If you are renting a home, make sure you are clear about your rights and obligations.
By: Sangeeta Sinha
Conflicts relating to landlord and tenant are very common and therefore it is important to learn about the respective rights and obligations. This can help in preventing any future problems. Make sure that all rights and obligations are clearly listed in the lease agreement.
Often people are refused rental accommodation by owners of housing societies on the basis of caste, religion, meal preference or marital status. This is a common problem shared mostly by bachelors. Even if the owner has no objections, the housing society objects.
Now the question is that can societies frame their own rules restricting the tenants on the basis of caste, religion, meal preference or marital status? According to Pratap Shankar, an advocate from Delhi, societies cannot make such bye-laws/rules as they are contrary to the mandate of the Constitution of India, 1950.
In fact, housing societies can make laws for their own smooth functioning, but they should be in conformity with other existing law. By-laws can be challenged before the registrar or deputy registrar of the society and even their orders can be challenged.
Societies can’t arbitrarily frame rules which go against the laws of the country or the state laws. For example in Maharashtra and Delhi the governmentshave issued model by-laws which every housing society must follow while making their own, adds Pratap Shankar.
Also if any rule challenges the fundamental rights of an individual then it can be challenged in the court of law. It is our fundamental right not to be discriminated on the basis of sex, caste, religion, eating habits or marital status.
Tenants with pets
Many tenants with pets often face the problem of being denied a house. Many landlords and even societies don’t allow tenants to keep pets. However, the factis that no Resident Welfare Association (RWA) can deny such rights as the same is against article 51 (g) of the Constitution of India,
and the provisions of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animal Act, 1960. Therefore, housing societies cannot form laws regarding pets.
The Animal Welfare Board of India’s (AWBI) latest guidelines say that no housing society or apartment complex can come up with any such rules or laws.While this can be good news for pet lovers, many societies are still not sensitive to this issue and often don’t allow pets in the lift or in the park.
According to experts there is no law enacted by Parliament or any state legislature that ‘bans’ companion animals so pet-owners can stand up to such harassment. But this right of a tenant also comes with certain duties. Pet owners need to keep the area clean and must keep their pets on leash while in common areas. Also make sure that their vaccinations are always up to date.
Points to check before you sign a lease agreement
1. Visit the flat and check out all the fittings, plumbings etc.
2. Be clear about maintenance charges.
3. If a broker is involved be clear on the brokerage to be paid
4. Check out all the facilities offered by the society including parking slots.
5. Make sure to include the lock-in period (minimum stay) and rental increase clause in the agreement
6. Lastly, don’t forget to check the flat documents, to know who is the actual owner.