Monday, June 21, 2010

Renting out.

There are umpteen flats in metros which remain unoccupied as owners are afraid of letting them out.This is borne out by stories  overheard or experienced by them.But the flats lying disused get dirty ,& after some years almost become unlivable unless a few lakhs are spent on making them worthy of moving in.

I have a flat, which I had  let out to a bank employee on leave & license for eleven months.The tenant went on to live there for nearly six years.The agreement was renewed every eleven months & we parted on pleasant terms.Of course, we had hiccups like any relationship.He wanted the house to be painted every 3 years & I was against it as he was unwilling to increase the rent payment as per my demands.He did increase the rent but very marginally.And he continued to stay, as he had his parents & wife & kid - in short,he was a family man.Initially ,he would come & hand me the cheque at the place where I was staying but soon,I had to ask him to deposit the cheque in my bank account.This was because,he swore by IST ( Indian Stretchable Time )-he would call up & say that he would reach at  5.30 pm but he meant that he would be leaving his house at that time.This led to my endless waiting till he reached my house to give me the cheque.Moreover,he would come on the day of his convenience - almost on the 15th day of the next month for paying the rent.I never complained & prayed that he should have better sense & my prayers remained unanswered.

My father had given his tiny flat to his bosom cousin's son for doing business.Later, when my dad requested his cousin for vacating the flat, as I needed the flat for staying,he flatly refused.He opined, that my dad was being unfair as his son had nowhere to go. My plight of being without a roof  did not seem to cut any ice with him.Then ,my dad realised, that, he wanted money.My father was asked to pay the whole rent he had received till then.My dad repaid & I moved in.From that day onwards,we realised that one should avoid giving one's house to any relative.My father had rented out the same place to others -they were brought in by some friends but they vacated as soon as we requested them but blood being thicker than water,relatives want their pound of flesh !

One of our family friends had given his twin flats to a neighbor for some religious ceremony.The neighbour made a duplicate set of keys & has been in occupation of the said property since then ! He has greased the palms of  the office bearers of the Cooperative Housing society wherein these flats are situated & also oiled the police station occupants.Moreover ,he has made an offer that he will give away one flat provided our family friend is ready to take back only one flat.The matter rests there, with no solution in sight, except knocking the doors of the courts .But our courts are so clogged, that,  in all probability ,if justice ever gets done,it will be enjoyed by the friends' grandchild as the matter will get sorted out only some three to four decades later !

Corporate tenants  can turn out to be worse than individual tenants.My ex-employer is  in occupation at various places in & around the city .All these places are used as branch or divisional offices .But rents are paid at the same rates at which they were initially given out.The Company  neither pay higher rent nor move out of the said premises.Some  landlords then approach the courts for sorting out the issues.But in this also,the executives have an upper hand or rather hands as they keep wasting money of the public exchequer for lawyers fees et al whereas the landlord has to pay from his pocket .So many landlords prefer to suffer rather than approach the judiciary.Moreover,court matters take decades to get settled .Hence,many prefer to have their houses unoccupied rather than undergo mental torture.

I have again rented out my flat to a person now at a cheaper rate as I don't want my tenant to feel that my greed is overwhelming .To this,my friend quipped," You know,somebody like you rented his flat out very cheaply but now the tenant is refusing to move out as he feels that he will never get another place as cheap as the one he is living in."I had thought otherwise.Now,I am also thinking of either selling it after the lease expires or keeping it vacant ,just like others .

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