Zarinabi had rented out two rooms for Rs 2,500. She is now pleading with her tenants to get her payment. Like Zarinabi, many house owners in areas marked out as containment and red zones are worried about loss of their rental income following the government’s directive.
The state government’s directive to house owners in red zones not to collect rent from tenants has upset a majority of the owners in urban slums as rents are their sole source of income.
While the government’s decision is likely to provide relief to the tenants, it comes as a big jolt to the families which own small houses from which they earn around Rs 3,000 to Rs 4,000 per month.
A majority of Covid-19 cases were reported from urban slums now in red zones and containment areas. Since the movement of the public from the containment zones was restricted, the government decided to ban rent collection.
People in red zones say they have been barred from coming out of houses even for purchase of groceries and vegetables.
“We have decided to impose a ban on the collection of rents for four months. No owner should insist on rent or try to evict tenants as the people have no incomes in these areas,” said Guntur district collector I Samuel Anand Kumar.
The government, however, has not announced any property tax relief to the owners. “Government should waive property taxes, water, garbage cess and power charges,” said CPI(M) leader Pasam Ramarao.