‘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

HT Estates - - HTESTATES -

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

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