Evicting tenants, demanding rent is illegal during lockdown

ban on evictions

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In order to control the spread of COVID-19 and ensure the safety of migrants, the city police has been making frequent visits to raise awareness among the PG owners and landlords. Stock Image Pic: Ekta Sawant

Several reports from across Bengaluru point to tenants — migrants, students, young professionals, flight attendants and others — being asked by house owners to vacate their accommodation without prior notice. With the 21-day nation-wide lockdown in force, some helpless tenants are in a state of trauma after being forced to vacate. The lockdown clearly means that no one should leave their homes.

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According to a news report, an airline stewardess living in Kothanur was asked to vacate her apartment after her rent agreement expired on 28 March 2020. With all flight operation suspended and her monthly salary not credited, the young woman was using her savings to buys essential supplies to run her house. Many people like her are facing difficulties to find a new place to move into, due to the lockdown.

In another incident, a group of young sportspersons from the West Bengal and Meghalaya living in a rented apartment in Adugodi, were harassed by a neighbour when they were exercising on their terrace on the evening of 28 March. The neighbour called one of them “corona” and complained to the Adugodi police who, as it happened, forcefully took them to the police station late evening. The whole incident was recorded live on Facebook by one of the sportspersons. Worse, the landlord asked them to vacate the apartment the next morning. Even as they continue to stay there, they fear for their safety and are traumatised after the discriminatory treatment they were subjected to.

Their plea on social media to the police and other departments has not been noticed and acted on yet, although the city Police Commissioner Bhaskar Rao tweeted the next day. His tweet said: 

Some misguided persons have made unwanted Covid 19 remarks against our brethren from NorthEastern States. These misguided will be dealt with very sternly. Brothers & Sisters from NorthEast, you are secure here, approach nearest Police Station or Me directly. Live Fearless.

On March 28, the Ministry of Housing Affairs put out an order with detailed measures to restrict the movement of migrants and strict enforcement of the lockdown.

What the Ministry of Housing Affairs says

The point 4 and 5 in the order by the Ministry of Housing Affairs states:

iv. Wherever workers, including migrants, are living in rented accommodation, the landlords of those properties shall not demand payment of rent for a period of one month.

v. If any landlord is forcing labourers and students to vacate their premises, they will be liable for action under the Act.

The order also says that in case of violation of any of the measures stated in the order, the State Government should take necessary action. The implementation of the order is to be ensured by the District Magistrate or Deputy Commissioner and Senior Superintendant of Police/ Superintendant of Police/ Deputy Commissioner of Police, says the order.

Given the extraordinary situation and measures to contain the spread of COVID-19, it is clear from the above order that landlords cannot force residents to vacate or demand rent considering that many people are facing financial difficulties.

The state government also followed suit. In an order dated 28 March, it directed departments to “take steps to ensure that other categories such as students, working women’s hostel inmates are also allowed to continue in their existing facilities with all precautions.’’ This clearly underlines that hostels need not close down either.

The state’s Commissioner for Health and Family Welfare, Pankaj Pandey, in a tweet said, “Attention! Landlords and House Owners. Forcing the Labourers to vacate house will lead to penal action against you. Help them when they need you the most!”

What to do if you are asked to vacate?

Talking to Citizen Matters, Bengaluru City Police Commissioner Bhaskar Rao said that strict instructions have been issued on social media and through written communication to PG owners and landlords to not harass tenants. “We anticipate more problems in the coming week as many will not have received their salaries and will be unable to pay their monthly rent,” he said. 

Bhaskar Rao said that if any person is being asked vacate their rented accommodation, PG or hostel, they should approach the nearest police station or bring it to the attention of civic authorities such as the BBMP or a government department. Aggrieved persons should hand over a written complaint with details such as address, details of the landlord/PG owner, the issue and request support. On social media too, their complaints should specify their location in order to ensure quick follow-up action, he said. As there is no dedicated helpline for such complaints, those aggrieved should use the regular helplines, he added.

