Renter Beware: 7 Common Problems to Look Out for When Moving Into a New Apartment
Moving into a new apartment in India's crowded cities can be exciting. But it can also mean encountering serious problems if you are not vigilant. Issues like overcharging deposits, outdated amenities, pest infestations, and more can quickly turn your rental experience sour. As a tenant, you need to keep your eyes peeled when apartment hunting and moving in. Here are 7 common apartment problems in India and tips on how to spot them before it's too late.
Excessive Security Deposits
Landlords demanding exorbitant security deposits is an unfortunate norm in India’s rental market. Many landlords ask for 10-12 months' rent as the refundable deposit, which is vastly higher than many tenants can afford.
Red flags include:
Landlord refuses to put deposit amount in the rental agreement or asks for a large portion in cash
Deposit amount is significantly higher than previous apartments in the area
Landlord pushes back or gets angry if you try to negotiate the deposit
Protect yourself by clearly negotiating and formalizing the deposit in the rental agreement before paying any money. Only pay through check or electronic transfer to create records. Also, get receipts for all payments.
Outdated or Broken Amenities
Many landlords promise shiny new amenities in their listings that end up being outdated, broken or completely missing in reality. Scrutinize the details to ensure you will get what was agreed upon.
Watch out for:
Listings using stock photos that look decades old
Vague descriptions like “luxury fixtures” without specifics
Lack of maintenance and repair clauses in the rental agreement
Before moving in, thoroughly inspect and test every amenity - AC, geysers, stove, pipe fittings, etc. Make sure appliances are clean and functional. List any defects and have the landlord sign acknowledgment.
Concealed Structural Issues
Landlords often cover up flaws in the apartment's structure that could present safety issues later. Watch for problems like leaky roofs, faulty wiring, crumbling walls, cracked foundations etc. that are cleverly hidden by fresh paint or false ceilings.
Damp patches or stains on walls and ceilings
Flaking paint or plaster around pipes and outlets
Doors and windows that don't close properly or get stuck
Floors that feel uneven or make creaking noises
Cracks in flooring tiles
Do a thorough walk-through and ask direct questions if you notice anything suspicious. Don't ignore red flags or take the landlord's word.
Signs of Pests and Vermin
Pests like cockroaches, rats and mosquitoes are common in Indian apartments. Unethical landlords often try to mask these infestations which can be difficult and costly for tenants to get rid of later. Keep an eye out for the following signs:
Strange odors coming from cabinets or walls
Muddy trails or holes along walls and floors
Gnaw marks on woodwork and wiring
Greasy smears from insects along corners
Dead bugs in light fixtures or vents
Buzzing and chirping sounds from ceiling and walls
Ask the neighbors about pest problems and have the rental agreement specify pest control responsibilities.
Noise Pollution and Other Nuisances
Many apartment buildings in India suffer from noise issues that make living there unbearable - honking traffic, noisy clubs, barking dogs, loud neighbors etc. Don't just view the property during the day. Visit at night to listen for such nuisance sounds.
Heavy traffic, trains or airplane noise
Music and loud voices from nearby clubs or roads
Sounds of dogs barking and fighting frequently
Loud televisions and radios through walls
Sounds of machinery like elevator motors or pumps
Ask neighbors about noise and whether it disturbs them regularly. Have the landlord address key nuisance issues in writing before finalizing the agreement.
Utilities Issues and Shortages
Many landlords overpromise on provisions like electricity, water and gas availability. But the reality is far less reliable once you move in. Check properly that all utilities are working adequately before signing a lease.
Frequent power fluctuations when switches are turned on
Weak flow from taps; dripping faucets
Geysers with insufficient hot water capacity
Stains on walls and leaks pointing to water seepage
Strange smells when gas stove tops are switched on
Simulate regular usage for 1-2 days like showering with hot water, cooking gas use, running AC at full power etc. to observe actual supply.
Parking Shortages and Constraints
If parking is included make sure you understand exactly where you can park and any limitations. Many tenants getoptimistic promises of open parking that turn into headaches later. Don't take the landlord's word at face value.
Watch out for:
Vague descriptions like “open parking” without slot number or details
Parking space that seems too narrow for your vehicle
Parking rules that prohibit nighttime or weekend parking
Parking far from entrance requiring long walks
Parking slots occupied by other vehicles during visit
Physically examine the parking space. Try parking your vehicle in the allotted spot before signing. Understand all timings and constraints applicable.
Renting an apartment in India's crowded property marketplace requires you to stay alert. But by watching for these 7 common problems and inspecting closely, you can avoid rental disappointments down the road. Know the red flags, listen to your gut, and don't hesitate to push back on anything suspicious before signing. Stay informed and vigilant as you embark on your apartment hunt!