BENGALURU: City landlords are not taking prospective tenants at their word. They hire detectives to check if they are who they say they are. And yes, singles and people from certain parts of India would invite more scrutiny.The good news is that this service is still seeing only a lukewarm response and no dastardly acts by tenants are being exposed.
“This is an upcoming service,” says Sharath Kumar, founder of iCrest, an agency working from Church Street. Over the last one year, they have received requests from about eight to ten clients.Nikhil from Lynx Detective Agency says this service has been around for long except that the client profile has changed and the volume of requests have risen. “Earlier only people with big commercial properties used to approach us with this request, but now even regular people who are looking to rent out apartments are hiring a detective,” he says, adding that most people still rely on the age-old photocopies of identity and address proofs. Nikhil’s agency gets about three tenant-verification requests a month, which is low compared to the popular pre-matrimonial checks which brings in 20 to 30 clients a month. “Landlords are not worried enough to spend on these background checks,” he says. Rentals are not as high as they are in Mumbai or elsewhere, so they don’t invest too much into the process.
Sharath says that landlords ask for regular identity, permanent address and current employment checks. Nikhil adds that he is also asked to check whether a person has a criminal record or if he or she had a problem at the earlier residence. “We go to the nearby police station, check court records even for traffic violations, and go to offices and previous residences,” says Nikhil.
What is causing this increasing anxiety? It could be experiences the landlords have had, says Nikhil, of rents not being paid on time, damage to property and premises being used for illegal activities. “We once found out that the tenants had not paid their rent for ten months in their previous place of residence,” says Nikhil, adding that the offences uncovered are generally minor.
Sharath says no particular incident has triggered this caution. “They just want to ensure that they rent it out to the right people,” he says. The requests come from people of all age groups and across professions, but mostly it is from people who live abroad.
You do not have to be doing offbeat jobs to come under scrutiny. Checks are requested even for people with ‘regular’ jobs such as for IT professionals and bankers. “The landlords request is to find out if the person is indeed employed with that company or staying at that permanent address,” he says. Prices quoted for this service is anywhere between Rs 1,000 and Rs 15,000. Nikhil says that he could not offer this service for anything below Rs 10,000 because it takes atleast a week to do a thorough check.
Quick lowdown on the help
FEEs Rs 1,000- Rs 15,000
Checks: Criminal record, identity and address checks, employment details
Requests per month:About two to three a month