Things To Check Before You Sign A Rent Agreement
A year ago, Nitin Sharma, 30, took up a house in Pune on a monthly of Rs 20,000 and gave Rs 60,000 as the deposit money. Six months later, his landlord wanted to increase the rent by Rs 2,000 as rentals had gone up in the area. “The landlord told me that the periodic increase was a norm keeping in view the rental market dynamics. Since nothing was mentioned in the rent agreement, I had to comply,” he says.
Sharma could have avoided this situation had he examined the rent agreement carefully. A majority of tenants are not even aware what should be included in the rent agreement.
Here are the questions you should ask yourself before you sign on the rent agreement:
Is the landlord the owner?
Before you sign on the dotted line, ensure that the person you are dealing with is the actual owner of the property. Many a time, NRIs (non-resident Indians) and investors hand over their properties to caretakers, who lease it to a third party without the knowledge of the owner. This is why you should verify the title documents, such as sale deed, besides obtaining an NOC from the housing society where you plan to lease the property. In case, the property is mortgaged, the original sale deed would be in the custody of the bank. In that scenario, you should take an NOC from the bank, too.
What does the rent agreement contain?
Apart from the terms and conditions under which the property is given on rent, a rent agreement specifies the rent value and the tenure for which the agreement is made, along with the security amount that needs to be deposited with the landlord. The agreement should also mention the day by which the rent is expected to be paid. If the tenant fails to pay the rent before the predetermined period, the fine should also be defined. Additional monthly charges, which includes the society maintenance charges and club fees, should be clearly spelt out and who has to bear its cost has to be specified. The agreement should also specify the notice period and the penalty for cancelling the agreement without completing the specified period.
The tenure of a rent agreement is usually 11 months, unless otherwise specified in the contract. If it's for more than a year, it's mandatory for the owner to get the document registered.
What should you look out for?
It's important for the tenant to verify whether the owner has included a rent escalation clause in the lease agreement or not. As it is the best tool employed by the landlord to randomly increase the rent, the best way is to ensure that the agreement specifies the dates on which the rent escalation will be applicable and the percentage of increase.
What about the future sale?
Make sure that the agreement has a clause on the sale of the house. Even if your landlord has no plans to sell his house, you should press upon him to add the clause stating how many months you will get to search for another accommodation in case he plans to sell the property.
Is everything functioning properly?
See that the appliances and connections are in working order. Any minor repair work is the headache of the tenant. However, if the property is damaged because of negligence on your part, the landlord can rightfully use the security money deposited with him for carrying out the necessary renovation. See the documents that prove all previous power, water and gas bills have been cleared.