The article is written by Ansruta Debnath, a law student of National Law University Odisha. This article talks about the registration of rent agreements and how they can be done online in certain states like Maharashtra and Delhi.
It has been published by Rachit Garg.
With the rise of technology comes the increasing need for ease of access with government procedures as well. Governments have been trying to streamline various processes that people have to undertake regularly. One example is the registration of rent agreements. To incentivise the creation of formal rent agreements between a landlord and their tenant, certain state governments have launched e-registration mechanisms for these rent agreements. These allow for easy drafting, signing and registration of a rent agreement from one’s own home. This article enumerates the states and union territories that have functioning e-registration portals. Further, a case study has been done on the process of e-registration in the portal provided by the state of Maharashtra.
Rent agreements and whether their registration is mandatory
Rent agreements are written or oral contracts that enumerate the rights and obligations of the landlord and tenant of a particular property. They can also be called “leave and licence” agreements and are extremely useful to protect the rights of the parties to a rent agreement in case of disputes. Without a rent agreement, the rights of either party can be easily infringed upon.
According to Section 17 of the Registration Act, 1908 which applies all over India (except Jammu and Kashmir) “leases of immovable property from year to year, or for any term exceeding one year, or reserving a yearly rent” must be registered. Thus, any rent agreement which involves the leasing of a property to a tenant for more than twelve months has to be mandatorily registered. Otherwise, registration is not necessary.
But, according to the Model Tenancy Act, 2021, there is a mandatory need for a written agreement that needs to be executed between the landlord and the tenant. The agreement must contain all the necessary details of the lease including but not limited to the pre-decided rent amount period of tenancy, terms for rent revision, advance payment of security deposit and causes for landlord’s entry upon the property/premises.
However, housing and land and thus by extension rent is a state subject. Hence the 2021 Act is just a suggestive Act with no enforceable nature. To date, only Assam is the State which has adopted this Act through the Assam Tenancy Act, 2021.
Despite the non-mandatory nature of registration of rent agreements in most states, it is always recommended to register your rental agreements. Various disputes have arisen even in eleven-month rent agreements but they were considered non-admissible in courts because they weren’t registered. Even if registering is not done, notarizing these short-term agreements by a notary and paying the stamp duty can also lend credibility to them in courts.
The availability of online registration
The number of people engaging in rent agreements has been increasing. To make the process of registration of rent agreements easier and incentivise their formation in the first place, many states have launched online portals for the registration of rent agreements. The following are the states/UTs that have the online mechanisms for the registration process.
- Jammu and Kashmir
- Tamil Nadu
- West Bengal
Clicking on the names of the States/UTs above will lead you to their online registration portals. Registration procedures are similar in all states. The complete step-by-step process is mentioned below.
Further, there are multiple third-party operators that provide online agreement drafting and registration services of rent agreements in all states. But it is recommended to do these processes either through state government websites, or if not available, through going to the concerned office and using the offline method by using state government approved agreement templates.
Online Rent Agreement registration procedure in Maharashtra
The process of registration is similar, if not identical in most states, that provide this facility for online registration of rental agreements. For the benefit of the reader, this article will give the detailed procedure of the online registration of a rental agreement in the State of Maharashtra.
- First, the website for the registration of rental agreements as provided by the Maharashtra government needs to be visited.
- Then an account has to be created on the website, by filling in the district of the property that is involved in the rent agreement and a new password.
- Once the profile has been successfully created, a new page on “Property Details” opens which then needs to be filled. On this page, the details of the property involved in the rent agreement, like the detailed property address is required.
- After the “Property Details” page is filled and submitted, a token number will be generated. This token number is very important as that along with the previously set password will be required for re-logging in the newly made profile on the website.
- The next page that shows up is “Party Details” which needs the information of the parties/people involved in the rent agreement. Thus, for the most basic rent agreement, details of at least two parties must be there- the tenant and the landlord.
