Real estate agents, involved in the resale/rental of properties, have another battle to fight amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, as housing society members have been objecting to site visits along with their prospective clients. Moreover, they claim that those who have signed the lease before the lockdown was enforced and wish to shift now are also not being allowed to do so for fear of contracting the virus.
Surendra Jomraj, who rented a property at Borivali's Ashok Van area, has been denied permission to take possession of the flat despite completing the procedure and getting all valid documents. Jomraj, who heads a family of three, told The Free Press Journal, "I paid the deposit and rent and left my previously rented house at Dahisar accordingly. When the packers and movers shifted the household items, they did not wear gloves or masks, as there were chances of items slipping due to it. When the society members saw the labourers unmasked and without gloves, they panicked and denied me the right to shift to my new flat." Currently, Jomraj is living in his brother's house with his wife and daughter.
Jomraj's brother added,"I understand that, in this pandemic, everyone is concerned for their health. But these men, who shifted the luggage, removed their gloves or mask to avoid any fatal accident. Instead of denying my brother permission to take possession of the flat, the society members should charge a penalty or undertake sanitisation and end the dispute."
Real estate broker Parimal Salvi from Sai Siddhi Real Estate consultancy firm, who had helped Jomraj to find the property said, "The tenants who finalised rental deals in March, before the lockdown, are unable to shift as the society members are not giving permission. All documents, like the police's No Objection Certificate (NOC) and rental agreement, are there with the owner."
Salvi, who is also a secretary of Borivali Real Estate Agents' Welfare Association, informed that across Mumbai, the situation is the same. "If this continues, how will we operate? The municipal corporation should come up with guidelines, as we are ready to provide an MBBS doctors' certificate as demanded by a few housing societies while shifting. Besides, if societies want us to take limited clients in a day for property visits, we are ready to comply. However, not allowing brokers inside the premises will largely affect our business.
While Amit Raje, founder of InvesTree, a real estate consultancy said, "Under Mission Begin Again, the state has allowed private companies to resume offices, and we have also started our business accordingly. However, it was later noticed that a few housing societies were putting restrictions and demanding medical fitness/covid negative certificates to enter the property. A COVID-19 test costs Rs 4,500 and how is it feasible for prospective clients to take the test? Doing a test, if they are showing symptoms, can be logical; not otherwise."