Expats can add finding accommodation in India to the already extensive list of adventures they're going to have when they move.
Housing options vary greatly between areas, but expats moving to cities like Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore can expect a smaller selection and more competition than in other locations. Overall, there are a few general points to bear in mind while doing pre-trip research about housing in India.
Types of property in India
Those relocating to India will find that the types of property available to them will depend very much on the location. Most expats will find themselves in one of India's bustling cities where they'll have a choice of accommodation options.
More and more properties are being built in Indian cities to accommodate the every-growing population. From modern apartment complexes and quaint bungalows to large villas suitable for famillies, there is usually a home to suit every demographic.
Rental prices in India are on the rise but most expats will find that these are still reasonable compared to those in other destinations.
Finding property in India
The demand for good quality, reasonably priced accommodation outweighs the supply, so renting property in India can be challenging. The good news is that employers often help their expat employees find a place to stay, sometimes lining up a few options for them to choose between.
But many new arrivals aren't so lucky, and if they don't speak Hindi, they'll probably have to hire a local estate agent. Expats in this position will need to be explicit about their specifications and what their price range is, otherwise they risk wasting their time viewing unsuitable properties. Remember that potential tenants don't need to pay to view properties with their estate agent, no matter what they might say.
Renting property in India
Unless expats plan on relocating to India in the long-term, most people opt to rent property rather than buying their home.
Lease agreements in India can be tricky. To side-step tax, landlords often prefer to rent to people informally, with no official lease in place. Expats should never accept such an agreement, as they'd have no proof of residence, which is needed for various administrative processes.
Expats will either be offered a lease agreement of at least 12 months that is covered by rent control laws, or a lease and license agreement of up to 11 months. Lease and license agreements aren't covered by rent control laws, so landlords tend to prefer them. Security deposits in India are generally two or three months' rent, and estate agent commission fees are usually about half a month's rent.