New Delhi is among the world’s top 10 most expensive locations for expatriate rental property, according to a 2009 study by Mercer Consulting. Until a few of years ago, most multinational companies would provide expat employees with luxurious housing options like large farmhouses featuring world-class facilities. Today, however, an increasing number of companies are opting for luxury condominiums which provide the same kind of facilities but at a lower price.

The Process

Here’s the process you are most likely to follow while renting a property in Delhi:

  1. Decide where you want to live and investigate the water, electric supply in that area, if the area is close to your office, local markets, schools and hospitals. Does it have a fair share of expats in the community? Also, browse through the various property websites to get an idea of the fair rent for that locality.
  2. Search for dealers. Get references of some property agents in that area. Look through advertisements in newspapers and look through property portals.
  3. Shortlist and brief property agents. Tell them about your requirements and the rent that you want to pay; verify the security deposit and brokerage fees. Often the agents ask for one months rent as a fee. Then, ask the agent to select the most appropriate properties for you a day before you visit the area. You will most likely go through several agents in order to have enough flats to look at. Try to make several appointments in a day if you are searching in the weekend.
  4. Check the property thoroughly. Ensure that it has not been vacant for long. Check the utilities, electricity supply and drainage system in the area; ensure there is no unnecessary leakage of water and that all electricity connections work. Make sure you talk to the landlord directly about problems in the flat before moving in. Getting many basic repairs can become a long and patience-testing experience. It would obviously be best to find a flat without significant problems.
  5. Make an offer. Usually it will be house owner who will make you the offer. However, you can negotiate a little. In Delhi, house owners usually ask for two months’ rent as security deposit and a month’s rent in advance.
  6. Sign the lease. Thoroughly check the terms and conditions mentioned in the agreement and complete all the paper work before you actually move in.

The landlord might want to see your passport and will most probably keep a copy of it. They may also require photographs and your address in your home country so that they can register you with the police (a routine process in Delhi).

The Delhi Rent Act (http://www.docstoc.com/search/The-Delhi-Rent-Act/) stipulates specifications regarding the landlord and the tenant, of registration of tenancy agreements, standard rent, rent payable and other charges payable. It also clearly defines the duties of the tenant and the landlord and the recovery of possession under different circumstances. It has been designed to protect both the tenant and the owner.

Lease Agreements

Lease agreements should be typed on government-issued “stamp paper”, signed on each page by both the tenant and the landlord, and notarized. The following is a list of elements typical to most lease agreements in Delhi.

  1. Lease agreements are to be signed in multiples of 11 months.
  2. A Leave and License Agreement (which is a lease) generally does not exceed three years.
  3. You can either have your company lease the property, where your company pays the deposit and rent, or lease it yourself, where you will be making the payment yourself.
  4. The security deposit required is usually two months’ rent, which is to be paid in advance or in some cases, in two or three installments if it is agreeable to the landlord. It will be reimbursed to when you leave the house.
  5. Apart from the rent, you will also have to pay your electricity charges, cooking gas, water charges, building maintenance, and society membership charges as applicable. Utilities such as water and electricity are usually not included in the rent. This should be outlined in the contract.
  6. The termination clause is important in a lease agreement as it outlines the period of the contract, and the notice required for dissolution. In certain cases, you may be required to give the landlord the rent for the complete duration of the contract, or for the notice period remaining. Typically the notice period for termination is between 1 and 3 months. You could also negotiate the terms of the termination clause with your landlord.

Indicative Rents

According to global real estate consultant Cushman & Wakefield, central Delhi locations have witnessed appreciation in rentals as demand in these locations was driven up by expatriates who have the ability to pay higher rentals. A majority of the south Delhi locations, too, registered an increase in the range of 7-11 percent primarily due to limited scope of development and buoyant demand.

The cost of rentals vary greatly in Delhi, and although certain neighbourhoods are more expensive than others, there can be a wide gap of rental prices within the same area. At the low end, expect to pay at least Rs. 15,000 for a one-bedroom or about Rs. 30,000 for a 2/3 bedroom apartment in a good neighborhood. You can safely expect to pay upwards of Rs 50,000 for 3/4 bedroom house (with servant quarters if possible) in a gated or up-scale South Delhi community.

For a latest view of the rental markets you can visit these websites:

Local property dealers can help find the best accommodation on a commission basis, which is normally equivalent to one-month’s rent. National dailies like the ‘The Times of India’ and ‘Hindustan Times’ and their supplements ‘Times Properties’ and ‘HT Estates’ also provide information about the prevailing property rates in Delhi.

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