Owners of large houses and commercial properties in Mumbai can breathe easy. The Maharashtra government has announced that it will withdraw the controversial provision of its draft housing policy, which proposed a massive hike in rents of big properties.
The government, in the draft policy, had mooted a plan to exclude homes more than 860 square feet in area, and commercial spaces more than 500 square feet, from the purview of the Maharashtra Rent Control Act, 1999. This would have resulted in an exorbitant increase in rents.
A press release issued by the office of chief minister Devendra Fadnavis on Saturday said the ‘protection to tenants will continue’.
It said the entire draft was prepared by Yashwantrao Chavan Academy of Development Administration (YASHDA), and the chief minister will delete the controversial points from the policy. “This state Cabinet is not under considering putting the hike into effect,” it said.
A delegation of BJP leaders had met Fadnavis and explained to him the implications of the controversial draft.
This is the first time that the state had tried to link income-levels with rental values.
More than 4 lakh households and an equal number of commercial establishments would have had to pay as much as 30% of their annual income towards the rent of their properties, if the changes to the Maharashtra Rent control Act, 1999, had gone ahead as proposed in the draft housing policy.
Such a hike in rates would have meant that the rates for many cessed properties would have increased by a few hundred times.
Cessed properties are those that were constructed before 1960, and whose residents pay a special cess, or tax, to the government.
Welcoming the announcement, Viren Shah, president, Federation of Retail Traders Welfare Association, called it a big relief for the tenants. “The announcement has saved many tenants from disaster,” said Shah.