Tenants queue to pay rent in cash, as Landlords evade tax

GURGAON: It began with factory owners in the city, who were sending their workers to stand in serpentine queues at banks to exchange demonetised notes with new ones on their behalf. Now, landlords are banking on their tenants for the job. Several home-owners in the city, who rent out their property to tenants but accept rent in cash so that they do not have to show the rent as taxable income, were rattled by the Prime Minister’s sudden announcement that old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes will no longer be valid. Not any more.

Taking a cue from the factory owners, home-owners are now giving back the rent to their tenants, and asking them to exchange the currency. “I live on rent and pay my landlord Rs 16,000 every month, which includes utility charges. I had already paid him the rent for October, but last week, my landlord returned the entire amount and asked me to pay him in the new currency. He said he was not in a hurry and that I could pay him in the near future, whenever I have the cash,” said Rajat Sharma, a Palam Vihar resident.

“I was a little taken aback, but soon realised the reason why my owner is not exchanging the old currency himself. He hides this source of income from the tax men, and already has a lot of old currency that needs to be exchanged. There are other tenants in this building who pay similar amounts as rent every month, and many are facing the same quandary,” he said.

Some owners TOI spoke to, admitted they have asked their tenants to get the money exchanged, so they do not draw attention of income tax officials. “I have three floors and I have rented out all of them. Every month, I earn a total rent of about Rs 65,000, all in cash. I’m certain if I go to the bank to get this amount exchanged I will invite attention of bank officials and taxmen.” said an owner in Sector 22, requesting anonymity.

Cops said it is mandatory for owners to report if they have tenants living in their premises. “All owners must get their tenants verified by us. However, many of them do not disclose they have tenants, since they don’t want to pay tax on their income from rent,” said a police official.

Credits ET Realty

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