Proposal to hike rent of BMC buildings yet to get green nod

The city, which is known for its skyrocketing realty prices, is also known for old rickety buildings mostly in South Mumbai with rent as low as Rs 50. Despite a decision to hike the rents for tenants living in BMC-owned buildings, the proposal is lying with the civic body's accounts department for scrutiny for the past few years, delaying the rent hike.

At present, there are 3,505 BMC-owned buildings largely in South Mumbai with over 46,000 tenants residing in them. This included both commercial and residential properties.

The erstwhile Bombay Improvement Trust, which was dissolved into BMC in 1925, and the buildings came to be owned by the civic body. Some were abandoned properties after the Partition while some were specifically constructed for affordable housing. The civic body then rented out several properties at minimal rent. The rent amount currently stands at as low as Rs 50 to Rs 55 — for many residents.

Under the city’s extremely restrictive rent control acts, the rent of all buildings constructed before 1965 has been frozen at pre-1965 prices, with some paying rents at pre-1940 prices – meaning monthly rents can be as low as 10 rupees.

Thus, even if the BMC continues to be the property owner, the tenants are protected by law and will continue to occupy them for generations. These buildings are used for residential and commercial purposes as well. In case a tenant had to sell the property, he would need the no-objection certificate of the landowner (BMC) and pay a certain share of the transaction to civic body as well.

The civic body had first increased the rent in 1955, then in 1998 and then in 2014. However, despite being hiked three times to date, at present, the rent from residential tenants is around Rs 50 to Rs 55 per month.

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