VIJAYAWADA: Gone are the days when the criteria for getting a house on rent was marital status, caste, and food habits among others. If you are looking for a house/flat on rent in Vijayawada and Guntur region, the latest criterion is whether you are a government employee or not.
House owners in the capital region appear to have been driven by the state government’s decision to sanction special house rental allowance (HRA) of 30 per cent for its employees who agreed to relocate to the capital region. Targeting these employees, house owners in the Vijayawada, Mangalagiri and Guntur stretch, have increased rents by at least 30-60 per cent depending on the amenities that the portion/flat is offering and its proximity to the core city.
As June approaches and the AP government speeds up the process for deputing at least 4,500 employees to its new capital Amaravati, rents have skyrocketed abnormally. Houses which were rented out for Rs 8,000-10,000 a month, are now commanding anywhere between Rs 10,000 – Rs 15,000. Rents of a majority of houses have registered a steep hike from Rs 2,000 to Rs 8,000.
A descent double-bedroom flat is commanding a rent of around Rs 15,000 – Rs 20,000 in Vijayawada’s core areas like Eluru Road, Satyanarayanapuram, Mogalrajapuram, Bandar Road, Siddhartha College area and surroundings. Houses in the outskirts like Ramavarappadu, Autonagar, and Ajith Singh Nagar are available at Rs 8,000 to Rs 10,000. The rents are around Rs 1,000 – Rs 3,000 less for independent houses when compared to flats of the same plinth area.
A similar situation is observed in Guntur and Mangalagiri. While the rents are comparatively less in these areas as against Vijayawada, rents have increased by anywhere between 25-50 per cent. The rents in core areas of Guntur is around Rs 10,000 – Rs 15,000, while those in Mangalagiri and its surroundings are between Rs 6,000 to Rs 9,000.
“There is a severe shortage for houses on rent. Except for ventures on the Vijayawada-Guntur stretch, not many new ventures have come up here in recent times. As many people prefer to reside in close proximity to basic facilities like super markets, rythu bazaars, schools, hospitals, cinema halls and shopping areas, many house owners have taken advantage of this and have increased rents. They also prefer government employees as they can afford to pay high rents without fail,” said S K Baji, a rental agent in Vijayawada.
At least 10,000 government employees are expected to relocate to Amaravati in three phases by June 15, July 31 and August 31. Following the demands from the Andhra Pradesh Joint Action Committee of Employees, Teachers, Workers and Pensioners, the state government has agreed to sanction 30 per cent HRA, five working days per week and several other demands.
Even Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu’s plea to house owners to not exploit the situation, seems to have fallen on deaf ears.
“The government has acquired over 33,000 acres from farmers and turning the capital construction project into a real estate venture. Around three acress belonging to my family has been acquired for the capital and my parents have lost their income source. We have no other option but to depend on the house rent. The government has no moral right to ask us to reduce rents,” argued Akella Krishnam Raju, a bank employee working in Guntur.
Though the government has decided to construct 5,000 houses for its officers in the first phase, top officials admit that they will not be ready before January next year. “As real estate prices have gone abnormally high, many people have adopted a wait-and-watch approach and majority of the housing projects are going at a slow pace. There might not be any immediate relief for tenants anytime soon,” said J Seshagiri Rao, a realtor from Mangalagiri.
Silly Excuses to Oust Tenants
With the rental value of their properties going up the house owners are looking for one excuse or the other to get their existing tenants vacated and increase rents. Some of the silly excuses include – number of family members, high power bills, pets, parking problem and noise/complaints from neighbours among others. “My house owner asked us to vacate alleging that my six-year-old daughter had plucked a flower from their backyard. But within days, I found out that they had increased the rent by 30 per cent,” lamented Ch Anjaneyulu, a computer operator at a private consultancy near Benz circle in Vijayawada.
Credits New Indian Express