.
Elsewhere, rent in cash has been replaced by apps and modern-day money transfer channels that make for a clean transaction. For example, California based electronic cash transfer company called PayNearMe enables customers (and tenants) to deposit money in cash at the local retailers which gets credited to the landlord's bank account. This way even when the tenant does not have a bank account, the channel used makes it easy to trace money. While it is free for landlords, tenants who do not use banks or have no bank accounts too are routed through this channel.
You would be surprised to know at the number of similar channels back home -- RENTPAYMENT, The Landlord App, My Tenant, My Landlord, ClearNow, eRentPayment, PayClix, PayLease, PayYourRent, RAMSRent, Rentalutions, Rentific and the list goes on!
Paytm too simplifies the rent payment method in India but looks like when it comes to online transfers, not many want it to be accounted.
As per the Ontario Landlord and Tenant Board, it imposes the proof of payment on the tenant. If receipts for the payment, a cancelled cheque, money order, a direct deposit slip or in the absence of any such proof of payment, it could very difficult to establish that the tenant has paid the rent. Also, the tenants are made aware that the landlord cannot insist on rent in cash.
In California, your landlord can't require you to pay in cash—at least not at first. Landlords can require cash for at least a few months if there has been a case of bounced cheque.
Not long back, Sudha Chandran Iyer, a single working professional living as a PG in Bengaluru's Domlur area was used to paying rent in cash. The amount was Rs 9,500 per month but the warden would make receipts for Rs 2,000 only. This is yet another case of unaccounted money. In such cases, the tenant may also be questioned as to why he/she agreed to take faulty receipts.
While we await stringent laws to keep a check on uncooperative landlords, the question is how long should we wait.