The landlord tenant relationship
Background check on prospective lessees helps owners gauge their credibility
Oct 28, 2013
Source : The Hindu


CHENNAI: Very often, the relationship between a tenant and a landlord is not the most pleasant. It is characterised by conflict of interest, bitter conversations and, sometimes, legal battles.

As far as getting involved in a landlord-tenant ‘situation’ is concerned, it is better to stay safe than be sorry later on.

So, before letting out a property, it is imperative the landlord takes the cautious approach.

Of all the vexatious issues between the two parties, refusal to vacate the property is one of the most common.

Many things can trigger the unpleasantness, including intentional non-payment of rent, inability to pay, or just a not leaving despite not having the right to remain on the premises.

However, no matter what the scenario, these problems can be dealt with only by taking some precautionary measures and following the certain legal processes.

Antecedent check

Before giving the residential or commercial property on rent to someone, it is imperative to conduct a proper background check on the potential rentees.

They can be asked to provide a certificate of reference from a credible source or the contact details of a previous landlord who would verify the tenant’s details.

In addition, it is important to obtain valid identity proof and proof of permanent address, in whatever state or country, before finalising the deal. The documents submitted by the tenant should be carefully scrutinised for any kind of discrepancy or forgery.

Police power

A simple background check isn’t enough to establish the tenant’s credentials.

After all, with money anything can be done. Only police verification by local authorities will reveal the true identity of the tenant. In some cities, the verification process has become mandatory; skipping it is punishable by law.

Landlords are required to furnish details of the tenant to the police authorities, along with photographs and documents for background check.

This eliminates the chances of renting to someone with even a minor criminal record.

The police issue a kind of character verification certificate which the landlord, if and when required, can present to the office of the housing society.

No matter for what duration a property is being rented out, constructing a valid rental agreement is extremely important.

This notarised legal document contains several details, rules and regulations such as tenure period, the total amount of deposit, amount of rent payable and mode of payment, special clauses of agreement violation or cancellation, rules of decorum, notice period or agreement renewal terms, and several other things. This legal document often serves as a security for the landlord when tenants refuse to leave or pay the rent on time. There are various grounds on the basis of which a landlord might ask the tenant to leave the property, which might include completion of tenure period, non-payment of rent, indulgence in illegal activities and the like.

In case the tenant refuses to leave the property, the landlord might approach the appropriate authorities who are given the power to oversee such situations.

The police can come to the rescue only if the tenant is involved in illicit activities on the premises.

Otherwise, it is advised to go to the assigned authorities or the civil court. The process can take an indefinite period of time and if closed with a failed judgement, the landlord has the right to take the matter to the high court.

Though landlord-tenant issues are inevitable, savvy property owners still have a fair chance of improving the situation for both parties by taking note of these tips and pointers. For those willing, establishing their own ground rules and making them legally sound would mean living on the safe side.

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