Need to utilise vacant properties effectively
The draft National Urban Rental Housing Policy suggests that India’s housing shortage could be resolved if the 11.09 million vacant houses in urban areas are made available for rent
Utilisation of vacant properties remains a critical issue and the draft National Urban Rental Housing Policy acknowledges that 11.09 million houses are vacant in urban areas as per Census 2011. It suggests that if these are made available for rent then the housing shortage could be addressed. However, one should keep in mind that the vacant houses belong to MIG and HIG categories comprising basically of those who have invested in real estate to earn profits.
On the other hand, the technical committee report on housing shortage clearly states that over 95% of the housing shortage is in the EWS and LIG category and 80% of the shortage has resulted from congestion (marriages, children adding more members to a family in the same house). Therefore, it is a challenge for the government to house in the vacant properties a section of the population that does not have the money to purchase or to rent property. Also, given that 80% of the housing shortage is the result of congestion, it is suggested that incremental housing in the same locality would address the problem instead of building new houses in another distant location, adds Kundu.
According to Anshuman Magazine, CMD, CBRE South Asia Pvt Ltd, the policy will enable landlords to enter the rental housing market, thereby releasing a large stock of unoccupied housing across the country. While the government is working towards developing affordable housing and improving the present condition of housing in the country, a comprehensive and balanced rental housing policy will help support the overall objective of addressing housing shortage in the country.
The October 2015 draft includes steps in the right direction, essentially to involve all key stakeholders while developing rental housing across the country. Particularly important is the involvement of the private sector, and other non-government bodies/organisations, as they can complement government efforts.
As a sizeable chunk of housing in India is privately held or held by cooperatives or other bodies, it becomes imperative to bring them on this platform. The private sector can also provide the development resources, while the government can pitch in with land and policy support for developing large rental housing schemes across the country. “A regulator to track rents and track prices will essentially help address the gap between the expectations of landlords and tenants expectations and establish a more transparent operating procedure in the rental housing market,” Magazine adds.