Landlords have a change of heart…

PUNE: Stung by demonetisation, landlords are now shunning cash for cheques and online payments from their tenants while insisting on proper rent agreement, something they usually avoided not long ago. Sukriti Rawat, a BPO employee living in a one-bedroom flat in Koregaon Park, recalls how her landlord, who never accepted her request for a proper rent agreement, readily agreed for one after the scrapping of Rs.500 and Rs.1,000 currency notes.

“A few weeks ago, I found him waiting for me to return from work around 10.30 pm. The first thing he did was to return the deposit money that I had paid him in cash in the now scrapped notes. Thereafter, he requested me to pay him the rent by cheque from now onwards. And, to my utter surprise, he also told me that he would prepare the rent agreement within next few days,” she said.

“Though people are having a tough time due to the demonetisation move, this change of heart of my landlord is a good thing. Once I have the rent agreement, I can present it to my company that has been asking for it since long,” Rawat said.

What happens if people like Rawat come under lens for depositing the banned currency notes in their accounts? “Well, they can show the fresh cheques issued to their landlords to come clear,” said a source.

Arun Nagpal, a senior call centre executive, who stays in a flat in Kalyaninagar with three other people, had a similar story. “Our landlady never encouraged us to pay by cheques or online mode of payment. On the 8th of every month, one of her relatives would come and collect the rent in cash. After demonetisation, she categorically told us not to pay the rent by cash,” he said. Just a couple of days ago, she also prepared a proper rent agreement, which was signed by all the tenants, Nagpal added.

“One thing that has come out of the demonetisation drive is that the system has become more transparent. We pay rent of Rs.16,000 and Rs.50,000 has been paid as the deposit,” Nagpal, who also hails from Delhi, said. With no landlord ready to speak out, a source said the ‘sudden change of heart’ was simple to understand.

“My landlord has a three-storeyed house. He lives on the first floor, while six rooms on the ground, second and third floors are on rent. The man and his wife are state government employees. I am sure the rent he collects in cash is not deposited because he will have to pay tax on that. And he is not the only one doing this,” said a bank executive staying in a rented apartment in Koregaon Park.

“If the landlord goes to deposit the old notes in the bank, he will be asked about the income source sooner or later. The total rent collected from this house is around Rs.60,000, excluding the deposit amount,” he added.

Credits ET Realty

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