“Until March, I received the full rent on time. But there is no question of waiving off or reducing the amount because I need to repay the loan and currently this is my only income. But we have given them time until next week to pay,” said Satguru Chahal, a businessman who has given two of his apartments in the city on rent.
Sandeep Sagar, an IT professional living in a gated community near Nolambur said that his company had to cut 20% of their salaries due to the pandemic. He said that despite several negotiations his house owner denied reducing the rent, even for the time being. “Instead, he is asking me to pay it all in a lumpsum, before July, which I cannot afford,” he said.
The interests of owners who have security deposits, for three or more months are safeguarded, at least for the time being, but the tenants have become restless because they fear they would not get any amount back from their deposits. Even those who do not have signed agreements and are struggling to pay the rent are helpless.
Ajit Kumar Chordia, managing director, Olympia Group, said that they too had to decline a few remission requests since they have back-to-back financial commitments. “So far, we have not had any trouble. They are paying rents on time. And our people are tracking all clients. It is mainly the retail stores and eateries that are struggling to pay due to the shutdown. They have asked us for some time and we are keeping track of it.”
Real estate agents said that nearly 20% of tenants occupying residential properties have sought rebates and waivers.
“The situation is currently fluid. Because people, on the one hand, are losing their pay and jobs and on the other, there is no relaxation on EMIs, which is a huge problem. They also don’t know how to go about and handle disputes,” said Mohan Kartha, a city-based TNRERA-registered real estate agent.
With both the landlords and tenants claiming they have no money, experts said that there is an urgent need for the government to come up with a new plan or rules to avoid a crisis.
However, senior officials from the state housing department said that they have not received any complaints of such disputes on their portal. “But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t any. We have directed our officers to look into these matters based on which we can take necessary steps,” the official said.