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Househunting horrors

If you are a non-vegetarian bachelor wanting to rent a house in Noida, be ready to face landlords’ prejudice and brokers’ extortion

Every youngster in India wants to live the bachelor life – a life without any responsibilities where you can spend all your salary on yourself and live a carefree life. Well, that is the popular perception and it’s far removed from reality.

If you are looking for a house in Noida on rent, being a bachelor is literally a curse. When me and my roommate were looking to shift to a much better apartment in a modern society with all amenities, there were numerous flats available, as evident on apps like 99acres and MagicBricks.

And whenever we called the broker dealing with the property, here is what the conversation was like, every single time:

“Do you have a 2BHK available for two people”

“Yes. You will get it. So are you a family?”

“No. we are bachelors”

Bachelor ke liye milna mushkil hai” (It’s difficult to find a house for a bachelor)

For a whole month, we heard this conversation numerous times. If there were 30 flats available, only 10 of them were for bachelors – and those too were ones which we didn’t like or didn’t have the facilities we were expecting.

A plush society in the city displayed on every building a huge notice saying, “No bachelor tenants allowed”.  In another one we liked  in Sector 76, when we called the owners, their first response was that it was not available for bachelors. Since the owner was Bengali, we tried to form a native connection and convince him. He said, “But you are bachelors, and renting you my flat would be taking a big risk”.

What risk, we asked. He had the same answer: “You are bachelors. You know how they are”. After much convincing, we finally managed to convince him, and he was asking for a rent of 15,500 for his 2BHK property – which in that area was a tad high.

“See, if you want you can take it. I am not going to lower the price even by a rupee – because there is a huge risk factor associated with bachelors”, was his response when we asked him to lower the rent. We decided not to take that flat.

My question is: Were these people not bachelors themselves once? So what is the problem with us? We are just two hard-working journalists looking for a place to stay.

But being a bachelor wasn’t the only problem we faced. We met a landlord’s family staying in a flat on the sixth floor of a high rise in Sector 78. They liked us, and also said that they didn’t have any such reservations about bachelors. A verbal agreement was reached and it was decided that we would move on August 1, once the family shifts to Mumbai.

That night I got a call. “Aap toh Bengali hai, matlab aap toh non-veg khaate honge (You are Bengali, and that must mean you eat non-veg). I admitted that we cook meat, sensing what was coming. “We can’t allow non-veg food in our house. We can’t give you the flat”, the voice on the other side of the phone said. These people were shifting to Mumbai – so how would it matter if we cook non-veg in their Delhi home? I asked. “Ashudh ho jayega  ghar” (The house will be impure) , he replied.

On top of all this, we have to tackle property dealers. The amount of brokerage they charge is crazy. While the norm is that they shouldn’t charge more than half a month’s rent, most of them ask for 20 days or even a full month’s rent.

We contacted at least 10 brokers, who said that they would charge a full month’s rent as brokerage. One called us saying that there was a flat available but when we went there and called him back, they didn’t pick up our calls. Most of them didn’t even show their faces, and send us to check out flats on our own. So, why should we pay them so much money?

Finally, we found a broker who was charging 15 days rent as brokerage –but he had a 3BHK flat available. There were no 2BHKs for bachelors. We decided to go see it. We found it suited our needs, and despite the high rent, decided to take it. Our budget had anyway been nudged upwards by all the rejections.

Now, when we had to vacate our old accommodation, a very old apartment in Sector 25 – where the plaster was peeling off, and water was seeping through the roof, as the owners did not care to spend on maintenance – the owner started finding excuses to not return our security deposit.

As per the Noida Rent Control, the owner had to return the security deposit, because we had given him notice of more than one month prior to vacating the house. But there he was, refusing to pay us our deposit till the last moment. And when he did, he deducted more than half of it, saying that it was for cleaning charges.

As we moved into our new apartment, I made a firm resolution. Even if the roof falls down, I am not looking for another property in Noida till I get married. It is too much of a hassle.