The government directed the property owners to defer collecting rentals from tenants for three months with effect from March 2020, without interest, in view of the hardships caused by the lockdown. They may collect this amount in instalments after three months.
“Whoever violates these orders shall be liable for punishment as contemplated under Section 3 of the Epidemic Diseases Act 1897 and Sections 51 to 58 of the Disaster Management Act, 2005,” says the Government Order (GO) issued by Chief Secretary Somesh Kumar.
All the Collectors, District Magistrates and the Municipal Commissioners in the state were directed to strictly implement the orders.
The GO was issued four days after the state cabinet took a decision in this regard. Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao had announced that if the tenants are harassed by the property owners for rent, they can complain to police by dialing 100.
Within a couple of days police had received 35 complaints from tenants in various places.
The GO noted that a large section of the population lives in rented accommodation and that rentals constitute a significant proportion of the monthly income, in some cases as high as 40 per cent of the monthly income. “These people will be adversely affected, if payment of timely rents is insisted upon by the property owners at this point. Further, any coercion by property owners including the eviction of tenants on account of non-payment of rents at this point would not only result in displacement of the tenants & extreme hardships for them especially since there is a ban on inter-state movement of people but also and more significantly, it puts them at great risk towards getting infected with virus by exposing them to unwarranted unknown open spaces,” the GO said.