From fabricating land deed documents, to murdering landowners and subleasing rented houses, the dangers of oversight are manifold, says MARRI RAMU

That organised gangs identify open plots and occupy them with the help of fake documents, making original plot owners run around police and courts is a well-known modus operandi. History-sheeters at different police stations and surrendered naxalites involved in criminal cases are usually behind such operations.

One such gang, which tried to eliminate a land owner from Malkajgiri, was busted by Task Force sleuths with the arrest of a surrendered naxalite recently. Even the recent murder of history-sheeter Gore Mohammed in Amberpet was the fall-out of a dispute between his gang and that of his rival, Khaiser, over a land dispute at Ramanthapur, police said.

There is the interesting case of a single woman who has conned many. Without hiring musclemen like other gangs do, she has a unique style of occupying buildings offered on rent. The woman approaches landlords, seeking their buildings on rent, while claiming to hail from an affluent family.

In a few cases, she also claimed to be a close relative of a former Union Minister. Wearing expensive clothes and dropping names of VVIPs, she impressed people and led them to believe that she wanted to run a big office from the premises.

“To gain the landlord’s confidence, she would even issue cheques for the advance amounts instead of money,” a police officer said. Till this point, everything looks a smooth affair. A few months later, however, the woman would rent out portions of the building under sub-lease to others and collect the rents generated.

At the same time, the cheques she gave to the building owner start bouncing due to insufficient money in her account.

“Technically, it is a case of bounced cheques. Although she is evading rent and causing direct monetary loss to the owner, the landlord cannot approach the police because it’s termed a civil dispute and the suggestion is to approach the court concerned,” the officer adds.

The general reluctance of the people in approaching the courts because of the huge lawyer-fees and prolonged litigation is taken advantage of. The woman in question had also demanded a few lakh rupees to vacate!

Similar cases were also reported in Cyberabad police stations.

So, what can landlords do? The age-old adage, prevention is better than cure, holds good in such disputes. Instead of landing into trouble by renting out houses or commercial buildings to such litigant individuals, it is better to cross-check antecedents of prospective tenants.

Leave no stone unturned in verifying the purpose for which the property is being rented out. Draft a detailed rental agreement with the tenant, taking the suggestion of a seasoned lawyer. Provisions relating to vacation and hike of the rent should be incorporated in the agreement, the police advise.

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