Chandigarh admn to cap number of paying guests
After notifying changes in its paying guest (PG) policy on Monday, the UT administration is all set to cap the number of PGs allowed to stay at a facility. This will be implemented by fixing the number of rent deeds allowed in a house.
“The number of PGs that can be housed in an accommodation will be fixed. We are assessing how many PGs can be allowed in a house, within the ambit of the notified policy,” said Uma Shankar Gupta, additional secretary, estates.
The move comes three weeks after three girl students were killed in a fire at a PG facility in Sector 32.
According to the policy, the minimum usable area for one PG should be 50 square metre, with adequate provision of toilet. The capping will be done keeping this criterion in mind.
“Owners have tried to sidestep provisions of the policy by showing their houses as rented, instead of PG, accommodation. This nullifies any stringent provisions for regulating them,” said an official of the estate office, on the condition of anonymity.
“Owners sign up rent deeds with individuals and show them as tenants, while for all intent and purpose these are PGs. While practically it is obvious the accommodation is being used for PGs, legally the position of the administration is untenable as owners use rent deeds to show otherwise,” said the official.
After the estate office requested changes in the rent deed rules, the administration is now trying to fix this loophole. “The administration is mulling to fix the number of rent deeds per house, depending on certain criteria, such as attached toilets and kitchens,” said Gupta.
The final decision will be reached after taking other departments, including urban planning and legal, on board.
After the last month fire tragedy, the UT administration revised its policy, making it more stringent. Fire clearance from the fire department has been made mandatory for registering a PG accommodation. Instead of one-time registration, annual renewal of licence has to be done, and indemnity certificate from PG owners has also been introduced.
According to the PG policy, the building owner must stay on the ground floor and ensure livable condition, discipline, hygiene and cleanliness. Such accommodations are allowed only in residential areas, in houses that are spread over not less than 7.5 marlas (amended in 2019). A permanent record of all guests must be maintained, with intimation to police and a list displayed at the entrance. The list of employees to take care of PGs should also be verified by police. No extra or new kitchen can be erected beyond the approved building plan. In case of violations, the estate office and subdivisional magistrates can initiate action against PG owners.