Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Tenants and house hunting

Helping some of my interpreters find an apartment to rent out might turn out to be the most harrowing of the experiences I have had.
I wonder if there are laws and rights of tenants in this sometimes weird country called India. One - its tough to find bachelor accommodation. And then basic fittings like fans and lights are not provided for, for instance. Tweeting about it, I found others who said the house owners replaced a motor and made the tenants, who were girls in an IT company, pay. I remember once upon a time, when we were new in Chennai, the house owners replaced an electric meter and made us pay because the "refrigerator is from Bombay and that has spoilt the meter and has to be replaced". I am sure the electric consumption of that house is still counted on we funded.
While I was with Aahaa FM there were so many callers who complained that the apartment association is harassing them just because they are tenants. The stories they related, off air, made my blood boil. In most cases their respective house owners who were in other cities or countries also perhaps were unaware and asked them to handle issues on their and that they would support them. Some also said that the owners were great people. Some tenants even said the owners let these apartments for rent because of the almost goonda like acts of the apartment associations and other owners and they didn't want to subject themselves to such weirdos.
Now that there are a lot of individuals who live together in an apartment because they have relocated for work, house owners have found this to be the perfect chance to hike up the rates on rent to abnormal levels as I see them now for apartments that are only 250-500 sq feet in size. Some of the houses I helped my interpreters see don't even have a window and looks straight out of Slumdog Millionaire!! How did they build houses like that and how do they have the bloody gall to be so damn rude over and above that??
At the end of the day no tenant is living for free. If someone is paying for any service then it better be darn good. Or at least average. Now who lets Apartment associations decide that they can traumatize and harass people just because they are 'tenants'? Even a certain lawyer said, they are tenants and that's how things will be. So what if they are tenants? Don't they pay the maintenance? Don't they pay for their association get-togethers during festivals? And worst, some apartments have a lot of legal issues. So everyone is scared of talking. Perhaps these builders should be counseled to follow the law and not mess up the lives of those who have made them the rich guys they are now.
I am not sure how the situation in other cities is like. But Chennai definitely seems to be hyper greedy.
As for me, I'll take this opportunity to thank most of the landlords that we have come across personally and in whose houses we had lived in. They are the ones defined as good human beings, or perhaps they are angels compared to the devils of house owners around.


News from Prasanna said...

Well Written article. I was undergoing the same kind of harassment for quite sometime.

Rauf said...

hey hi..
i have a doubt and sorry for being off context..u have said that u hav never paid a bribe in ur life.. but hw did u get ur driving license??? is there any such thing as 'no birbe way of getting license' in RTO office?

Saras said...

I am a little surprised at your outburst! I thought you are a very balanced, calm and cool person. Now, about the Land Lords. As you have seen most of the people who build houses are renting their properties to take care of their interest on funds borrowed for construction and also for the Tax subsidy for Interest.In their greed to cover their liabilities some of them tend to fleece the tenants by charging exhorbitant rent. The only way to circumvent this situation is to see a lot of houses and choose the best option. You can also get the help of friends to suggest by word of mouth. I am sure your future blogs will be as exemplary as they were earlier! kidding! God Bless.

Subramaninan said...

As usual your postings are negative and you don't want to see the other side of the story. Pl. read this:

You don't know the cases where many tenents remove and take away the fans, light fittings and even kitchen exhaust fans. Many NRIs do not want their only retirement investment to be ruined and hence they keep it locked without renting.

I think you are very negatively influenced by that Traffic Ramasamy. Your whining doesn't bring in any solution. On the contrary all these negative thoughts and whinings are slowly changing or already changed you as a pessimist.

Look at your own posting for the past 1 year. How many positive and constructive opinions you have posted. Very Few. So develop some +ve thoughts and engage in activities that will bring in peace

Om Shanthi Om

Vijai said...

Hi Chin...
i too once was a victim in house hunting at Chennai.
I was bachelor in the "so called" Triplicane and then i tried to move to an apartment. It was a hell really to get a home. I paid some few hunderds to the brokers to look for house in sundays. Many times the house owners dont put the TOLET board saying its a disturbance to them from Bachelors !! Then came the software boom to add fuel to the fire and the rents soar hell high (i dont say sky high) to minimum 8000/- for 1BHK in suburbs like nanganallur. Coming to the city is one more hell from that place.
Now i live at NewYork. I got the house with all furnishings and the house owners are kind and right at the same time on getting the rent.
Sometimes a credit history or contract is required. (luckily i had nothing)
So...finally the story is its all our dirty mentality to rob opportunistically and we forget we too were once like this.

Anonymous said...

Not onli this happens in Chennai...the same dwells in Mumbai n Hyderabad! I was on vacation (wif a fren) to Mumbai and experienced nasty owners asking for a hefty deposit for a room wif no windows!