- When the filling of details of one party, for eg, the tenant is done, one can click the “Add Party” button at the end of the page to add in the details of the other parties. This can be done multiple times based on the requirement and number of parties involved in the rent agreement.
- After the “Party Details” page has been successfully saved, the next step is to fill in the ‘identifier’ or witness details. There needs to be a minimum of two witnesses.
- Next, one needs to go to the next page called the “Rent and other terms” page. Here, details of the rent like the amount of rent, duration of rent needs to be duly filled in.
- The above steps involve the drafting of the rent agreement. Once these steps are properly completed, users can modify them as and when necessary before the final submission.
- The agreement then needs to be e-signed and executed.
- The thumb impressions and pictures of the involved parties must be uploaded next.
- After the thumb impressions and pictures have been verified, KYC details have to be put in and the same verified.
- Finally, the pdf, which has been generated can be submitted along with the proof of payment of stamp duty and registration fee, the details of which are given in the next step.
- Finally, the stamp duty must be paid by the generation of the online challan receipt. The main page mentions that stamp duty and registration fees should be paid online through GRAS (https://gras.mahakosh.gov.in). The stamp duty varies from district to district in the state and is notified on the website itself. On the main page, there is an option to calculate the required stamp duty and registration fee which can be easily accessed and used.
- There are certain pre-requisites for the procedure to be completed sitting just at home. They are mentioned on the main webpage. They are the following-
- Biometric Device (Thumb Scanner)
- Google Chrome/ Microsoft Edge
- Aadhaar Number
In situations when online registration cannot be done, the application needs to be submitted to the office of the concerned District Sub-Registrar. Most state websites also provide templates for the agreements and detailed procedure that needs to be followed. Detailed information on the appropriate stamp duty and registration fee are also readily available on the concerned state website.
Tracking of the status of a rent agreement registered online
The status of the registration can be tracked through the website after logging in to the profile through the allotted token number and password. Further, visiting the concerned Sub-Registrar’s office to ensure that registration has successfully occurred can also be done, but it is not necessary. The status of the registration can also be checked and tracked through SMS.
Grievance redressal mechanism for registration of rent agreements
The grievance redressal mechanism is prescribed in the Maharashtra Government grievance portal. The complaint can be filed online, its status checked as well through the user profile. Further, a complaint to an Independent Grievance Authority can also be done. It is important to note that any complaint received from the citizen will have to be responded to by the Sub Registrar Officer/ Collector of Stamps within 7 working days. In case of no response, the complaint will be automatically escalated by the grievance redressal system to the Joint District Registrar / Additional Controller of Stamps who will serve as the Level 2 redressal officer. Level 2 officers i.e. JDR/ACS will have to respond to the complaint within 10 working days of the receipt of the complaint.
Divisional Commissioners (Konkan Division) have been identified as the Independent Grievance Redressal Authorities (IGRA), by the Government of Maharashtra. The IGRA will handle the grievances in the following scenarios:
- In case of no response, the system will not auto-escalate the grievance to the IGRA. Citizens will have an option to escalate the complaint to the respective Divisional Commissioner (Konkan Division), who has been declared as the IGRA by the Government of Maharashtra.
- In case of responded grievances, which are closed by Level 2 officers, but the resolution provided is not satisfactory to the citizen, citizens will have an option to escalate the complaint to the respective IGRA.
Thus, states providing e-registration facilities for registration of rent agreements allow for their drafting, viewing, modifying, signing and subsequently submitting and registering completely online, effectively aiding so many people. Now, every state and union territory must start implementing this system to ensure hassle-free registration of rent agreements.
- Rent agreement registration process – Charges, Documents, Format, Online/ Offline
- How to register a Rent Agreement? | Business – Times of India
- Is Registration of Rent Agreement mandatory? | Business – Times of India
- What happens if you don’t have a rent agreement? – Times of India
- Explainer: Model Tenancy Act and how it is different from Rent Control Act of 1948-India News, Firstpost
- Your Guide to Executing a Registered Rent Agreement in Maharashtra
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