I am a French citizen facing few problems with my landlord, and I am a bit hopeless as I am back to France and cannot handle it at distance.
Here are few facts:
1. I have been renting a flat with my boyfriend + 2 cats in Khar West, Dr. Ambedkar Road, from February 20th , paying 65,000rs/month and with a deposit of 1,50,000rs. My landlord is based in the US and his brother-in-law takes the role of “broker” and the link between the 2 parts.
2. In July, I got to know that my contract (expatriation) will not be renewed and that I will have to leave India as my visa will expire on August 19th.
3. Therefore, we (me and my cohabitant) have decided to leave the flat – I will go back to France and he will shift to Bangalore. We have announced it to our Landlord around the last week of July.
4. Extremely unhappy that we should be leaving right after the locking period of 6 months (ending on August 20th), the landlord’s Brother-in-law accused us to have planned all this and requested us to stay till September 20th– we accepted the request.
5. The landlord’s brother-in-law (broker) came to the flat by the beginning of August to collect few of his belongings in the flat. At that time, I mentioned to him that the monsoon has caused few problems in the flat: the wood was very humid and started to spoil, there were marks and smell of humidity all around the flat, and the moisture has caused a choke in the bedroom’s ceiling which could be dangerous. He did not say anything nor propose to repair it.
6. As requested by the “broker”, we accepted to receive people who wanted to visit the flat. To make it smoother, I even posted the rental announce online to help him find a new tenant quickly.
7. I left India on August 17th, my boyfriend has planned to leave by September 20th. The week before handling over the keys to the “broker”, my boyfriend requested him to come several times at home to have an overview of the flat in case there is any particular change to do. Unfortunately, the “broker” never showed up. My boyfriend has cleaned the house as much as possible and kept it in the best condition possible.
8. On the last day, the “broker” and his dad (i.e. The landlord’s brother-in-law, and father-in-law) came home for a final inspection of the flat. They suddenly became very critical and mentioned particularly one bulb which was not working + scratches on the couch made by the cats + a choke in the bedroom + moisture marks in the flats. At that day, they (my boyfriend + the broker) agreed on paying the scratches on the couches (for which we take the responsibility) and the bulb which was not working (and appeared to be working few days later according to the broker). My boyfriend requested them to send back the full amount of the deposit on my account and he will pay the reparation costs separately.
9. Unfortunately, the broker did not follow the oral agreement which had been done there. Few days later, he sent us a full list of things which he would like us to pay.
ð September 27th : the broker requests me to pay 15, 500rs for the reparation of the 2 couches: I accept (trusting him for the quotation he has showed – however, we did a quotation on our side, and it doesn’t come at more than 10,000rs).
ð September 28th: the broker requests me to pay 15,500rs for the couches + polish of dining table and chairs (2,000rs) + Electric work (1,000rs) + Gas stove ring replacement( 250rs) + clearing of flower pots (500rs) + cleaning of the house (2000rs) + loss incurred due to earlier determination ( 5250) + brokerage (12,222rs). The total of expenses comes to 37,724rs. We of course refuse all the details mentioned in the list, as we did not damage the table and chairs and we consider that the rest is not of our responsibility. As for the flower pots, the broker told my boyfriend the last day that it could please the next tenant, so he could let it in.
ð October 1st : the broker requests me to pay 15,500 for the couches + polish of dining table and chairs (2,800rs) + electric work (2,000rs) + gas stove ring replacement (250rs) + clearing of flower pots (500rs) + Cleaning of the house (2,000rs) + plumbing work (2,500rs) + servicing of sliding window (1,500rs). Total cost: 25, 050rs. We are very amazed because prices have changed and new things have come up.
The situation so far is that the broker does not want to refund the full deposit back. We agreed on paying 15,500rs for the couches which our cats scratched, but we do not agree on the list he is giving us.
For now, he retains 25,050rs for damage and 25,000 for the pending bills (electricity) which should come in October.
I would like to know what is my right and how can I get my deposit back ? I feel my broker is trying to get money from me, but I have no way to prove it.
This situation is very uncomfortable for me as I do not know the Indian law, and being in France it is hard for me to handle the situation. My boyfriend in Bangalore faces the same distance problems.
In advance, many thanks for your precious help and have a good day ahead.
Cathydja Patel & Rahul Kumar
Asked 4 months ago in Property Law from Mumbai, Maharashtra
Well, this landlord and his son in law seem to be a crook who should be dealt with very sternly.
Ask your boy friend who seem to ave Indian connections lodge complaint of cheating and criminal intimidation and criminal breach of trust.
The landlord can not certainly retain the security deposit and hence the complaint lodged with local police should deal with this issue.
If the police shows little concern to your complaint , you should get back the money easliy.
1)it does appear that landlord is trying to fleece you
2)you are not liable to pay the brokerage charges , cleaning of house , and other items on the list
3) you can issue legal notice to landlord to refund your security deposit
4)if landlord refuses to do so you can file suit to recover the amount but expenses would be more than amount sought to be recovered by you
5) for filing any police complaint against landlord for cheating your presence would be necessary
The tenant has the remedy of setting off the security deposit from the rental of the last month of the tenancy. This is a very potent weapon in the hands of the tenant to discipline an unscrupulous landlord but it seldom wielded due to ignorance. Be that as it may, if the last rent has been paid then the situation is irretrievable now, which leaves you with the only remedy of filing a suit for recovery of security deposit with interest against the landlord.
Immediately issue a legal notice with the help of a lawyer, if you willing to take legal action against the broker, if there is any clause in the rent agreement then ok, otherwise he is bound to pay full amount to you, but there is a deference of Rs. 10,000/- so it will be better to settled the matter amicably because the cost of lawyer's notice and other litigation expenses may be more then that.
remain you have right to claim your money back through civil court along with the interest and compensation for mental harassment.
Feel Free to Call
Advocate, New Delhi
1. It appears that the broker has taken you for a ride.
2. You are not supposed to pay for the regular wear and tear of the furniture and the premises unless you have caused some unnatural damage to the said properties.
3. Lodge a Money Suit claiming refund of the said amount deposited with him as advance as per the greement with interest, damage and cost.
4. The broker will come to the negotiation table on receipt of the notice from the Court.
It is not necessary to accept the broker's unreasonable demand in this regard and in fact you should not deal with the broker, instead contact directly the house owner sitting in US about this.
If there is no proper response from either, then you may issue a legal notice to the owner at his US address and ask him to return the deposit amount or else you would sue him at US itself for recovery and since he resides in US he will be bound by the US laws in this regard.
This will make the broker tumbling down with your payment or else he will remain subtle and non-responsive to all your efforts.