Roommates

The Advent of Gender-Neutrality While Choosing a Rental Home in India

The current real estate market is booming in terms of rental homes and the demand for gender-neutrality (mixed-gender) while renting a paying guest home is increasing day-by-day.

It has been a long-standing issue in real-estate. Home-owners are concerned about the genders of the tenants they rent out their homes to.

Tenant rights

It can’t even be said that they’re unjustly concerned. In the past, a lot of ruckuses has been caused to both – the tenants as well as the owners – just because their lifestyle, preferences, and temperaments didn’t match.

The Issues

Today’s youth, however, are actively searching for paying guest accommodations where mixed-gender co-living arrangements are allowed. It does bring to mind the various scenarios one might encounter if that does become a reality.

  • Housing society rules are the first hurdle for this type of living arrangement. Though there are actually no laws preventing owners to rent their homes to tenants of their choice, a lot of housing societies discriminate based on a number of reasons.

Housing society

  • Some of these are – bachelors, males/female tenants not allowed, tenants of a particular caste or a religion and foreigners. A few cases have been recorded where owners have been denied the opportunity to rent to such tenants because of the housing society rules. 

discrimination against tenants

  •  A dozen Bollywood films with the boy-meets-girl-and-they-fall-in-love storyline come to mind. There’s absolutely no guarantee that mixed-gender tenants will not pursue romantic relationships, which in turn, can lead to being a nuisance for the homeowners and other tenants sharing the living quarters.

Couple

  • Another issue is hygiene. Oh man, that’s another monster to tame! Generally speaking, women tend to be tidier than men, with a few exceptions of course. It can cause friction among the “roommates”, so to speak. But how to conquer the abundance of hair (both sexes) and the never-ending issue of “who left the toilet seat up?!”

Unhygenic

  • Another very serious issue is that of sexual harassment. The increasing number of molestation and rape cases in India provides a very grim picture. Not everyone is like that, but who knows what type of situation will arise?

Sexual harassment

  • And of course, there are parents, to say the least. No parent in their right mind (at least in India) will allow their children to stay in a mixed-gender rental apartment.

Parents

Why the curiosity, though?

The above-mentioned issues need to be considered before even thinking about such pg accommodations. But that hasn’t stopped the youth of our country from being more than ready to live in such rental accommodations.

Most of the people who are searching for such accommodations are well-read, progressive, career-oriented youth who are mostly job aspirants or are relocating for employment.

Yes, many complications are possible, but if a strict code of conduct is maintained by home-owners, such situations can be avoided.

What does the law say?

There is no such law in the Constitution which prevents Indian citizens from residing in any place in the country. Discrimination due to caste, creed, or sex is not allowed. 

However, there are certain bye-laws (guidelines) which housing societies have to adhere to. Now, these bye-laws aren’t actual laws, but many-a-time these are used by societies to disallow home-owners from leasing their property to “unwanted tenants”.

tenant rights

A lot of this is based on moral policing and past experiences. Societies have refused to provide NOC (No Objection Certificates) to owners based on their “interpretation” these bye-laws.

According to the law, however, if any tenant or owner feels that such bye-laws are resulting in unfair treatment and discrimination of tenants by any housing society, they can simply challenge the C.H.S in a court of law after filing a police complaint.

What can be done?

To prevent misconduct by mixed-gender tenants, the following measures can be taken –

  1. The rent agreement should include strict clauses regarding the code of conduct. 
  2. Police verification should be mandatory for each tenant.
  3. A reasonable time curfew can be implemented.
  4. It can be made mandatory to report cases of fraternization (relationships) and sexual misconduct.

Rental agreement

To conclude, the youth of India is ready for gender-neutral rental accommodations. But the above issues need to be handled with care and common sense.

What do you think? Leave your comments below.

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