Tenant Screening and Documentation

Leasing or renting out a property is a common practice in urban India. There are various reasons for which a landlord lease out or rent his property like,

  1. As a source of additional income
  2. If they are moving out of the city or country for a significant period of time
  3. To make use of the part of the property that is not in use.

Apart from above, a lot of young couples, especially NRI rent out some part of their property to provide their old parents with some company. While putting up the property for rent or lease, the landlord must put the tenants through a screening to not face any unwanted troubles in future. A NRI landlord should be more careful while choosing a tenant as they are more susceptible to cheating. For NRI, we would advise hiring the services of a professional property management law firm, who will undertake all the required screening work for you.

Steps for the Screening

Screening is the process of understanding the tenant and his history, so as to be able to avoid tenants who are habitual troublemakers. For NRI landlord, it will help them uncover any red flag regarding their intention with the property.

Various steps of screening are as follows:

Enquiries to make during initial screening – The landlord must ask certain basic questions about the tenant to be able to have a tenant according to their requirement and convenience. These are

  1. Occupation and income of the tenant
  2. Marital status, and if married whether the spouse will be living along or not.
  3. Size of the family and the people who will be the co-occupants
  4. Name or address of their last two landlords. It will be helpful to verify the details and good behaviour from past landlords to not run into any trouble in future.
  5. Reason for moving out from last accommodation
  6. Duration for which they wish to rent or lease the property

Move ahead with the rent agreement only if you are convinced of the genuineness of the prospective tenant. A NRI wishing to rent his property needs to be more careful as there are people on the prowl to take possession of NRI property as there are fewer or no regular checks.

  1. Police Verification – It is mandatory for landlords to get their tenants verified by the police. Not doing so is a punishable offence under section 188 of the Indian Penal Code. The documents need to be submitted to the police for verification are:
    1. copies of the police verification form, duly signed by the landlord
    2. Two photo identity proofs of the tenant, from among the acceptable proofs mentioned in form
    3. Proof of permanent address of the tenant
    4. Photocopy of the photo identity proof of the landlord
    5. Two passport size photos of the tenant
    6. Photocopy of the lease/rent agreement
  2. Rent Agreement – A rent agreement contains all the clauses and terms of the tenancy as agreed upon by the tenant and the landlord. Both the parties are bound by this agreement. Further, it is important for the tenant to get access to basic necessities like gas connection, electricity and water connection etc. It must include –
    1. Title document establish the ownership of the landlord
    2. Name, father’s name and address of both the landlord and tenant
    3. Name of the occupants
    4. Rent and mode of payment.