With the new academic season around the corner, admission to the course of their choice is not the only thing on students’ minds. Add to that the year-round influx of professionals, and you have a huge supply and demand for accommodation that provides comfort and the right environment.
Since it’s impossible for everyone to get hostels — neither does everyone want to live in hostels — paying guest (PG) accommodations are the first pick. What sets these apart from basic rented accommodation is the provision of food and that these are fully furnished, trying to make your stay homely from the start.
Gone are the days of Sector 15, next to Panjab University, being the hub of such PG houses. In the absence of regulation, the business is now hot across town. Location of Sectors 7, 15, 18 to 22, 34, 35, 42, and 43 near educational institutes and office areas makes them sought-after.
Pradeep Tuli, a property dealer, says, “These sectors are preferred also for being happening areas, and for being close to hospitals, bus stands and even restaurants.”
Chandigarh remains the centre of choice, but satellite towns SAS Nagar and Panchkula also have many PG houses. Rented accommodations in suburbs like Kharar and Zirakpur are also gaining popularity, though the PG culture has not yet reached there.
GOOD BUSINESS, BUT UNREGULATED
The PG system presents a brisk business opportunity for tricity residents, while it offers outstation students and professionals the facility to live in “home away from home”. Sounds like a win-win situation; but not if you go by the law. In absence of regulation, possible disputes find little redress. The basic requirement of registration as PG house and subsequent police verification of the tenant is hardly fulfilled.
For instance, even though the business has grown manifold in the past decade and the rent has risen by 150%, only 12 of the around 3,000 PG houses in Chandigarh are registered with the estate office. A UT estate office inspector dealing with PGs says, “There has been no control on the mushrooming of such accommodations. Now, with the number touching 3,000, there has been a rise of about 400% in the past decade.”
As for Panchkula and SAS Nagar, the scene is no different, though numbers are lower. Panchkula is estimated to have around 200 such accommodations, while SAS Nagar is touching 1,000; data on registration is not available. On paper, though, the Panchkula administration has allowed PGs to be kept in houses of 1 kanal.