Living as a tenant in India

Why Living as a Tenant in India Will Always Keep You Dissatisfied

Many families across India stay on rent due to various reasons, primarily financial. However, in the Indian society, it is almost an unwritten social stigma which links it to your financial instability. Owning a home is a typical Indian dream, but many proponents cite renting a house costs much less than owning one. In the end, the homeowner has but one argument to counter all of them—the freedom to be.

Living as a tenant in India is not easy; tenants are quite a dissatisfied lot. From the common family man to bachelors to even people with well-known status have at least one story to reflect the sad predicament of tenants.

The Story of the Tenants

The first hurdle for tenants is to find a house that answers all their needs related to space, locality, commuting ease, and affordability. If you are in one of the first or second tier towns, then add to it the hassle of negotiating with individual property brokers and the added cost of owning a property. Once you shortlist a few, meeting the owner unleashes a barrage of uncomfortable queries regarding your lifestyle choices, friends, food habits, timings, etc.

According to a pan-India survey by Track2Realty, a real estate think-tank group that was conducted in ten major cities of Delhi, Noida, Gurgaon, Mumbai, Pune, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Chennai, Kolkata, and Ahmedabad, tenants in this country have a lot of concerns.

  • 82% of tenants admit to experiencing some form of discrimination and/or harassment by the landlords.
  • 64% of tenants are unhappy with the process of yearly contract renewals.
  • 78% question the rationale and legality of a compulsory annual increase in rentals.

The grey areas in the renting process give landlords undue avenues to barge in on tenants and make life unpleasant. It is after all a great financial strain to vacate, shift and re-establish oneself along with family sometimes to newer premises at every point and therefore, most prefer to pay more and bear on. No surprises hence, that the survey finds that Indian tenants are a sad lot.

What the Tenants Want

Comprehensive rental housing policy is the need of the hour, where tenants can be assured about all possibilities being covered and a hassle-free landlord relationship can be maintained. But even if 58% in the aforementioned survey concur that with such a policy they wouldn’t mind shelling out more rent, no policy can cover all possible situations.

A whopping 76% tenants in the survey responded with the need for a tenancy tribunal that many countries, like New Zealand, offer to settle disputes, provide legal guidelines, and to allay the interferences of staying on rent. But no amount of wishing can blow away the problems that a rented house presents.

The Solution to the Problem

Have you ever thought of buying your own home? Agreed, it is an expensive deal but one that can save you money over the years. As a homeowner, you will have all the freedom in the world to live by your own rules. If you are certain about the city or town in which you plan to grow your roots, have the necessary funds to make a down payment, and a stable avenue for future cash inflow, buying a house is not only recommended but the wisest thing to do. After all, isn’t it better to pay home loan EMI than to pay monthly rent?

There are numerous policies, home loan benefits, etc. that can be considered in this regard. Besides, it almost forces your hand to think seriously about savings that would have otherwise been spent in one way or the other. Currently, we are experiencing moderate home loan rates and the CLSS Scheme under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana which can make home ownership much easier on the pocket.

Advantages of Not Being a Tenant

A homeowner has clear advantages over a tenant and we have already seen how dissatisfied the tenant community is. That said, here are some of the biggest benefits of being a homeowner as opposed to being a tenant:

  • The sense of peace and security of owning your own place, where no one questions your lifestyle choices.
  • The end of increasing annual rentals while fixed EMI payments come with tax rebates.
  • Predictable and stable future costs that end up securing your own home rather than the money being deposited in a landlord’s account who might bother you at any point.
  • There is profit to be made in case the realty market sees a hike.
  • Redecorating, landscaping, interior design choices all according to your discretion and personal style.
  • Timely renovations and repairs that actually add to your home’s value.

The Deciding Factors

The choice of buying a home or renting one depends on a lot of factors; the financial factor is an important one. With lower interest rates, subsidies, affordable homes for first-time buyers it makes less sense to be a tenant.

Landlords everywhere limit the number of years that tenants can stay on. With the recurring cost of shifting, security deposits, etc. buying a property actually translates to a lot cheaper deal than renting. Besides, the harried life of tenants as evident from the survey above and also visible in our surroundings it makes much more sense to own a home.

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