‘I didn’t know that I had to share a common toilet’
The relationship between a lessor and a lessee stretches beyond the rent agreement. We explore fresh insights that can facilitate better equations
Ihail from Lucknow and in July this year, I had rented a one-room apartment in west Delhi’s Tagore Garden. Since I am preparing for the UPSC entrance examination and attending coaching classes at Karol Bagh, my first requirement in terms of accommodation was fairly simple — direct and hassle-free Metro connectivity to the coaching centre. So I searched in the stretch of west Delhi that adjoins the metro stations on the Blue Line (connecting Noida to Dwarka) and zeroed in on Tagore Garden.
Built on the top floor of a three-storey residential building, the space I chose was one of the two rooms that flanked a bright and sunny passage connecting the verandah (at the entrance of this floor) to the open terrace and a bigger and fancier room next to it with an attached bath. There was a common kitchen for all three rooms. Initially I was a little apprehensive of sharing a kitchen (one of the other two rooms had a tenant). However, the fact that the kitchen had an independent entrance and was equipped with a water purifier and IGL gas connection made up for the obvious shortcomings.
I decided to move in as the rent (₹7,000 per month) was within my budget and the walk to the Metro station was barely of five minutes. Besides, it was a purely residential locality and I loved the fact that almost every lane was tree-lined and had entrance gates manned by security guards. The landlord and his family lived on the first floor while his brother’s family occupied the ground floor. All in all, it seemed a safe and homely arrangement.
However, within 15 days of my shifting, I realised that I did not anticipate any of the things that I was having to contend with. The first flaw was the electrical fittings of the house. I discovered that not just the MCBs were of inferior local quality but the wiring was also faulty (a large part of the wiring was aluminium instead of copper) and incapable of handling the load of air conditioners. Hence, voltage fluctuations were massive and frequent.
Most l andlords do not consider the ‘non-entry-intopremises’ clause seriously enough, especially when the tenant is a young person. In this case, the landlord used to wander into the open terrace premises at odd hours on some obscure pretext or the other. Since for the most part of the day I used to be at home studying, this translated to a huge disadvantage.
Landlords have to be more specific and transparent about the nature of the rental property at the time of leasing it out. When I rented this room, I had no idea that the landlord’s brother would stay in the adjoining room whenever he visited from Mumbai.
At the time of leasing the place, the landlord had said that this particular room was essentially a store room and never used by the family. This logically meant that the bathroom which was common to both these rooms (my room and this room) was entirely at my disposal. But to my horror, his brother soon visited and stayed for several days in the unused room whereby he had to share my bathroom. I moved out within a month.
If you ask me what I have learnt from my experience it is clearly this — landlords should upgrade all electrical fittings and fixtures before renting out a place. This is especially required for relatively old constructions. As for the tenant it is very important to do a study of the comparative rent rates in the adjoining area before moving into a place. As for me, after shifting in I discovered to my dismay that a room of the size I had rented should not have commanded more than ₹ 6,000.
As told to Proyashi Barua