Sunday, 8 May 2016

To Let - Joys and Woes

In my post ‘On Building A House’ dated 10.10.2010, i have narrated the joys of building a house. In my post ‘Income Tax Extra’ of 07.09.2011 i have narrated how i found a tenant who was agreeable to take over from me the burden of Income Tax on the rent.

When we occupied my house after my retirement, i constructed in the compound, a small one-room house with a kitchenette and toilet attached to it. The idea was to let it out so that someone would be present in the compound when we go out.

I got the first tenant even before construction was completed. She was in the IT sector working for a nearby commercial establishment. After about two and a half years, her marriage was fixed and so she left.

The second tenant came even before the first one was to vacate. Like the first one, she was unmarried. She was working at a nearby College. About 2 years after she occupied, cupid struck her and she got married. The boy was working in another city and this girl continued to stay in my house.  Her husband used to visit her occasionally and they lived happily. The wife and i joined in their happiness.

And then she got pregnant. As the pregnancy advanced, she was in need of support. The visit of her husband became more frequent but she needed additional female support. They decided to bring in her mother-in-law. The one-room house became insufficient for the growing family and so they shifted.

I was lucky to get another unmarried working girl as the third tenant. When she occupied the house the wife joked that the house would bring good luck to her and she would soon find a life partner. However, before that could happen and after about a year, she found a better job in another place and vacated our house.

And then my problem started. A person who was working at an adjacent industrial establishment as Security Guard came to me and told me that he and his wife wished to take the house on rent. He requested me to reduce the rent by a substantial amount. As compensation, he offered to take care of my garden. That was the time when my part-time gardening assistant had left. Hence i agreed to the proposal and the couple occupied the house.

After two months, the man started neglecting my garden. This situation worsened gradually and he completely stopped working in my garden. Arguments followed and so i asked him to vacate the house. He took another month to comply. When he did vacate, i noticed that he had made the bath room very dirty.

I got the room repainted and got the toilet and the kitchenette thoroughly cleaned.

The next tenants were two sisters, both unmarried, and with jobs.  However, after 2 months, they shifted to another city and hence vacated the house of course after giving the required notice.

This was the time when within one month, we were to visit Daughter I in U S A for a little over 2 months. I was eager to let out the house before our leaving. We would have loved to have a girl or two, as our next tenant/s but time was short. So i agreed to let the house to two brothers, the elder of whom was undertaking the work of sinking tube wells, the younger one working with a private firm.

Before the 2 girls were to vacate, i accepted from these 2 brothers Advance Rent for one month. One of the terms was that the tenants would deposit 2 months’ rent as Advance. The elder brother promised that he would pay the balance amount at the time of occupying the house.

After this, a couple came to take the house; they seemed to be decent people and were ready to deposit 2 months’ rent as Advance immediately but since i had already received an Advance from the brothers, i had to decline the proposal.              

The house was vacated by the girls 10 days before we were to leave for U S A and the 2 brothers immediately occupied it. However, they did not pay the promised remaining amount of the Advance. The elder brother said that he would pay it within a couple of days. They did not do that either before we left or thereafter. I had told them to pay it to my nephew who stays with us.

By the time we returned from U S A, the brothers, particularly the elder one, had created a lot of trouble. So i had to adopt various means (some of which are not very gentlemanly) to force them to vacate. And they did so without paying the electricity charges for the entire period! L For me, the fact that i got rid of them was compensation enough!  And they had left the toilet hopelessly dirty.

I remembered the plight of my neighbor who had let out the ground floor of his building to a builder. After a few months he stopped paying the rent and Electricity Bills. The tenant even physically assaulted my neighbor after an argument. Luckily for my neighbor, the tenant’s car, parked just outside the house, mysteriously caught fire and was completely burnt. (There were different stories about how the car caught, or was set on, fire.) The tenant had vacated only after this, to a great relief to my neighbor.

My present tenant works as an Assistant Manager at the adjacent office of an industrial establishment and lives alone. His family lives in a city in a neighboring State. He is a decent man.

However, i fervently wish that our next tenant/s would be working girl/s. All the five girls who had stayed in the house earlier, were a joy to have with us at the next door and all of them had become almost our family-members, sharing festivals and other joyous moments. The wife had almost adopted them as our daughters.:)))  If unmarried, we wouldn’t be less happy if they get married and fly – or are flown or blown - away!


1. Just before the third girl occupied, a young man had come to me and wished to take the house. He said that he and his just-married wife would stay there. I believed him and took the Advance Rent. Next day i received a call from a man who identified himself as the young man’s elder brother and requested that i refund the amount to the caller. It transpired that the young man had ‘lifted’ the girl from her house against her parents’ wishes (perhaps with her consent). Although my inquisitiveness was aroused, i did not ask about the details. I said that i would return the money only to the person who had paid it to me. Luckily for me, the prospective third tenant-girl came just at that time and paid the Advance Rent. Soon thereafter, the young man came and asked for the money back. I complied, suppressing my desire to hear the full story which appeared to be filmy!

2. I had a somewhat similar experience just before the two sisters occupied the house. Seeing the ‘To Let’ board, a girl came and told me that she and her fiancé would like to take the house. To my query, she replied that their marriage would take place “in the near future”. I did not relish the idea of having live-in partners as my tenants but rationalized that such relationships are not illegal and had even been recognized by the Supreme Court of India. I asked her to bring in her “fiancé” which she promptly did on the next day. She insisted on my receiving the Advance Rent but i dodged it and told her to pay after one week. Again luckily for me, the 2 sisters, who a few days’ after became my tenants, came and paid the Advance Rent. I promptly telephoned to the other girl to say that she need not come. She pleaded with me and almost wept, saying that i had not kept my promise. I thanked my stars for  having been able to wriggle out of a tricky situation!          

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