Former Congress MP Milind Deora, whose south Mumbai constituency contains a large chunk of the over 16,000 cessed properties, blamed the government for trying to undermine tenants’ rights yet again.
MUMBAI: The state housing authority’s controversial proposal to dilute the rights of tenants during redevelopment of old cessed buildings in the island city has evoked strong reactions from various quarters.
Former Congress MP Milind Deora, whose south Mumbai constituency contains a large chunk of the over 16,000 cessed properties, blamed the government for trying to undermine tenants’ rights yet again. “By reducing the tenant consent clause from 70% to 51%, Mhada is clearly batting for landlords and property redevelopers. This is the third such attempt in less than two years of the BJP-Shiv Sena government,” he told TOI. “We will take to the streets in conjunction with all tenants’ groups and ensure that this proposal does not see the light of day.”
On Sunday, TOI reported that Mhada wants to curb tenants’ rights during redevelopment by reducing the consent clause from 70% to 51%. If two or more buildings are proposed for redevelopment, then 51% consenting tenants of both properties will be sufficient, according to the proposal.
Tenants are currently protected under the Rent Control Act. Landlords have complained that rents have been frozen since the past many decades; tenants pay as little as Rs 100 to Rs 300 a month as rent while occupying large flats.
Mhada CEO Z Z Patil submitted the proposal to the municipal chief last month and urged him to incorporate the suggestions in the new development control rules.
Viren Shah, president, Federation of Retail Traders Welfare Association, said his members will approach chief minister Devendra Fadnavis to ensure tenants’ rights and the 70% consent clause is protected. “This proposal is clearly meant to favour builders. We will call a tenants’ meeting and chalk out protest plans.”
NGO Janhit Manch too said the proposed amendment is “clearly at the behest of builders”. “This will result in developers appropriating large tenanted premises and oust tenants using harassment tactics,” said the NGO’s vice-president, Utsal Karani.
Arun Zaveri, secretary, Federation of old Buildings Co-op Housing Societies & Tenants Associations, said Mhada and the state government seem happy to please builders at the cost of 30 lakh tenants. “It is a silly idea of Mhada to club slums with old cessed buildings for redevelopment. We shall be happy if the Mhada chief takes care of all Mhada buildings and colonies first.”
Zaveri added that tenants are willing to co-operate for redevelopment if developer is “reputable, good and honest, but not when the entire scheme is loaded in favour of builders”.
Sena MP from south Mumbai Arvind Sawant pointed out that the government said that old buildings be redeveloped by Mhada, instead of handing them over to private developers. “The state government must make a new law for redevelopment of old buildings,” Sawant added.
Early this year, there were large-scale protests by tenants and political parties, including Shiv Sena and Congress, when the housing department tried to increase rents drastically for tenants living in large flats. According to that proposal, the state planned to target families occupying flats over 862 sq ft and commercial properties over 500 sq ft. However, Fadnavis was forced to withdraw it following stiff opposition from his own party.