• Bangalore offers many rental options, and given that most people want to keep commuting through the city’s congested streets to a minimum, the best approach to finding a home is to decide which neighborhood you would like to live in based on where you work. Finding a home is not as severely competitive as it can be in cities like New York, London or Mumbai, but Bangalore’s real estate market is dynamic, so acting sooner rather than later is advised, even though it is unlikely you will have too many people making offers on the same property.

    The Rental Process

    If you are on an employment visa in India, it is likely that your company will help in this process, or that accommodation is built into your package, in which case the rental/lease will be in your company’s name. If it is not, this is how things usually unfold:

    Once you have located a property, either on your own, or through a real-estate agent (recommended), you can negotiate the rent and rental conditions with the owner. At this stage, you do not need to have any documents with you. Most rental agreements are signed for a validity of 11 months. These are usually renewable, but if you intend to do renovations (to be agreed with the owner) or put in a lot of fixtures, you may be able to negotiate a longer rental period so that you have more certainty. You are also expected to pay a refundable security deposit of 10 months rent, which is returned to you without interest when you leave or terminate the agreement. Some landlords will ask for an arbitrary amount as deposit though, but it should not veer too far away from the 10-month rule of thumb.

    Negotiations are all verbal at this stage. If you are working through a real estate agent, you may not meet the owner face-to-face until the time comes to sign the agreement, and negotiations will have to be done through the real estate agent. If the owner is being represented by someone with a power of attorney, ask for a copy of the power of attorney, which should be on government stamp paper.

    Make sure also of the termination clause – usually the termination should favor the tenant (by giving anywhere from 1-3 months’ notice, or rent for that period if adequate notice is not given). The owner should only be able to terminate if there is material breach of the agreement (rent not paid, unlawful use of premises).

    If the house comes with fittings (fan, air conditioners, water heaters, other appliances), or is fully furnished, make sure that everything is in working condition, and listed in the agreement as the owner can deduct damages from the security deposit when you vacate the premises.

    Once you have reached a verbal understanding, the owner will provide you a draft rental agreement. Be sure to show this to a lawyer, and make any changes suggested. When the draft is agreed upon, the owner will take it out on government stamp paper (of not less than Rs. 100) and the agreement will be signed in front of two witnesses, one brought by the owner, one brought by you. At this stage you will have to pay the security deposit, and the cheque number will be mentioned in the agreement. Do not pay cash as a security deposit. You may need to provide the owner with a copy of your passport and visa, and your employment letter, if requested.

    The Lease Agreement

    The main points covered in an agreement are:

    • Term: typically 11 months, or longer if negotiated
    • Subletting: subletting is usually never allowed in India, and there may also be a clause saying you will not use the premises for commercial purposes.
    • Addresses: Your permanent address, the owner’s permanent address and the full address of the premises.
    • Rent: the amount, and date payable.
    • Utilities: water, cooking gas and electricity charges are generally to be paid by the tenant. Make sure the owner has paid up all charges up to the point you move in. In apartment buildings, you may be asked to pay the maintenance fee (for security, lift, gardener, power back-up). Make sure the maintenance fee does not include repairs or improvements – this is the owner’s responsibility.
    • Repairs: unless due to damage by the tenant, repairs are to be done and paid for by the owner.
    • Deposit: the amount of security deposit and cheque number, date should be mentioned in the agreement.
    • Termination: Date of normal termination of agreement, and notice required in case of early termination (usually 1-3 months) by the tenant, and clause for termination in case of material breach by the tenant (non-payment of rent, or misuse/damage of premises).
    • Renewal: Many agreements come with a built-in option to mutually renew the agreement for a further 11 month period, with a 5% increase in rent. This protects the tenant from massive rent hikes.
    • Fittings, description: Full description of the extent of the house and what the tenant can use (square footage, balcony/terrace access, car park usage), and fittings and appliances provided by the owner.

    There is usually no clause for insurance, as it is only the actual building that is often covered. If you wish to insure your belongings, you would need to take out a policy to cover your household items.

    Rental Prices

    Approximate rental amounts by area/property type:

    Area Property type Bedrooms Rent
    Koramangala Villa/Bungalow 3-4 50 – 80,000
    Koramangala Apartments 3 – 4 20 – 40,000 depends on area
    BTM layout Apartments 3 17 – 30,000 depends on area
    HSR Layout Apartments 3 22 – 23,000
    HSR Layout Duplex 3 30 – 40,000
    HSR Layout Villa 3 – 5 20 – 1,20,000
    Sarjapur Road Villa 3 – 4 25 – 60,000
    Indira Nagar Apartment 3 – 4 25 – 60,000
    Indira Nagar Villa 3 – 5 45 – 90,000
    City Centre Villa 3 – 5 40 – 1,20,000 depends on area
    Marathahalli Villa 3 – 4 20 – 80,000
    Whitefield Villa 3 – 6 20 – 3,00,000

    You can visit the websites in the “Finding a home” section to see current prices for rental properties in Bangalore.

    Keep in mind that neighborhoods in Bangalore are often very mixed, and offer housing in a very wide range, with equally differing qualities, so you could pay twice as much for a well-appointed apartment or house on the same street as you would for a more downscale property a few doors away. The best way is to assess either by asking neighbors what they pay, or by simply evaluating whether you are getting what you want for the money you are willing to spend.