This is one of the most burning questions today, and perhaps a painful one for people who are single, especially bachelors. In the Indian context, “bachelor” status is undesirable when it comes to finding accommodation. Never mind that the same people who refuse to rent out their apartments to them are sympathetic towards their own offspring struggling with the same problem abroad or in another city!
Let us look at various aspects of this issue, and how it can be resolved, or at the very least, reduce the discrimination against renting out to bachelors.
Why do people say NO to rent out to bachelors?
Some of the most common reasons and assumptions why bachelors are seen as “bad” tenants are:
- Bachelors do not care about maintaining a clean apartment or ensuring it stays in good condition. This includes the common area.
- They play loud music, have noisy parties that run late into the night, disturbing the peace in the community and creating a nuisance. They don’t care about their neighbors and their feelings.
- Bachelors are insensitive to the heterogenous nature of the apartment complex. They ignore the needs of families with children. They have pool parties and throw their beer bottles around with scant regard for others.
- They waste valuable resources. Take a 3BHK for example. A typical family has 3-5 members but the same space is usually occupied by 6 bachelors, with two per bedroom. This naturally results in higher water consumption, putting a strain on the water supply as well as the sewage processing.
- Bachelors always have too many visitors. This adds stress to the security services and the usage on common facilities, which includes clubhouses when present in the apartment complex.
- Bachelors may not stick to a place of residence for long and this makes them unstable tenants, affecting the owner’s rental income, when compared with families as tenants. They accept job transfers readily and move frequently and this creates problems for the apartment owner.
- Bachelors do not bother to stick to the rules and regulations of the complex and generally ignore them.
The list is long and often unfair and biased.
Are the assumptions true?
Often there are distinct advantages of renting out to bachelors or spinsters. For example, if an owner is planning to relocate back to his/her apartment at some point in time, renting out to bachelors/spinsters is usually the best bet. Tenants who are families usually show some resistance when asked to vacate.
When we did a quick survey, here is what the residents had to say:
- Bachelors make good tenants.
- In an emergency, they are usually the first to volunteer help.
- If the owners of the flat are not staying in the city or staying abroad, bachelors are usually of much more help in taking care of any local chores of the owner.
- Many residents said that they had no problem with bachelor tenants but did not let their flats out to them as they were under the pressure of following their management committee’s rules. Sometimes, large flats are vacant for months simply because the housing society’s rules prohibit renting out to bachelors. Additionally they have to pay non-occupancy charges.
- It is actually profitable to rent to bachelors as they usually do not hesitate to pay higher rents, as they can split the costs with their roommates.
- The problem of bad maintenance of flats are equally prevalent between family tenants and bachelors/spinsters.
The truth is, bachelors are largely non-interfering, occupied with their jobs for most of the day and often make the best tenants.
The existing scenario
Currently, there’s no legal system to prevent Owners/Management Committees from discriminating against bachelors as tenants. Generally, when a housing society is formed, members get together to make a list of terms and conditions, but this is not the law. Often, clauses are added based on their past negative experience with bachelors and complaints received against them. While this is obviously a prejudice and unfair to generalize based on random incidents, not much is being done about it.
The question is, can housing societies make their own set of laws? Usually housing societies have a broad set of byelaws and rules at the time of registration. These help the Management Committee govern the society’s smooth functioning and administration. These rules detail the dos and don’ts, administrative practices such as accounting and other procedures related to leasing/buying an apartment in the complex and common area maintenance. Over a period of time, additional points related to parking rules and other relevant things are added. The goal is to create a harmonious community.
An important aspect here is whether the Management Committee can dictate to the apartment owner about leasing or renting out the apartment. Although the owner has the legal right to do so, because he is part of the housing society, the Committee has a say in it. Also, under the Societies Act, it is legal for the housing society to raise the maintenance charges on flats that are leased.
At the end of the day, the truth is, every individual has the fundamental right to reside where he/she wants regardless of his/her status, gender, religion and food habits. Discrimination against a tenant tantamounts to infringement of rights.
We’ve noticed that Owners/Management Committees prefer not to add tenants, particular bachelors, to their ADDA. They are also not exactly clear as to why. But we feel that not adding them can result in the following serious issues:
- The tenant is in the dark about the Rules and Regulations of the Society, which is usually shared with ADDA members. This further keeps them unaware of important announcements in the Society, leading to a self-fulfilling prophecy. So how can they be expected to adhere to these rules and requirements when they have no idea what they are?
- The tenant is kept out of the loop from discussions related to the parental angle of the residents at the ADDA. Since they are not members, they never see the photos of events they have missed. If they were members, this would have made them feel included giving them a sense of family, cultivating responsibility for the community. They would definitely want to participate and contribute to making the community a safe place.
At ADDA, we strongly encourage every community to refrain from discriminating against bachelors/single women or anyone for that matter, while renting out an apartment.
Here are some suggestions on how renting out to bachelors/spinsters can be a harmonious experience for all:
- Ensure that you make it clear in the rental agreement what is expected from tenants to make their Apartment Complex a dream place to live in.
- Rather than arbitrarily refuse to rent out to bachelors/single women or impose restrictions, use Verification services to ensure their trust-worthiness.
Tip: Use your ADDA’s Verification Services to do a background check on prospective tenants.
- Be transparent about the society’s rules and regulations by including tenants as ADDA members.
- Include them in the activities of the Apartment complex.
Are you a bachelor/single woman who has faced discrimination while trying to rent a flat in a good community?
Are you an apartment owner who is on the fence about renting to bachelors?
We want to know your views – please share in the comments or tweet to us at @ADDA, or join the conversation on Facebook.