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The demand for rental housing in India’s major cities has risen steadily, as people migrate to cities that offer employment opportunities. The government has also come up with the Draft Model Tenancy Act 2019, to promote rental housing in India and to make the process of renting properties beneficial for both, the landlord and the tenant. Nevertheless, landlords have to face several challenges, when letting out their properties. The landlord would be legally responsible, for any illegal activity committed by the tenant on his premises. Moreover, the entire prospect of earning rentals through your property could be jeopardised, in case the property is offered to a tenant whose track record can barely be ascertained. It would be a huge mistake to offer your property for living, to such a person. This is where tenant verification assumes significance.
Police verification of tenants
How is it different from a background check?
As a landlord, you have to find out the personal and professional details of the tenant. After all, the whole point of renting out your property is to generate income, without any hassle. You have to gauge the payment capacity of the tenant, while also ensuring that he will not cause any general or legal nuisance. This part of the renting process is the background check, which you do you for your own safety.
A tenant’s police verification, is another part of this process. Apart from screening your prospective tenants, you have to involve the police in this process. More importantly, this is not optional, as police verification of tenants has been made mandatory by city authorities in all major districts.
Technically, there is no law that specifically states that the landlord is obliged to carry out police verification of the tenant. However, there is a provision in the Indian Penal Code (IPC) that could lead to the landlord getting booked, for an offence committed by the renter. Section 188 of the IPC, which deals with disobedience to order duly promulgated by a public servant, says that the guilty party may be punished, if any disobedience of an order made by public authorities is likely to produce harm.
“It is not necessary that the offender should intend to produce harm, or contemplate his disobedience as likely to produce harm. It is sufficient that he knows of the order, which he disobeys and that his disobedience produces, or is likely to produce, harm,” says Section 188.
What if you fail to carry out tenant verification?
Now, what is the punishment for such disobedience? If such disobedience causes or tends to ’cause obstruction, annoyance or injury, or risk of obstruction, annoyance or injury, to any person’, the landlord can be ‘punished with simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to one month or with a fine which may extend to Rs 200, or with both’.
If such disobedience causes or trends to ’cause danger to human life, health or safety, or causes or tends to cause a riot or affray’, the landlord can be punished with ‘imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to six months, or with fine which may extend to Rs 1,000, or with both’.
Owing to the ongoing economic situation, it might be quite hard for landlords to find tenants. In most cases, in order to ensure that your property does not lie vacant, you may also consider providing some latitude to renters. However, this should never be reflected in your approach towards police verification of your tenants. That way, you would be taking a greater deal of risk on your property.
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Tenant police verification process
There are two ways to carry out the police verification of your tenant. You can visit the police station in your area, fill up the tenant verification form (this could also be downloaded from the website of the said police station) and submit it to the sub-inspector.
Check out tenant police verification application form here.
Alternatively, you could log on to the official website of the police station and request for a police verification of your tenant.
Tenant verification through mobile app
In some cities, landlords can complete this task using a mobile app. The Delhi Police have launched an app, Suraksha, to do away with paperwork and hassle, while carrying out tenant verification.
The Nashik Police have, for instance, launched a Tenant Verification System app that enables landlords to seek information about the tenants, without visiting the police station.
How do I get police verification for tenants?
A landlord can get it done by visiting the police station in their area. In some cities like Delhi and Nashik, they can also perform the task through mobile apps.
What is a tenant verification form?
Landlords have to duly fill a tenant verification form available on the website of the police station of their area. They can also get a copy of this form, by visiting the police station.