Lockers at Banks are used by many people to store their valuable items like jewelry and documents securely. A bank is considered a secure place and enhanced security measures like surveillance cameras, alarms, and restricted access are provided to reduce the risk of theft or damage. However, many incidents are noticed at various banks where locker allocation is not done transparently. Not only that bank liability remains unclear in case of unfrozen events. To streamline this, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has released several guidelines concerning bank lockers.
As per new regulations for locker, the relationship between bank and customer is of lessor and lessee. The locker can be used by customers for legitimate purposes only. Storing cash, weapons, drugs, or hazardous materials is prohibited in the locker. Banks may inspect lockers if they suspect illegal substances. Customers are responsible for key/password misuse, while banks must exercise reasonable care. As per RBI, Account holders who submitted their agreements on or before December 31, 2022, must sign a revised agreement and submit it to their bank branches by December 31, 2023.
The revised locker agreement contains multiple rules. Here are details of 7 new important locker rules that you must be aware of.
7 New Locker Rules As per Revised Locker Agreement
#1 Locker Usage Rule
The locker issued by the bank is personal and for the Customer’s use and not for the use of any person other than you. You can use a locker for legitimate purposes such as storing valuables like jewelry and documents but not for storing any cash or currency.
You can not use the locker for storing arms, weapons, explosives, drugs any contraband or perishable material, or any illegal substance which is prohibited by the laws of India.
#2 Locker Safety Rule
You should keep the key, password, or any other identification mechanism provided by the Bank for opening the Locker in a place of safety, not share the same with any other person, and not allow the same to fall into the hands of any other person, to prevent unauthorized use of the Locker.
You cannot tamper with or make a copy of the key or any other identification mechanism provided by the Bank for the operation of the Locker.
You must inform the Bank forthwith in case of loss of the key, password, or any other identification mechanism provided by the Bank for the operation of the Locker.
#3 Liability of banks in case of loss
According to the new rules, the liability of a bank towards a loss faced by the user due to the bank’s negligence will be up to 100 times the prevailing annual locker rent, excluding any damage or loss due to natural calamities. The bank shall not be liable for any damage and/or loss of contents of the locker arising from natural calamities, earthquakes, floods, lightning, war, terrorist attacks, thunderstorms, or any act that is attributable to the sole fault or negligence of the customer.
Banks shall, however, exercise appropriate care to their locker systems to protect their premises from such catastrophes, according to RBI rules. It is the responsibility of banks to take all steps for the safety and security of the premises in which the safe deposit vaults are housed. It has the responsibility to ensure that incidents like fire, theft/ burglary/ robbery, dacoity, and building collapse do not occur in the bank’s premises due to its shortcomings, negligence, and by any act of omission/commission.
#4 Locker Holder’s Information
As a locker holder, you must inform the Bank forthwith in case of the change of address of the Customer providing a new address and contact details including phone number, email ID, mobile number, etc.
#5 Locker Rent
Locker rent will be payable in advance up to 31st March of the financial year in which this Agreement is executed, on pro-rata basis including the month of hiring together with 12 months’ rent for the following year. After that, locker rent will be recovered every year on 2nd of April.
You need to keep such amount in fixed deposit for a period as shall be sufficient to cover the locker rent for three years and also the cost of breaking open of locker in adverse circumstances.
#6 Locker Access
The locker can be accessed On a working day by the Bank during the specific time notified from time to time by the Bank for locker operation and in the absence of such notification, during the business hours of the Bank.
Bank shall refuse access to the Locker in case the rent due on the Locker remains unpaid and locker holder fails to provide proof of identity when demanded by the Bank, at the time of seeking access to the Locker.
#7 Breaking of Locker Termination & Locker Contents
If the Locker Holder defaults on the agreement or locker rent is not paid, the bank can give termination notice for 3 months. In case the termination notice period is over and the customer does not surrender and vacate the Locker the Bank shall have a right to break open the Locker and deal with its contents.
The bank has the right to break the locker if the locker rent remains unpaid for 3 (three) consecutive years the Locker remains inoperative (irrespective of whether the Rent is paid or not) for 7 (seven) years or more and the Customer cannot be located by the Bank.
The new locker agreement needs to be executed on stamp paper. If you are a locker holder and have not executed or revised your locker agreement, you should contact your bank to execute a revised locker agreement.