House-Owners & their Myriad Mentalities

Homeowner vs. Tenant

In this world, every person is either a homeowner or a tenant. Mind you, there’s a difference between a house and a home but I won’t delve into it here. Some people own just one house called their home. Some own more than one house and these days owning real estate, even though expensive, has been a preferred option for earning a steady side income. Of course, one would have to be ‘filthy’(please excuse my language!)-rich to own more than one house in today’s age.

Diverse Species

House-owners are a diverse species just like human beings. That they come in various shapes, sizes, colors is pretty much known. But what matters is their mentalities and their dealings with their tenants. Just like anything else in life, choosing a house for living in, even though not difficult, is still a tough decision. Several things matter besides the nature of the house-owner, the presence of other houses, their tenants (neighbors), the neighborhood as a whole, presence of pets, to name a few. And in a country like India, there are several other factors that matter – Veg vs. Non-Veg, Single/Bachelor vs. Family, and what not!

Background Check Required

It’s always a good idea to do a thorough or preliminary/cursory background check of the owner and vice-versa, i.e., the tenant. But the problem is that most of the owners’ neighbors don’t reveal anything about the latter. At least, not in the beginning. Unless they are ‘eternal’ enemies even such people won’t reveal the truth about house-owners. These days, even in India, it’s a legal requirement to have an agreement between the owner and the tenant. Which is good for both the parties involved.

Best Rummy Players

Our original topic is that house-owners are the best ‘rummy’ players! They tend to play all types of cards, just to create an artificial demand for letting their houses for rent. Sometimes, they use the ‘religion’ card – “Oh no, we won’t let our house to people of a particular religion!” which is illegal and totally against humanity. We know that all men and women are sons and daughters of one father and mother, i.e., Adam and Eve. Then, I don’t understand the barriers between us all. But who is there to ask? Then, suddenly the house-owners might have a Déjà vu – “Oh no, one of our relatives suddenly called yesterday. S/he has been transferred over to this place.” And numerous other silly and unbelievable (putting even ‘Ripley’s believe it or Not’ to shame!) excuses. Believe me, these are just ruses of the highest order. Thus, creating an artificial demand for the property. Making the prospective tenant/s wait for the property with a thousand dreams and wishes!

Required – A Review Rating System for Owners as well as Tenants (I guess!)

And while playing the different cards, house-owners tend to increase the prices of their properties to abnormal rates (much higher than the local rates). If it’s a local, then no issues at least to an extent, but God save him/her if it’s a non-local! Even for a local, as long as it’s a small place which s/he lives in, it’s OK, but people tend to live more in cities these days. And you know how the situation is in the cities everywhere throughout the world. It’s ‘everyone fending’ for him/herself.

But these days, you can find reviews on several aspects including the above. I just wish there were review ratings for even house-owners who let out their properties for rent. I am not sure if they already exist. Because every time a house gets vacated and the property owner puts up the property for rent, there are plenty of customers waiting to fall into an abyss of ignorance about the house, the mentality of the owner, the types of neighbors, etc.

Best @ beginning, Worst @ Later

Let me elaborate. The owners are at their very best behavior most of the time at least in the beginning, hiding everything in their minds and heart behind a very sweet demeanor. But they just put on a super-nice facade at that time! And one thing most of the owners are very adamant about is the amount of rent payable. Here too, you might find discrepancies in the same area. As I said, it all depends on the type of owner and his/her mentality. Fine, somehow using hook or crook or charm or whatever, the owner convinces the tenant/s to join the house.

While some owners exhibit the ‘tiger in my area’ mentality. And try to show their dominance by shouting at the poor tenant/s for no fault of the latter. Saying the tenant can either stay or vacate. This just within a week or so of the tenant having occupied the property. Now, the same owner, at the time of the tenant’s vacating the property, asks the tenant to exhaust the advance given and only then vacate!

Advance

Another important thing is the advance. This advance is like a refundable caution deposit. Model Tenancy Act was passed by the Indian Parliament last year. It’s up to the states to implement it. The current legal limit in India for collecting advances is a rent of two months as an advance. In the case of godowns, it’s five months. Similarly, the rent can be increased by 4% annually. These are the rules laid down by the government which is seldom followed. Some owners suggest at the beginning itself that they will take money from the advance after three years for painting, maintenance, etc. This is kind of a catch-22 situation – the owner is worried about his money. On the other hand, the tenant will think it’s the owner’s property. And the owner is responsible for all the maintenance works of the property.

Red Herring/s (Baits!)

More peculiar are owners who attract prospective customers by asking them something to which the latter have to respond. For example, if the prospective customer is a doctor. And, say, the house-owner or his/her spouse has a medical problem/s. Then the owner/owner’s spouse states the problem when the customer visits the property to be rented. Or, the customer might receive a phone call the day after his/her visit from the prospective owner/owner’s spouse regarding the treatment. That’s it – once the customer occupies the property, s/he might receive a call once regarding the treatment. And it’s a rare chance the owner/owner’s spouse undergoes the ‘asked for’ treatment!

Opposite Actions

Continuing with the above example, the owner/owner’s spouse often at least seems to exhibit opposite mentalities. One might say ‘NO’ to as simple a request to get the house whitewashed before the customer can shift in with his/her family. The other might appear to be a ‘wee’ bit accommodative and agree to the said request. And the other minor/major repairs too in the same manner – one person saying ‘NO’ and the spouse accepting the requests. As if the owner is doing a favor to the tenant! Which in turn actually confuses the tenants making them take sides of the owner or his/her spouse. All this until the tenant properly settles down. So, once the tenants are settled, the owner might do repair works of his/her own volition until three months.

True Colors

After which, some of them start showing their true colors. Including saying ‘NO’ to any of the requests for repairs, etc. In combination (both the owner and his/her spouse become one now!). Because the owners think that since the tenants have settled down, why will they think of even vacating the house? As I had stated earlier, to vacate and relocate to a new location even if it’s on the next street is a huge headache. This involves a considerable amount of labor, time, and money. So, the owners remain adamant even if the tenants are faced with serious problems like termites. The owners take liberties in denying pest control services to the tenants. Sometimes, even if the tenants are ready to spend out of their own pockets, the owners refuse. Which is weird, to say the least! Okay, Chao for now. I’ll write about the various geopolitical configurations and issues concerning owners, tenants, and neighbors in another article. Thank you for reading.