In India, the governing law for the control of rent, protection of rights of landlords and the rights of tenants are governed by the Rent Control Act with each state having its own version of the act. The broad idea of the Rent Control Act is to settle the disputes between the landlord and the tenant.
For the tenants, it helps in spotting preferred rental accommodation. It ensures that tenants cannot be evicted from the premises, without sufficient cause.
It defines landlords’ responsibilities and obligations towards their tenants, in terms of the maintenance of the rented-out homes.
It also clearly defines the rights of landlords, with regards to tenants who do not fulfill their obligations of paying timely rent, or misuse the property in any manner.
Before you rent a property (either as an owner or as a tenant), you must look out for certain points that guarantee you a safe transaction. Some of these points are:
- A registered rental agreement is one of the most important parts of a landlord-tenant relationship. Rental or lease agreements should be framed with the aim of creating a mutually beneficial relationship and avoiding disputes between the tenant and the landlord. The owner gets to keep the original form and the tenants receive the duplicates. An oral agreement is not legally binding, and no one should ever settle for it. Rental Agreement is an integral part of the rental laws.
- A tenant has the right to a house that is fit to be lived in. Unsafe conditions, such as holes in the floor, plaster coming down from the ceiling, bad wiring, and the like are considered unfit. It is the landlord’s responsibility to see that the house meets the minimum standards of accommodation.
- Both parties—the tenants and the owners—are jointly responsible for the maintenance of the property, unless the agreement specifies different conditions.
- A landlord cannot refuse to provide essential utilities like water, electricity, sanitary services etc. and access to common facilities. This has been a fairly common grouse of tenants in the past.
- The tenant has the right to privacy. The landlord cannot walk into the house without prior permission or information unless there is a true emergency like a fire or a flood in the bathroom.
- Tenants may be asked to vacate the premises if they fail to pay their full rent for two consecutive months.
- If the tenant passes away, the right of tenancy for the remaining time period (according to the rental agreement) goes to his/her successor in the following order.
- The landlord can take a security deposit of up to three months’ rent. However, just like the rent charges, the rate of the security deposit is determined by the state laws. The landlord must return the security deposit to the tenant at the end of the agreement term.
With knowledge of these rights, a tenant can enjoy a perfect living at the house. It is worthwhile if some of the important rights of both landlord and the tenant are highlighted in the contract. A simple step like that can save from many complaints, law suits and harassment.