5 clauses you must have in your rent agree­ment

Hindustan Times (Chandigarh) - Estates - - FRONT PAGE - Ash­wini Kumar Sharma ash­wini.s@htlive.com n

Many peo­ple leave their home towns and move to dif­fer­ent cities to study, for work, for busi­ness or for bet­ter life­style. The first thing they need in the new city is a place to stay. Given that it’s not easy to buy a home to live in as soon as you move to a new city, es­pe­cially in met­ros, most peo­ple tend to take a flat on rent.

But be­fore you take a prop­erty on rent, it is pru­dent to know the terms and con­di­tions and ex­e­cute a rent agree­ment.

A rent agree­ment en­sures you have le­gal re­course later in case there is a prob­lem be­tween you and your land­lord, which is why it’s im­por­tant to be care­ful about the clauses in­cluded in the agree­ment. Here area few must-have clauses for the rent agree­ment.

AMOUNT OF RENT, SE­CU­RITY DE­POSIT, OTHER PAY­MENTS

The agree­ment should clearly men­tion the amount of rent that you have to pay each month and the due date by which it has to be paid. In most cases, land­lords ask for a se­cu­rity de­posit which is usu­ally equal to one or two months’ rent amount. Men­tion the se­cu­rity amount in the agree­ment and when it will get re­funded. Also, en­sure that the agree­ment clearly states what else you’ll have to pay for like elec­tric­ity, wa­ter, PNG, main­te­nance, and so on. Also, it should be clearly men­tioned if there is a sep­a­rate me­ter for util­ity con­nec­tions based on which you have to pay bills or you got to pay a fixed amount ev­ery month.

DU­RA­TION OF AGREE­MENT AND RE­NEWAL CRI­TE­RIA

Typ­i­cally, rent agree­ments are ex­e­cuted for a ten­ure of 11 months. How­ever, you can en­ter into an agree­ment for a longer pe­riod as well. Make sure the ten­ure is clearly men­tioned. Also, clar­ify about the lock-in pe­riod, dur­ing which nei­ther the ten­ant nor the land­lord can ter­mi­nate the agree­ment, and en­sure it’s men­tioned in the agree­ment as well. “The agree­ment should clearly men­tion the con­se­quences of ter­mi­nat­ing it by ei­ther party be­fore the end of the lock-in pe­riod,” said Ra­jat Mal­ho­tra, part­ner, Laware As­so­ci­ates, a Delhi-based law firm. Typ­i­cally, when the ten­ant has to va­cate the house be­fore the end of the lock-in pe­riod, the se­cu­rity de­posit gets for­feited by the land­lord. Sim­i­larly, if the land­lord wants the house va­cated be­fore the end of the lock-in pe­riod, she has to com­pen­sate the ten­ant by pay­ing an amount equal to the se­cu­rity de­posit, in ad­di­tion to the ac­tual se­cu­rity de­posit re­fund. Note that the lock-in pe­riod is not the same as the no­tice pe­riod, which typ­i­cally lasts one or two months. If the no­tice pe­riod is two months, you will have to give a two-month no­tice to your land­lord in case you plan to va­cate the house. How­ever, the no­tice pe­riod is typ­i­cally not valid dur­ing the lock-in pe­riod for ei­ther party. When and how the agree­ment can be re­newed, by how much will the rent go up at the time of re­newal, whether or not there are pro­vi­sions for re-ne­go­ti­a­tion of rent and so on should be men­tioned. Also, in cities like Mum­bai, in the ini­tial agree­ment, real es­tate agents put in clauses re­lated to pay­ment of bro­ker­age at the time of re­newal. Dis­cuss this clause, and get to know in ad­vance what the amount of bro­ker­age for re­newal will be and who will pay it.

LIST OF FIT­TINGS, FIX­TURES

The agree­ment should also have the de­scrip­tion of the house you are tak­ing on rent such as the floor or apart­ment num­ber, area of the house, num­ber of rooms, bath­rooms, liv­ing area, kitchen and so on. If it is a fur­nished house, make sure there is a list of all the fix­tures and fit­tings like beds, so­fas, ta­bles, chairs, wardrobes, num­ber of fans, air con­di­tion­ers, lights and soon.

REG­IS­TRA­TION OF AGREE­MENT

“Ide­ally, one should reg­is­ter the rent agree­ment,” said Mal­ho­tra. In case of dis­putes, un­reg­is­tered rent agree­ments are not con­sid­ered as pri­mary ev­i­dence by the court and you may have to pro­vide other sup­port­ing doc­u­ments to prove your stand, he added. To reg­is­ter a rent agree­ment you would have to pay charges such as stamp duty and reg­is­tra­tion fee. The charges are typ­i­cally shared by the ten­ants and the land lords but men­tion that in the agree­ment. Also, there should be clar­ity on who will pay charges like le­gal fee, if any, or bro­ker­age to agents.

RE­STRIC­TIONS

Many land lords do not al­low ten­ants to keep pets. If you have a pet, dis­cuss the is­sue be­fore fin ali sing a house on rent. A few also have is­sues with non-vege­tar­ian ten­ants. Other is­sues to clar­ify in­clude whether you can use the ter­race, park­ing space, gar­den or any other ameni­ties in the so­ci­ety.

Land­lords typ­i­cally keeps the orig­i­nal copy of the rent agree­ment, but you should al­ways keep a copy of the same.

IS­TOCK­PHOTO

A rent agree­ment en­sures you have le­gal re­course.

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