House rent a big burden for fixed income group | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, August 13, 2008 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, August 13, 2008

House rent a big burden for fixed income group

Increasing house rents have added to the misery of the fixed income group in the city.Photo: STAR

City dwellers, specially the fixed-income people, find it difficult to cope with the rising house rent and utility bills coupled with the price spiral of essential commodities.
House rent in the capital has increased by 285 percent during the past 18 years, says a recent study of the Consumers Association Bangladesh (Cab).
The rent increased by 21.48 percent in 2007 compared to the previous year.
The increase in water, electricity and gas bills added to the sufferings of the people.
According to the Cab report of 2007, house rent of concrete buildings increased by 21.65 percent, semi pucca house rent by 18.57 percent and tin-shed house rent by 23.33 percent. Rent for bachelor houses went up by 26.98 percent.
Even the rent of slum houses increased by 16.88 percent.
Mahit, a tenant from Azimpur area, said almost half of his salary has to be spent on house rent. “For this I have to cut expenditure for food and other essentials,” he said.
Every tenant of the city has almost similar experience. The worst sufferers are the lower and middle-income groups who have a fixed income.
Ripon has recently completed his master's degree from Dhaka University and got a job in a private firm in Dhanmondi, but he could not find a shelter for him and his family anywhere near his office due to high house rent.
Ripon had to rent a house in Mirpur at comparatively lower rent. Now he has to experience the hassle of commuting between Mirpur and Dhanmondi twice a day.
“I have to spend at least three hours for going to my office and coming home. High transport cost has made it difficult for me to survive,” said Ripon.
Tenants alleged that in most cases the house owners do not comply with the Rent Control Ordinance 1991. Even the owners and tenants do not know about the law.
According to the law, the owners have to sign agreement with the tenants and give them money receipts after getting rents but many of the owners do not follow the rules.
“No deal has been signed between me and the house owner. Even I have no freedom to invite my friends and relatives to the house at any time,” Mahit said.
In most cases the owners do not provide any money receipt to the renters. According to the rent control ordinance, if any owner does not give any receipt to the renter then the owner would be charged twice of the rent that he has taken from the renter.
According to the law, there is no provision for the owners to take any advance from the tenants but in almost every case the owners take advance rent for one to six months.
Another clause of the law says the government will appoint a rent controller for certain area who will control rents and resolve problems between the owners and tenants.
If there is any need for re-fixing house rent then in every two years the owner and the renter could go to the rent controller to fix a rational house rent.
Eminent urban planner and University Grants Commission Chairman Prof Nazrul Islam said that huge population in the city has created a high demand for houses that caused such increase in house rents. The increase in price of land and construction cost also led to increase in house rent.
“The city dwellers have to spend almost 40 percent of their income for renting a house. The rent should not be more than 20 percent,” said Prof Nazrul.
“People find it hard for them to spend so much on house and they are forced to cut their costs for food, education and treatment,” he added.
Mahmudur Rashid, a resident of Moghbazar said owner of the house did not sign any deal with him and increases rent every year by at least Tk 500 to Tk 1,000.
Expressing anonymity owner of a house in the city's Mohakhali area said people of every section of the society enjoy increase in their salary or profit but house owners do not have such rise in income. That is why they increase rents.

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