Tenant Verification in Housing Societies
Verification of Tenants in India is a Legal Requirement. In some states like Punjab, Jammu & Kashmir, Tamil Nadu, the Legal Requirements are stringently followed, in other states/cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and Kolkata, tenant registration though is a legal requirement, its voluntary. Multiple such cases has been filed across India against Landlords and Apartment Owners for not verifying their Tenants under Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure and Section 188 of the Indian Penal Code.
In 2013, after Pune blasts, Police had arrested 700+ property owners who rented out their flats or rooms without proper police verification. This step came after it was revealed that terror suspects had rented a flat in Pune JM Road area to assemble the explosives. Delhi police website states that apartment owners are mandated to inform local police, the particulars of tenants. Delhi Police recently declared that Apartment Owners would be prosecuted under Section 188 of IPC if they did not verify their Tenants while renting out their property and later such tenants were found by police to have criminal antecedents.
In past, Bangalore police have attempted to make tenant verification mandatory. The Andhra Pradesh police also has published extensive steps for verification of Tenants. However, though it is best to get your Tenant verified, nowhere in India is Tenant verification followed judiciously. Verification ensures that they are capable of paying rent on time, they do not cause trouble to you and your Society or they do not have any criminal background.
There has been several incidents reported in local and national newspapers where the landowners has been penalised by Police for not properly verifying their Tenants. Today all Apartment Owners do a bit of verification by asking for employment proofs, government ID cards, etc. however there is no structured process for Verifying the Tenant’s background.
Tenant Verification Process Guidelines:
- Verification of Information Provided by the Tenant: It is not just sufficient to ask for Government ID proofs from your potential Tenants. It is also important to verify that the government IDs provided are authentic.
- Background check: Ask for the contact of the previous owner where your potential tenant was living and speak to him/her. This will tell you if your potential tenant has a history of skipping rent or damaging property. It’s also a good idea to know in advance how the tenant will be paying the rent. If the potential tenant has poor credit or is not making enough to afford rent comfortably, you should consider finding a different tenant. You can consider asking the Tenant to provide you with a couple of months payslips so that you can ensure the financial stability of the tenant.
- Address Verification — If possible verify the previous address of the Tenant and the permanent address provided by the tenant. This is difficult to do for any Apartment Owner, however there are several agencies who does this verification for a nominal cost.
- Police Verification: As stated above, many states and cities are nowadays making it mandatory for Apartment Owners to get police verification while giving the Apartment to a Tenant. Police Verification forms are available on the website for respective city’s police department. The form would have to be filled with information of the Tenant which needs to be verified and submitted to the police. The police would verify if there are any criminal records against the prospective tenant.
- Employment Verification: It is important to verify the details of employment of the tenant. This can be done by asking the Tenant to provide an employment proof from the HR or a copy of their Office Identification Card or Offer letter.
Getting Tenant Verification done
In case you are not able to conduct the verification process by yourself, you can use verification services offered by our partners in Buzzar who provide tenant verification services at a nominal cost. The service includes verification of govt. issued id’s (any nos); physical check of current and permanent address of the Tenant; criminal/civil court record checks at Supreme & High and District courts for civil/criminal records at stated addresses. Also included is current employer check and 1 reference check for the individual.
Tenant Verification is not a difficult task and can also be done informally by an individual Apartment Owner. However, in many cities, Police are now mandating Tenant Verification. Therefore its best to have it done through an agency who specialise on Verification Services or you can get it done yourself. This ensures that you safeguard yourself from any future hassles.