When Vibha of Kottara here wanted to rent out the first floor of her house near an information technology company, no family came forward to occupy it. It was because the rent quoted by her was high.

But Ms. Vibha did not compromise with the rent quoted by her though the house remained vacant for two months. Though she was initially hesitant to rent out the house to bachelors, finally she gave it to four bachelors who are software engineers. The engineers could afford the rent as they shared the amount.

Such a trend, said D. Prashanth of Kodical, had resulted in rentals going up in nearby residential localities such as Kodical. Middle and lower-middle class families, which had been living in rented houses in Kodical since a decade, now found it difficult to pay the rent. The rents in the area were only marginally less than those prevailing in central business district areas. The increasing rent had forced many such families to look for rented houses on the peripheral localities of the city, he said.

Ashok Salian, a real estate broker, said that purchase of flats for investment purpose was one of the reasons for the increase in rents. The owners either quoted high price or leased out their flats for companies or individuals. It gave a chance for owners of individual houses in the neighbourhood to increase the rent either to the same level or slightly to the lower level.

Rajesh, a bank employee, who recently moved into a flat for rent at Kankanady, blamed brokers for the house rents going up in the city. He said that house rents across the city went up in recent years. Mr. Rajesh said that though owners were willing to quote a reasonable rent, the brokers got it increased as both benefited from it.

G. Hanumantha Kamath, president, Nagarika Hitarakshana Samiti, said that the government should bring in a strong legislation for controlling rent.

Quoting an example, he said that an owner quoted Rs. 15,000 rent for a 1,045-sq. ft. house in central business district recently. There was a tenant for that sum as the occupant wanted his children to be admitted to a nearby school. If such a trend in a tier II city such as Mangalore was not controlled, it would make houses unaffordable to the common man, he added.

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