Been A Tenant? You May Have Faced This
Have you ever lived on rent? If you have, you would surely have been familiar with the issues that keep cropping up. In her mid-20s, Chhavi Gulati's example is classic. “Almost every day, my landlady wants to know where I work and who I go out with. She even starts quizzing friends visiting me about their background, education and marital status. That is unacceptable.”
Sakshi Vasudeva, a research professional with TAC Economics in Chennai, says, “I do not understand the basis of rent calculation. A 1BHK unit that I live in is for Rs 13,000 per month. Next door is a similar property and with the same set of amenities but my friend pays Rs 15,000 per month. Why!”
If that's not all, Beny Susan, an NGO worker, feels that she has had a bad time arguing with her landlord who wanted to charge her extra for using the car parking she is entitled to. “Such a deal was never agreed upon. The rent that I pay for his house should ideally be enough but just because he wants to utilise my parking area for his second car, he wants me to pay more.”
Ritu Kedia, a communications professional with Tally, says that the idea of living on rent in itself is a tough choice. “It is like paying to maintain someone else's house when one can easily use the same money as EMI's and live in an own house.”
Bachelors can be the worst target. Academic Saurabh Shekhar was quite new to a tenant's life but it didn't take him much time to understand the nuances. “No booze, no girls, no party after 9pm was the diktat from my landlord and he also keeps a check on all my friends who come and leave from my place. He has an aversion towards 'sisters',” he chuckles.
For 19-year-old Riddhima Bhatt, a final year student from a popular Delhi University college, life is vicious cycle of scrutiny. “My landlords have a very eerie approach. They want my parents to send them a fax each time I come late. I am part of many college groups and societies and there is a lot of work after classes. The curfew time at my place is 7pm and if I happen to reach ten minutes late, my parents have to send a fax. Of late, I have pestered them to agree on a call from my parents. I am just looking out for another house on rent but my mother feels this one is a secure place,” she sighs.
For 33-year-old, LukhamLu Bhutia, a KPO professional in Bengaluru, her landlady is the shrewdest businesswoman she has ever come across. “My sister would come to visit me from Chennai sometimes and my landlady made sure that she charges me Rs 500 for every single day that my sister lived with me. This was apart from the exorbitant rent that I was any way paying her. When I tried to argue with her, she said that my sister would have had to incur a higher cost if she had opted for a hotel or any other accommodation.”
Manisha Barjatya is a textile business owner and a single woman and her landlady has a problem with this. “Anything that you do differently doesn't go down well with people. I am a single woman by choice and find it quite amusing that my landlady who stays next door has to advise me on things I consider are very personal.” We asked Barjatya what is the latest advice that she got and she coyly replies, “Benefits of getting married”. We agree, that was uncalled for.
Sumbul Basheer, a technical writer with a leading company in Bengaluru, has faced something that is a blot on the face of a secular India. “We are used to the menace now. We dread looking for homes on rent because most people do not want to lease their homes to Muslims for whatever reason. We have been rejected even when we were willing to pay a little higher than the market standards. In one of the instances, when the landlord had agreed to give us the house and we were signing the documents, that is when he read my name on the paper and very curtly announced that he has changed his mind. It is shameful, but yes, prevalent.”
Vidhur Balakrishnan says that with his landlord staying abroad, he had a tough time 'proving' that the window needed repair, there was seepage on the walls and the plumber had to be called for immediate repairs. “We had to send videos and pictures to our landlord, else he wouldn't agree to pay for the repair. Even if he agreed to, he wouldn't pay the entire amount saying that it bothered us and therefore it should be borne by us.”
Nishant Kiriyan feels that right from the moment that the landlord has taken up a certain security deposit, he has made plans of not returning them to you, ever. “Every nail that I had drilled in was to cost me big bucks. My security deposit was Rs 60,000 and my landlord returned a meagre Rs 2,500 at the end on the pretext that I was late to pay him the rent every month and have dirtied his house too.”
The list seems never ending.