Why are Indian tenants a dissatisfied lot?

In terms of economics, renting a property may seem more logical, than buying one. However, in most Indian cities, the process of renting can be very tedious. We examine the major pain points that tenants face and the changes that they would like to see

When it comes to taking a property on rent in India, tenants often have to pass through a number of uncomfortable questions, ranging from food habits to personal lifestyle choices. Consequently, a majority of tenants lament that their experience has been disappointing, to say the least.

No less than eight out of 10 (82%) have experienced discrimination and/or harassment by the landlords. A vast majority of them (74%) have gone through so much of turmoil with the rent agreement clauses that they demand a standardised agreement format across the country, so that neither the landlord nor the tenant, can arm twist each other. 70% of tenants even suggest a standardised screening process, to cut the ambiguity around the process of getting a house on rent.

These are the findings of a pan-India survey by Track2Realty, a real estate think-tank group. Track2Realty conducted this survey in ten cities – Delhi, Noida, Gurgaon, Mumbai, Pune, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Chennai, Kolkata and Ahmedabad. The survey was aimed at understanding the choices and concerns of tenants, who were asked a set of open-ended and closed-ended questions about their experiences in the rental market.

 

Dispute redressal, between landlords and tenants

More than three-fourths of these tenants (76%) wished that there would be some legal guideline, to ensure there is no interference while staying in a rented house. 70% even suggest that a ‘Tenancy Tribunal’ be set up, like many other countries, to settle the disputes, if any. “When I took a rented apartment in Gurgaon, there was no written clause that I cannot invite my friends to stay overnight in the apartment. Later, the landlord started creating trouble over this issue and things got so ugly that I had to vacate. Everything cannot be put into written clauses. There has to be an arbitration tribunal for tenants,” says Gaurav Kumar, a software professional.

See also: Dos and don’ts for tenants sub-letting their apartments

 

Rental prices

Nearly two-thirds (64%) of tenants, question the need for the time consuming process of yearly contract renewals. Instead, they suggest that a one-time contract can state all the clauses for short stays and long stays. A large number of tenants (78%) question the rationale of mandatory yearly hike in rentals, even when the prevailing market rates are at a standstill.

“I took this 2-BHK apartment for Rs 14,000 a month on the Noida Expressway. The supply in this area soon far exceeded the demand. Added to this, the poor construction quality of the project, made its rental value fall to Rs 12,000 after a year. However, my landlord still pressed me for a 10% increase in rental. I could have taken another flat for Rs 12,000 but the additional cost and hassles of shifting, made me compromise. This market trend is not right,” opines Shreya Mathur, an MNC employee.

 

Discrimination faced by tenants

Among the respondents, 56% said that they have faced discrimination on the basis of food habits, personal lifestyle choices, birth place, etc. Unmarried individuals in cities were the worst affected, with 82% of single tenants claiming to have faced this discrimination. As many as 66% said they were paying more rent than the prevailing market rate, just to avoid a new round of uncomfortable questions from the next landlord.

“Ground realities often force even liberal people to look for rental apartments, where one’s own community is dominant. Why should my non-vegetarian food habits or partying affect the landlord, whose only concern should be that he gets his rent on time?” says Rajni Mishra, tenant from Mumbai.

70% of Indians are, hence, demanding a comprehensive rental housing policy, to settle the grey zones in this segment. A substantial number of tenants (58%) maintain that they would not mind paying a bit more, if the rental housing policy covers their concerns.

 

What tenants want

  • 82% tenants have experienced discrimination and/or harassment by the landlords.
  • 74% tenants demand a standardised rent agreement across the country.
  • 70% tenants even suggest a standardised screening process, to cut the ambiguity around the process of getting a house on rent.
  • 76% want legal guidelines, to ensure that there is no interference while staying in a rented house.
  • 70% suggest that a ‘Tenancy Tribunal’ be set up akin to other countries, to settle disputes.
  • 64% tenants are unhappy with the time consuming process of yearly contract renewals.
  • 78% question the rationale of mandatory yearly rental hikes, even when the prevailing market rate is at a standstill.
  • 56% tenants have faced discrimination on the basis of food habits, personal lifestyle choices, birthplace, etc.
  • 82% of tenants who are single, said that they have faced discrimination.
  • 66% of tenants who are single, said that they were paying more rent than the prevailing market rate, to avoid a new round of uncomfortable questions from the next landlord.
  • 70% Indians demand a comprehensive rental housing policy to settle the grey areas.
  • 58% maintain that they would not mind paying a bit more, if there is a rental housing policy that covers their concerns.

(The writer is CEO, Track2Realty)

 

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