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A majority of people will agree that giving a house on rent is no easy task. In fact, the process can be quite overwhelming for certain people, and can become a serious problem even post the entire process, if it is not carried out properly.

A few of the common worries include looking for new tenants, misuse of the property by the tenant, refusal of the tenant to vacate, delay in payment of maintenance fees, and non-payment or deferment in the payment of rent.

Most home owners prefer to prepare a legal rental agreement before leasing their flat to potential tenants. In case you’re wondering, a rental agreement is an “agreement that establishes or modifies the terms and conditions concerning the use and occupancy of a dwelling and its premises”. It can be written or oral, but most people choose to draft concrete agreements in black and white.

Drafting the Lease Agreement

Utmost care needs to be taken when drafting this crucial document. All the terms and conditions should be stated clearly to avoid any dispute in the future. Most people prepare this document with the assistance of a legal expert to make it foolproof. Reference checks and police verification are also considered important steps that ensure the best interest of both the parties involved.

A few important factors that need to be considered at the time of drafting the final agreement are as follows –

  • Name, father’s name and the residential address of the tenant as well as the landlord needs to be mentioned.

  • The tenant should verify that the lessor is the legal owner of the property, or that a person duly authorized by him or by a court enters into such an agreement/contract.

  • The purpose of the tenancy - whether it will be used for residential or commercial purpose - should be clearly mentioned.

  • The rent amount needs to be mentioned clearly. The maintenance fee and who will bear those fees should also be cited. The mode of payment (cash/cheque) and the date of payment should be stated as well. Any interest to be paid upon the delay in payment of the rent should be specified.

  • Who will pay the water, the gas and the electricity charges should be mentioned.

  • The extent of increase in the rent and the date from which the increase will become effective should be made clear.

  • The duration of tenancy should be clearly indicated and so should the security deposit amount and the lock-in period. How the amount will be refunded or adjusted in the advance rent should be amply stated.

  • If the property is furnished, a list of the fixtures and the furnishings needs to be drawn and the penalty for damage should also be decided in advance. Details of their condition as well as that of the walls and ceiling should also be mentioned in order to prevent dispute over damage to the house, if any.

  • Apart from the property details, the agreement should also specify the availability of amenities such as common passages, terrace, car parking, swimming pool, gymnasium, indoor sports, library, etc. as well as the charges payable (if any) for utilizing them.

  • The contract should also clearly mention the process for premature termination of the lease.

The above list is not conclusive. The landlord and the tenant can add as many conditions as they desire.

Registering the Lease

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Section 17 of the Registration Act, 1908 mandates the registration of the rental agreement if the lease period is more than 11 months.

After the preparation of the lease agreement, the most important task is to get it registered because only after that can it be used as evidence in the court of law, in case of a litigation. The registration process involves the payment of stamp duty and registration fees.

Police Verification

This is important as it helps in conducting a background check of the tenant, which lowers the probability of the house being rented out to a person with a criminal record.

To get this done, the landlord is required to fill the verification form, which is available online on websites of state police departments, and submit it in the local police station along with the identity proof of the tenant.

Additionally, the landlord should visit his property premises at regular intervals to ensure that the tenant is not violating any of the conditions or subletting the property.

If the tenant is found to be misusing the property, the landlord can demand that he vacate the house. If the tenant refuses to comply, the landlord can seek recourse from authorities overseeing disputes related to rent with all the necessary documents.

The Rent

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One of the biggest difficulties that both landlords and tenants experience is deciding on the rent. Ascertaining an appropriate amount can be puzzling for both. The real estate market is competitive and asking for more than the market rate can result in the turning away of potential tenants.

However, if your house is in a better condition and more furnished than that of others, you can expect to receive rent in accordance with that, but you might have to wait a little longer to find a tenant who is willing to pay that much.

It is widely believed that determining the rent for a flat in a group housing society is easier than doing the same for an independent house.

The rent of any property depends largely on the capital value, the location, the demand, and the amenities provided. One can also ascertain the rent by referring the ready reckoner rate which is specific to each locality, and therefore, makes for a sound method to calculate the rent.

Conclusion

It is important to have a few proper measures in place to avoid the glitches that can come with renting out your home. These measures can legally bind the tenants as well as the landlord to mutually-agreed upon conditions or clauses and ensure that none of the parties end up taking undue advantage of the other. The above pointers should help clear your confusions when you decide to lease your property.    

Preethy Martin is a content strategist at Proptiger.com - online real estate portal which offers best deal on properties in India. When not working, she enjoys spending time with family and catching up with the friends.
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