On Thursday, Bhaskar Rao tweeted, asking to know how paying guests are managing in their PGs. You can tweet @CPBlr and @BlrCityPolice with details.

Meanwhile, the Government of Karnataka has asked citizens to call the following toll-free numbers for support: 104 / 080 46848600, 080 66692000, 9745697456.


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About Ekta Sawant 11 Articles
Ekta is the Engagement Lead at Citizen Matters. She is interested in urban development, and understanding voluntary organisations and civic action groups in Bengaluru.

35 Comments

  1. I am from Arunachal Pradesh and I am studying in Mysore,even my house owner also asking me a rent…

  2. Sir I lost my job last month and somehow I arranged money and paid my rent last month. Now i do not have money to eat also. I am not getting any job as all the companies are closed. I am really tensed how I will pay my rent. My owner will not listen..

  3. I didn’t get my full salary in month of march then also my owner is saying to pay the full rent, and if i pay the full rent then i will have no money left with me to sustain during this lock down. Please tell what should i do.

  4. We ppl also staying in pg near sarjapura road.. We didn’t stay in pg for 1 and half months due to COVID-19 lock down. Went to hometown.. We are not using anything in pg except our things are in our room.. But the pg owners asking rent even that can’t afford. For name sake they are reducing small amount.

  5. I am staying in PG at panvel, on rent basis. We are four students on sharing basis. During the lock down period we all are coming to our houses. If it is necessary to pay the rent for the month of March and April

    • Same here….i hvnt stayed in pg for past one and half months .only for my stuff in pg owner is asking rent.govrnment should do something.

  6. As a middle class businessman it is very difficult to pay the rent of house as well shop during lockdown
    Not only PG students but many are suffering
    It is my request to the government to forgive atleast 2 Months rent.please adress the issue on tv media

  7. hello iam staying in pg at kengeri bangalore i had came to hometown in march 1st week but pg owner ask full month rent plz reply to this what action can be taken

    • hi sir..I’m the owner of the one flat…actually my tenant vocated on 31st of march.he was a bachelor.as my flat was fully furnished..he took only utensil n clothes.and others stuff took in this month April 12th.am only survival n depend on the rent.due to dis curfew…am not able to seek for new tenant.as I saw the news tht tenant r not supposed to vocated the flat n stay on…when I told dis to my tenant…he as not willing it…as still he as not shifted to new house.staying in his native.plz suggest me wat am I suppose to do..Iam the only person take care of my family…I hv 2 small kids…plz help me

  8. I rented a house in yemalur , but came to my hometown before lockdown . Intra state movement is not possible thereby staying in home and the house is locked since march. What should we do now . Affording 12k rent is very huge in this time . Please suggest or let me know if there is any update/change on housing rules .

  9. Should we pay rent for for this month even if we are not staying pg since march. We are asked to pay rent as our luggages are kept in the PG.

  10. Hi, I am staying in a pg in gurgaon and because of lockdown scenerio I already came back to my hometown but my pg owner insist to pay the full pg rent. What action should I take .

  11. If we are not staying in pg during further lockdown do we have to pay pg fee. Because many of us students

  12. I have taken homeloan from bank were i am paying 35k everymonth and i have rented 3 flat,due to lockdown i cant demand rent from my tenent during lockdown, and the only resource for me to pay for bank is from rent. how can i pay homeloan if i cant get rent for particular period.

    • Bank has allowed a 3 month relief from paying any EMI,you need not to pay any EMI to bank for 3 months

      • Bank has allowed a 3 month moritorium only and it is not relief that means if EMI is not paid the interest for 3 moths is calculated and added to Principal amount which would increase the Loan tenure or EMI amount. If government gives relief of this 3 months interest i hope all owners will not be under pressure and may no look for Rent amount.

  13. I am staying in Pg in marathalli.As I have informed to Pg Owner on march 25th like I am vicating the pg.But owner told me it is too late, you should inform before 15 days, it’s month end,So you pay for April month(with out food).For food 600 rupees less remaining amount need to pay.March month I paid full amount as and I have stayed 10 days only in Pg.
    What I can do for that.Can you please suggest me.

