The Address Proof Nightmare

26 Dec 2014 - personal

If you move from one city to another and you don’t have any document proving your residence at your new address, have you really moved? After all, you doesn’t exist unless you’re documented, right? Perhaps that’s why someone got an Adhaar card for Hanuman. Getting this sorted has been a saga. In retrospect, I have learned lessons to get this right the next time.

My first attempt was to talk to my banks to see what form of address proof they would require. They wanted a rent agreement and a utility bill in my landlord’s name, a registered rent agreement, or one of the other accepted “safe documents”, which are government issued. My landlord hasn’t ever talked to me. He owns a few houses in the area and prefers to delegate all the work to a broker. On a good day, the broker is drunk by 11 am. He has a tiny office in the neighbourhood and you can smell the fumes when you pass by the office. I had to nag him for a week to get a rent agreement, but it was not registered. He even tried to convince me that nobody in Delhi registers their rent agreement. I’m guessing the landlord didn’t want to go to the trouble or pay the government the fee. Oh and the utility bills at my apartment aren’t in my landlord’s name. It’s in the name of the previous owner of the house. Fun, fun fun!

The only way to get my bank’s address changed is to work from weak ones to strong ones, slowly. I got a postpaid cellphone connection with Airtel on the basis of my rental agreement. My bank changed the address for my credit card bill on the basis of in-person verification, so now I have two documents pointing to this address. Both of which are considered weak compared to a document issued by the government. I wasn’t depending on my credit bill at that point though, because the only way I can get one is by calling customer care and having them courier one to me. I tried that twice and it didn’t work.

My next attempt was to get an account at a government bank. The passbook or a statement are both considered as address proof. I walked into the nearest SBI Branch and the gentleman who looked like a school teacher told me in a stern voice that he finds it risky to give me an account since I don’t have any government issued address proof for my address in Delhi. What he didn’t tell me is that RBI changed the rules and you only need government-issued address proof for either your permanent or communication address. I walked into an SBI InTouch branch and asked to open a new account. They helped me open an account in 20 minutes and I select the branch I was originally refused just out of spite. (Side note: InTouch is very cool and somewhat futuristic)

This saga is nearly coming to a close. All my bank accounts now point to my new address. I have a postpaid phone connection and my credit card bills regularly come to this address. I’ve just applied for an LPG connection. I tried to get an MTNL connection, though that was denied because they don’t have feasibility for this area :(

Moving is hard work just because of craziness like this. If I didn’t have flexible work hours, I’m sure I would have struggled to make this work. I’m mostly all set for now, until I move from my current apartment. And then it begins again :)