Renting a house in today’s world can be a very tricky thing. It’s extremely dicey and absolutely anything can happen. No one can assume what is about to happen, life is unpredictable and various problems can pop up at any time. But it is our responsibility to be aware and to make people aware of their rights and responsibilities.
When a person rents a property, there are certain questions that he/she must ask himself or himself. What are my responsibilities as a tenant? What are my rights as a tenant? What are the things I should look for when I shift into my new property? Is the owner of the property fulfilling his responsibility?
There is a reason why the Rent Control Act was passed. It helped to make sure that the interests of the tenants are taken care of along with controlling rent charges. Rent Control Act is an act that is well in place. It controls the rent everywhere, it can be rent for a room in Mumbai or any other place, everything is under their control. The law is to make sure that everyone’s rights are taken care of and no one is taken for granted.
Before a tenant starts living in and enjoying his rented property, he must take care of certain things and must make sure things are in place and in his favor. There are a lot of legal rights that a tenant must be aware of but the 5 most important legal rights that a person must most definitely know about are:
1. It Is A Must To Have A Written Agreement
It is extremely important to have a written agreement. A written agreement is a form of contract that can be held binding. Nowadays, no one can take anyone’s word for anything. Oral agreements are extremely dicey and risky and no one should go by it. Everyone must insist on having a written agreement as that is binding by nature.
A form that is binding will have the signatures of both the parties on it. Usually, the owner has the original document and the Xerox is given to the tenant but in certain cases, tenants want the original too. In such cases, two forms can be made, one can be given to the tenant and the other can be handed to the owner.
The tenant is not obligated to pay the rent until and unless he has possession of the documents or the written agreement which is binding and can be used as proof.
2. Right To Privacy
Once the apartment or property has been rented, it is important to remember that the tenant is temporarily the owner of the property, at least as long as he lives in that house. Right to privacy is a legitimate concept that people need to be aware of. No owner or landlord can just walk into your private space without invitation or notice. If the landlord performs any such act, he/she is in violation of the rent control laws and will be punished or fined as per the remedies available in the act.
3. Discrimination Based on Color, Creed Or Caste Is Not Permissible
A landlord cannot and must not discriminate the tenants based on caste, color or creed. If a landlord refuses to rent the apartment on basis of the sex, race, age, color, any mental or physical handicap or origin, the landlord will stand in complete violation of the rules and regulations of the tenant-landlord laws.
Tenants can have access to whichever property they like without having any fear that origin or any such factor will stand in their way of having access to a particular property or particular deal. The tenant has the legal right to have access to properties without being discriminated against.
4. Security Deposit Laws
Tenants must be fully aware that there are security deposit laws. People cannot charge whatever security deposit that they please. All the security deposit prices are fixed by law and by the state. The deposit may vary, depending on a person’s condition and situation, but even then, it is controlled, fixed and allowed by the state.
It is a rule that the security deposit must be returned to the tenant before the term ends, preferably 30 days prior to the end of the lease. If by any chance, the landlord deducts money from the security deposit for any damage or any expenses, he must justify why those deductions were made and a list should be submitted to the tenant for his information.
The tenant must remember that deductions for any wear and tear must not be included as those cannot be categorized as damages by the tenant. That is a process and it is, in fact, the duty of the owner to take care of the damages. For example, the landlord must paint the apartment/property from time to time, to keep it in good shape.
5. Habitation Rights
One of the most important rights as a tenant is the habitation right. The home one selects for oneself must be absolutely safe and habitable. The landlord cannot give you a home which is unsafe. Repairs need to be made, damages need to be fixed.
This is the duty of the landlord and he needs to take care of it before handing over the apartment or property to the tenant.
The conditions that the home is given in must be absolutely habitable, there must not be any heat or water issues or any electrical damages in the property. Everything must be safe for the tenant.
The rights of a tenant must not be ignored. Renting is not a favor, tenants pay for the property and so they deserve to get the best of their money. Renting has become a very common concept and thus it is extremely important for people to know about their rights.
Hence, tenants must be well aware of their rights and must not be fooled by anyone.