Karthikeyan said...

Hi chinmayi ur arguments are acceptable and i agree to all the points that you say...I would also like to say one thing imagine urself as a landlord and think of the difficulties....I accept that landlords are harassing tenants but they do have problems finding the rite tenants.....My argument of the day is not all the landlords are good and not all the tenants.....

Sathya said...

Hi Chinmayi, if chennai is hyper greedy when it comes to tenants, then pls check in blg....its d worse...owners wud go any mile to suck everything out of tenants; certain things which we faced literally made us feel that Blg is cursed with its woes cause of such greedy animals...tenants need an association to protect them, hope some bill gets passed someday to protect them - to quote one incident, our owner collected some 2 Rs. which he got an extra debit for an outstation cheue apart from normal charge on such wat to say...

Chinmayi Sripada /Chinmayee said...

Saraswathan: Well if you can help me find houses for interpreters who cannot speak the local language, deal with some weird house owners and their demands for various houses at the same time, well.. BTW this is not an outburst. Simple statement of facts or what I am going through. A lot of times the reader can interpret the emotions of the written word according to their perception which could actually be far removed from what is intended actually :)

Subramaniam: I know the other side of the story because I am also a house owner. I know what it is to be fair and what is to be downright peevish. And I read the papers too. I told my interpreters perhaps the issue is also because of this. And also, this flesh trade in rented homes thing is as old as the hills. Its not a new phenomenon. Every once a while rackets like this are busted. I thought mostly house owners are present or are guarding and checking the property for the last time before the tenants move out and anyway house owners have an advance. If the fans or other fittings are missing they just plainly deduct from the advance and return the balance. I think every tenant knows of this. Raising an issue is not negativity. Also let me tell you that I blog about what I want. Its not a reflection of my life or me. More often than not people's favorite exercise is jumping to conclusions. Perhaps for you Sunderlal Bahuguna, Kiran Bedi, Medha Patkar and even our very own Traffic Ramaswamy are the most pessimistic, negative people eh?
Vijai:True. In our country a lot of rules and regulations, morals and ethics are changeable as soon as the colour of money comes in. What can we say. A lo of hypocrites here. And if someone says something, we are pessimists :)
Anonymous: hmm
Karthikeyan: I think I have mentioned in my own post that I am thankful to the landowners that we have dealt with. And yes I know there are no rules.
Sathya: I think I should look into the legal rights of tenants. Perhaps some tenants should take the owners to court sometimes.

Chinmayi Sripada /Chinmayee said...

Abdul: I got my license when I was not a known face. And in the Thiruvanmiyur RTO, there was no bribing. I gave the test honestly and got my license after waiting for a certain period of time. Simple.

வால்பையன் said...

வளர்ந்த நகரங்களில் தான் இந்த பிரச்சனை! ஓரளவு வளர்ந்து கொண்டிருக்கும் நகரங்களிலும் அபார்மெண்ட் கலாச்சாரம் வந்துவிட்டது!

வரிசை வீடுகளில் வாழ்ந்த மக்கள் இன்னும் ப்ழைய மாதிரியே உறைவையும் பேணுகிறார்கள்! வீட்டு முதலாளிகளும் மாதத்திற்கு ஒருமுறை வருவதோடு சரி!,

ஆனால் ஆண்கள் தனியாக தங்குவதற்கும், பெண்கள் தனியாக தங்குவதற்கும் உள்ள பிரச்சனைகள் என்னவோ அதிகம் தான்! குடிசை வீடு கூட கிடைக்காமல் அழைந்த காலெமல்லாம் உண்டு!

Unknown said... house owner is a good man...he doens't bother me with much rules. The only bothering issue with him is the rent. in the past 18months, the rent has gone up by 1.5k.

I too searched a lot of places for alternate accom...but in vain. Either there was no place for bachelors, or a very greedy house owner, or no proper ventilation etc etc that we have to bare in our expense.

ram said...

Hi to all owners:
People are collecting rents in thousands and while paying their property taxes,to my astonishment rent was mentioned as in a few hundreds....
thats the point of question the tenants are tending to rise...
its not a matter of pessimism or optimism...

Shobana said...

Chinmayi! My in-laws live in Porur and are renting out a portion of their house...I think it has 2-3 bedrooms and a couple of loos. They are ok with bachelors...let me if that is a good location for you. They even had a Chinese speaking person as a tenant some time back, so that should not be a problem for them.

Sreekrishnan said...

I think it is the case with almost every other City .. i was in Bangalore and it was really harassing. there was a deposit of 10K and when we got out of the house he almost took 2k Claiming "Usage Charges for the Electrical equipment" and guess what the electrical equipments were - Household wiring and Switches. We just dont have proper laws that guide the decision of rent and other factors. I just hope we get the right laws.