  14. As a student our landlady is forcing us to pay the rent knowing about the crisis in this lockdown as no one is earning right not except the government employees .

    Our luggages are still at our pgs and flight’s have also been stopped we can’t even vacate and take our belongings .

    How are we suppose to pay the rent at such situation .
    Request the Karnataka government to apply the exemption of rent to all the students atleast staying at pgs .

    Regards

  15. I’m a student from Delhi studying in Bangalore and it’s very difficult to pay the rent during this critical situation as Everyone’s earning are stuck .

    Please request the Karnataka government to exempt the rent till amid lockdown .

    Best regards .

    • Absolutely correct… as of now government has not given any relief to the building owners like corporation tax loan interest free but all the tenets say so many reasons to pay rent…

  16. Should we pay rent for for this month even if we are not staying pg since march. We are asked to pay rent if luggages are not vacated.And we are unable to go to pg beacause we are in our natives and there is lockdown.. How can we pay the entire months rent even when pg operations are off.. Please suggest me what to do.. Our pg owner is asking to pay rent right now within two days..

  17. Hi im staying in electronic city PG
    I have already paid rent using zolo app, because due will increase after 7th of each month.

    I did not stayed in pg this month.

    Can i get it back as i dont have sufficient fund for further to manage the things..??

  18. As a middle class businessman it is very difficult to pay the rent during lockdown
    Not only PG students but many are suffering
    It is my request to the government to forgive atleast 2 Months rent

  19. What about those tenants who have drawn their salaries (including that of Mar 2020) and residing in houses with RCC buildings (as the rule is intended to support the migrant labors, students and who in PGs and not others). Many of the Owners depend on Rent Income.

    • my tenants are software professionals working from home but till date (13.04.2020) they have not paid rent.One more tenant are having a shop a hairdresser shop and business is in full swing. 4 boys are staying are from UP and they travel by plane every time they visit their native carry huge loads of materials in big trolley bags. But this they have not paid rent. WHEN asked they say Modi has asked not to pay rent. dear sir as a retired owner with no other source of income what should I do?

  20. I am from west bengal , living in jp nagar , bengaluru, but my husband didnt get salary , pls make provision not to pay rent atleast 2 months…other wise we will die without food

  21. SOME ONE ALSO TO Take shop rents in this lockdown periods. How to pay dont have sufficient money to pay to home needs. How to pay shop rent.

    • Yes.. Even I am a small time boutique owner paying a rent of 25k . Now with zero income, how are we going to pay the house rent and shop rent.. Wha to do. . Please help us

  22. Can we get relief of one month rent , as we went to hometown during lockdown period amd still stuck in hometown past one month.

  23. If we are not staying in pg during further lockdown do we have to pay pg fee. Because many of us students.

  24. Hiii, i m staying in bangalore sudhamanagar with my husband and son.this area landlords r very rude and heartless people’s.they need time time to time rent.but for lockdown my husband didn’t get salarie how can we give rent central government also declared. We r not regert to give rent but we want 1-2 month release from landlords. It’s my request please take action.

    • Hi I am a tenant from Hyderabad living in a rent room. I lost my job a month ago and was looking for another job only but this lockdown occured. Somehow I am managing a meal in a day by the things available in my room. I have a 2 year daughter and wife to look after. Last month I somehow manage to pay rent of 7k borrowing from friends in order to payback after getting a job. But now I am facing difficulty to pay rent and my landlady is asking daily for it. I can’t afford to ask money from home as my father is not well and capable of. I have only little savings which I am using to buy food essentials only.
      It’s my humble request to please give a notice not to take atleast for 2 month’s rent. It’s not only my problem which I am facing but many other people also going through same issue who are not able to say anything or even complain to anyone.
      Please look after this issue ASAP as we are going through tough situation.
      Thank u!

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