Sunday, February 1, 2009

I think I'm going to be screwed over by my landlord.

Two, yes, two landlords so far in India, and I have th e distinct feeling that this a$$hole is going to screw me, too. First, I have no address of his, since he lives in Malaysia, and his local rep, Raj, is completely useless. No I don't have any proof of address for him either.

My first landlord still owes me 90,000 rupees which I will never see. And she's trying to extort another 3.5 lakhs out of me. This current landlord says he'll give me a check the day after I vacate minus damages. Yeah, I've heard that before. What sort of safeguards are there for renters here in India? What steps can I take to ensure I get my 1 lakh rupees back? I need this money in order to move. Right now, I have 5 pst-dated checks (Feb-May) that I am supposed to hand over to Raj today. I'm asking the security guard to get a copy of his ID, but he's not going to be responsible for the deposit in any way since the contract is with the landlord.

Is there a way to set up an escrow account where I put the money for my rent for the last four months on order to ensure I get my deposit back? Anybody know the law on this one? I seriously cannot afford to get screwed by another landlord. I want cash back. No checks.

I know it's not just foreigners that get stuck in this, I know. It's anyone without support here...



  1. there is a rent tribunal in every city to protect the rights of the tenants. the law on this varies from state to state. but there is always an option of depositing the rent in govt agency in case of dispute with the landlord .. i know it is there in west bengal.

  2. Unfortunately this is a rampant issue and there is no way out of this. The best thing you can do is don't hand over the keys unless you get a cheque from the landlord.

  3. Both are excellent suggestions. I will DEFINITELY keep the keys. He's too cheap to change all the locks. :-)

    I will look into the rent tribunal as well. Hopefully, they'll have some sort of web site...


  4. Do you have a lease agreement with the landlord? I guess, if you signed on the condition of him 'giving you a check the day after you vacate minus damages.' then you'd probably have to comply. If you seriously are being harassed then its better to ask the local police station to register a complaint or ask about any preventive laws that could be used.

  5. Jeanne,

    You can contact the Consumer forum for initial suggestions and guidance to the right redressal sector.

    And, if not anything, the best thing would be to contact a local news channel--like Star Ananda or Kolkata TV. News channels these days are news hungry and want "byte-s" and "stories" out of anything possible. Apart from publishing about your untoward situation and the careless landlord (and you shouldn't have two of them anyway!!), they can make these landlors conscious of what they are doing, as well as make them feel scandalized.

    The media is for the people. Use it :-)

  6. I'd love to use the media and because of their lack of fact-checkers here in this country, I could say anything and get away with it. :-) Unfortunately, I still have an on-going case that has to be finished before I can state anything on the record. Believe me, I've thought about it.

  7. One of my favorite bloggers, Kima, had a post about this last year.

    I don't know if this is unique to Mumbai and/or if you would have to jump through additional hoops - being a foreigner and all that. But it's worth looking into for the next time you rent(unless you're planning to move out of India).


  8. Jeanne,

    I too am from the US and live on rent here in the delhi area.

    I changed places twice so far and had no problem what so ever.

    I made sure the land lord was local and even visited their house twice before i made any decision.

  9. Anonymous: Are you staying in Gurgaon? What's your rent? I must be assimilating - I'm asking questions considered too personal for Americans to ask each other directly. It's considered rude to ask things like that there, like, why aren't you married? Why don't you have a husband? What is your salary? How much did you pay for that car/TV/house? How much did you inherit from your father? How much money do you have in the bank? These are taboo - worse than discussing religion or politics.

    Remember that, people. Don't ask American these questions - it totally weirds them out. Your taboo tip of the day. :-)

  10. HA HA,

    I had to look up the word assimilating.

    You know another question that i get a lot; How is the weather in USA...I know its not a taboo question but it kinda irritates me.

    How are you suppose to answer that question? USA is a huge country...even India has different climates from extremely cold to boiling HOT!!

    BTW i live in Noida