And if you are bachelors, its the worst thing ... you just cannot win the trust of anybody. It is assumed we are rogues. i rarely come home or even if i do, its just to get one good sleep and a Hot shower !

Direct dil se!!! said...


basically as far as i have experienced there is no respect for the tenants in chennai, I stayed just 2-3 mnths there and it was a horrible exp, we paid everything from switch board change, motor repair everything and the houseowner didnt even care for anything. not even talked a word abt repayment. as though its our own home, we spent cos we had to live there. Its still a night mare to stay in a place like chennai for me.

On the contrary, here in the US, where most of you would know, even small repairs are taken care of n paid good attention by the owners. Even toilet clogs. No need to spend anything from our hand unless otherwise the damage is caused by us. also it should be well noted that while vacating, the house should be in such a state that its all cleaned. it would be inspected by the apartment authorities whether the house is okay for accommodation. how many of us care for that in India?

மணிகண்டன் said...

chinmayi, there is no negativity in this post. it is about expressing the difficulties in the viewpoint of tenants. I think bangalore is pretty easy for the tenants and also for the bachelors to find an apartment.

priyamanaval said...

Hi Chinmayi,

Just would like to bring to your attention that oflate your blog has became like a complaint box.

I understand that this is your personal space and you are liable to write what ever style you would like to. But still this thing came to my mind and thougt that it is important to let you know that we are expecting more constructive thoughts from you as you being a good writer.

Happy Deepavali!!

குப்பன்.யாஹூ said...

The article is fine and well written. But the root cause is with us (voters) only.

When election come we forget these issues,we get money for votes and cast our votes to that Govt which has not amended the legal system , the Govt which did not bother about ham aadhmi's lifestyle.

So we cant blacme others, fault is with us (voters)

Anonymous said...

Oh wow, you don't say. I was under the impression that India was nothing like they said in Slumdog Millionaire, with the way people vehemently opposed it; before the Oscars.

Though not at the same level, landlord/tenant problem is there everywhere. And the worst landlords(in general) are from South Asia. But to level that off, the worst tenants, are also from South Asia. I am speaking from a North American perspective. Only my opinion.


Chinmayi Sripada /Chinmayee said...

Priyamanaval: Hmm 6 of the 8 posts below this one are about my work. If I decide to write about an issue which really needs some attention, so what? And even if my blog becomes a complaint box from time to time, then so be it. Its about experiences that I go through and some times those of people that I know of. Do you want me to tell you only the good stuff and eschew the not so great times? Don't think that is going to happen from me all the time, though I must say that I don't write about everything here. I am not sure what you mean by constructive and what can be defined as such, but perhaps until I find something to write about, I ll stick to tweeting.

Sathiya said...

The world works on the principle of "Capitalism" not socialism. The greed is part of the capitalist principles. Due to a few greedy people, all the others have to suffer, Simple. We can't change it.

Doozie said...

House owners greed for money has increased with bachelors willing to shell out more money.

Out of the way...chinamyi

Why are you not hosting tv programme these days?

We miss you..:(

Anonymous said...

Hi chinmayi,

This recession is a good lesson for the house owners . I can see some genuine TOLET boards now .The house owners want to suck the money ,they dont care anything. They even sell the electricity as 4 rs per unit

Unknown said...

hi chinmayee,

Today only i happend to read this post and what u hav written is true about house owners.Even i got reminded bitter experiences with our landlord when we stayed in Ashok Nagar.You wont believe that my landlord complained that when me or my husband opened the gate of their house, it is noisy :( and asked us to open the gate very slowly.It is their duty to put oil for the gates once in a while so that they dont make irritating noise while opening it..But they failed to do it..

Moreover house owners are of the opinion that as if the tenants are their slaves and always instruct and command us.

Thank god now we hav moved to a different house.

Matangi Mawley said...

Being on a relaxing 'long weekend'- i have nothing else to do.. reading older posts on various blogs.. just catching up.. so going back to some of your earlier posts-

That was so true! Having had the experience of paying an abnormal sum of money for a house so small- the point is- the moment they see an IT ID, the price seems to go up!

Why don't these people understand tht having an IT ID doesnt mean tht u r raking money all over! it's a struggle too.. with all the recession- half-pay and pay cuts..

Thiruvanmiyur area flourishes now, thanks to IT!

I have this friend who blogged on topic- 'Auto ottalaam vaanga' where her IT colleague has this conversation with auto driver.. IT guy earns 20-22K/month.. the auto driver is shocked- 'ennaba ithu.. intha potti(laptop)laam vechchirukka' he says.. IT guy: ithu company-la koduththathu.. auto driver says that he owns 3 autos.. earns over 50K/month.. his kids are in english medium..!

can't help.. but i have to say this- cha! enna koduma sir ithu!!

rvivekshanmugam said...

True! Rudeness is what I see everywhere these days! :(