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Covid pandemic forced many tenants to leave

Published : 03 Aug 2021 10:16 PM | Updated : 04 Aug 2021 12:30 AM

Amid frequent lockdown and restrictions on movement many of the residents are finding it difficult to pay rents regularly, while many others have already left the city.

About 90 percent of the job holders and workers in Dhaka rent flats or apartments to live, while the rest of them, a few in number are landlords. The city dwellers started leaving the city since the dreaded Coronavirus ravaged all the private and public sectors and compressed the livelihood.

Most of Dhaka residents work in various private companies while others are engaged in various businesses. Many of them have lost their jobs or are receiving lower salaries due to limited office hours. In addition, all the shops are closed except for daily necessities amid lockdown.

As a result, city dwellers are unable to pay house rents regularly. Many have more than two-three months of rent due. it is learnt that many of the tenants are forced to pay the rent or leave the house.

Abdus Salam, an official of a private company, lives with his family in a two-bedroom flat at Mirpur-12 in the capital. Due to limited office activities, his salary has been reduced by 50 percent in the last couple of months. He said it has become quite difficult for him to run his family due to the reduction in salary.

He told Bangladesh Post, "I have not been able to pay the house rent regularly for the last two months. I was in such a difficulty in last year when the first phases of lockdown were imposed, but then it got better again. But in the recent lockdown, we have been in trouble again. I have two months of due and the owner is asking to pay or leave."

A cloth seller of Mohakhali Md Aslam sent his family members to his village home and he himself has been living in a shared room with two others, as he could not pay flat rent regularly.

He told Bangladesh Post, "My business is closed. The children are not going to school. So, I decided to send them to my village home. In this situation, it is not possible for everyone to stay in a rented flat. If everything gets better again, I will bring them back."

Meanwhile, many flats are vacant in houses in almost all areas of the capital. Many residents have left because they no longer have work or business. The owners cannot even manage to get new tenants due to the crisis. Many of the dwellers, who are already staying, now are asking for a reduction in rent, while others have a few months due left to pay.

‘TO-LET’ sign-boards has been noticed in different areas of the capital including Mirpur, Kazipara, Shyamoli, Shewrapara, Bijaynagar, Malibagh, Fakirapul, Nayapaltan Lane, Rampura, Khilgaon, Goran. Even the walls of several important places in the alleys are covered with advertisements for rent. Especially in the areas where the comparatively middle and lower middle class live, most houses are empty.

Md Mahmud, a landlord in Mirpur-12 E block, told Bangladesh Post, "Two flats remain vacant for the last three months while another one has been vacated this month."

Asked why they left, he said, "Many people do not have income and jobs. They could not pay the rent properly. We also struggle to pay the various expenses and loans of the house regularly."

Meanwhile, a large number of students were studying in varsity and college from different messes (shared rooms) of Dhaka. The mess owners are in trouble as they have been closed for a year.

According to a statistic of the Consumers Association of Bangladesh (CAB), an organization working on consumer rights, house rents in the capital have increased by about 400 percent in the last 25 years. At the same time, the prices of daily necessities have increased by 200 percent. In other words, the rate of increase in house rent is double that of the price of daily commodities at this time.

According to another statistic of the organization, 27 percent dwellers in Dhaka spend about 30 percent of their income on house rent. In addition, 57 percent spend about 50 percent and 12 percent spend about 75 percent of their income on rent.