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In a major relief to residential tenants living in rented homes, the Housing Department on Friday issued an advisory instructing the landlords/house owners to defer the recovery of rent for three months in the view of the Coronavirus crisis.

Furthermore, no tenant should be evicted from the rented house due to non-payment of rent. Housing Secretary Sanjay Kumar has issued the advisory.

The government’s move is expected to benefit about 10 lakh people residing in rental homes across the state. Today’s advisory is not applicable for commercial properties. The government has not revised the ready reckoner rates from April 1 and has maintained status quo for two months owing to the pandemic.

Housing Minister Jitendra Awhad told FPJ,’’ Yesterday I discussed the issue with my department, signed the file and today the Secretary issued the advisory. The aim is to help poor and working class in the present crisis,’’explained Ahwad.

The tenanted or cessed buildings that dot the landscape of many cities, especially Mumbai, house people who have been living for many years and paying lower rent. In South Mumbai it is popularly known as Pagdi system. On the other hand, in suburbs tenants stay in chawls and apartments on a rental basis.

Leading advocate Mayank Chandan said the government move will certainly benefit the poor and the migrants who are saying in rented homes and who are not Pagdi tenants. ‘’The rent of Pagdi tenants is fixed for 40 years, 60 years or more than that period. They pay very nominal rent and they should not be exempted from the payment of rent as almost 70% goes for taxes,’’ he noted.

Housing expert Vinod Sampat sought government clarification whether tenant/licensee is liable to pay interest on delayed payment. Further, the government should clarify whether today’s notification will be applicable for commercial establishments.

‘’A better solution would have been the landlord and tenant should have arrived at an understanding whereby 50% rent is paid regularly and the balance 50% over a period of three months. This would have partially helped the landlord to pay maintenance and property tax,’’ noted Sampat.

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