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Ignoring tenant verification can land you in trouble

Renting out a property sounds a lucrative option to many of us. The high demand for rental homes from migrating population in cities makes it an attractive avenue for home owners. Some people ignore the importance of tenant verification and rent out their properties without performing legal due diligence. This is not only risky for your property but also for your well-being as a landlord. If you do not verify your tenant, you can be held responsible for this negligence if your tenant is involved in any criminal act.

To ensure you are renting out your sweet home safely to an honest tenant, it is essential to follow these steps:

A police verification form is available online for tenant verification. Landlords should download this form and give it to the tenants for verification before handing over the house keys. This form requires a tenant to fill his permanent address and other required details. It verifies a tenant and makes it easy for the landlord to involve the police in case of a dispute. "IPC does not have any provision or section that criminalises non-verification of tenant but if a tenant is arrested regularly or he is a criminal then the landlord can also be booked for criminal conspiracy and criminal intent for abetting an unlawful activity. That is why verification has to be done," says Shivam Yadav, a Lawyer in Allahabad High Court and a Standing Council of Noida Development Authority.

Contact previous landlords

If the tenant has lived in the same location/city then you can do a check on his previous landlords. You can also ask for previous employer's phone number and address. Previous landlords will be able to tell you about the person as a tenant. You can ask all relevant questions to ensure the person is safe for you to lease out your property.

Personal references

The landlord can ask for 1-2 personal references whom you can call and ask about the person and verify his details. Family and friends are a good source to verify a tenant. If the person is clean he won't hesitate sharing few references but it is not always necessary that you will get this information as some tenants may not be comfortable sharing their parents' contact numbers. You can politely ask for friends' numbers or colleague's details just to keep them as a record. 

"In all metro cities, the police, authorities and laws have made it mandatory that tenant verification has to be done. Ignoring verification may not be a good idea and it may land you in trouble in case the tenant turns out to be a criminal. One has to be careful with regard to who is leasing his property," added Yadav.

Legal check: Rental Agreement

Rental Agreement is a legal document which has all terms and conditions under which the property is leased. Both, the landlord and tenant have to follow these terms for a cordial legal relationship. It is very important to have a written rent agreement and keep a photocopy of the original documents submitted by the tenant.

It is good to have a written rental agreement and put down all the terms and conditions. The term for tenancy has to be clearly mentioned so that there is no misunderstanding. The agreement should also contain all the information about the tenant and his permanent residence as it helps in the court if there is a legal dispute.

Check original documents

It is a good practice to check the original documents of photocopies. This will remove all doubts and you can also ensure that the documents are authentic.

Check before renewal

As soon as the contract expires or comes to an end, you need to renew it or give one month notice in advance to your tenant to arrange for an alternate accommodation. This has to be done in compliance with the rental agreement you have signed with your tenant. You cannot ask for immediate eviction or cut necessary supplies such as water and electricity. Every time you renew a contract, you need to check his employment address and permanent address proofs. This verifies the current status of his job and you can also find out about discrepancies.


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