Finding a house for rent in the City is increasingly becoming a tough task, with house hunters reporting not only hiked rates post pandemic, but also having to deal with some rather unusual demands from landlords.
Varun D., a resident of Fraser Town, had to recently shift house as the landlord of the flat in which he had been living for over four years jacked up the rent by over 30% this year, arguing he hadn’t hiked it in the last two years during the pandemic. Similar is the plight of many working professionals who have come back to the City after two years as their offices did away with work-from-home option.
Making up for loss
Manjunath, a real estate broker in North Bengaluru, said most landlords had hiked rents over the last six months, especially as the demand for houses went up with those who had shifted out of the City during the pandemic returning. “Most are hiking rents to make up for the loss of revenue over the last two years,” he said, adding that with offices resuming, people have little choice but pay.
The half yearly report (January-June, 2022) by No Broker, a property rental and buying portal, showed that on average, rents increased by 12% in most metro cities across the country, mostly fuelled by return to offices forcing relocation. However, rents increased the highest in Bengaluru — 16.7%, the report said. Disruption in completion of housing projects during the pandemic has also created a supply stress, the report noted. Another report by No Broker in June 2022, claimed rents in gated housing communities like apartments saw a hike in rent by a whopping 40%.
Increased rents are not the only hurdle faced by prospective tenants. They have to contend with questions such as “Which university did you study in?” or “How much is your salary?” or “What is your family background?” In what is termed as “Peak Bengaluru behaviour” on social media, these are the questions posed by landlords/brokers.
Over the last few weeks, tenants have shared their chats with owners/brokers on social media. In one of the screenshots, the broker told the person that their job at a reputed international software company “does not fit the profile” as the owner prefers to give their home to IIT, IIM, ISB graduates or working professionals like Chartered Accountants. Another person had shared that if women tenants are to be given a house, owners prefer that “they do not party” or have a rule that “male friends are not allowed.”
Even those who have stayed in city for years say that finding a house for rent is harder than finding a job of late “I have also observed that many owners have strict rules about which religion/caste the tenants belong to. There are some owners who even refuse to speak directly on call and carry out the entire conversations on messaging platforms,” said Md Saqlain Jameel, a resident of Ganganagar.
Brokers also agree that owners have some “unusual demands” these days. “There are demands like job in a software company so that rent comes on time. They do not want to give houses to politicians or police officers. They also ask us about the kind of people who might visit the potential tenants’ houses. There are also the usual demands about not wanting pets, wanting vegetarian tenants and such things,” said Balaji, a broker.