YCDC takes aim at un­li­censed hos­tels

The Myanmar Times - - Business - ZAY YAR LINN za­yarlinn@mm­times.com – Trans­la­tion by Khine Thazin Han

YANGON City Devel­op­ment Com­mit­tee says it will take ac­tion against peo­ple op­er­at­ing un­li­censed hos­tels ca­ter­ing to lo­cals.

Hos­tels have be­come in­creas­ingly pop­u­lar among lo­cals who strug­gle to af­ford the rent in Myan­mar’s largest city. Ma Kay Thi lives in a pri­vate hos­tel on Anawrahta Road where she pays K35,000 a month.

“There are about 20 peo­ple in the apart­ment with a shared toi­let and bath­room,” she said. “I don’t have to pay elec­tric­ity or wa­ter charges. It’s con­ve­nient some­times. I can’t af­ford the rent for an apart­ment, be­cause they are very ex­pen­sive. So I live in a cheap hos­tel.”

Ma Kay Thi was un­sure whether her hos­tel had a li­cence, but U Hla Kyine, deputy head of YCDC’s ad­min­is­tra­tion depart­ment, said many Yangon hos­tels lack the nec­es­sary pa­per­work.

In the pro­cess of in­ves­ti­gat­ing un­li­censed busi­nesses in down­town, YCDC staff un­cov­ered sev­eral in­stances of peo­ple op­er­at­ing hos­tels with­out a li­cence, he said. Pabe­dan town­ship, which borders Sule Pagoda, has some 20 hos­tels – but only three are li­censed, U Hla Kyine said. An­other five are in the ap­pli­ca­tion pro­cess, he added.

“[Peo­ple op­er­at­ing un­li­censed hos­tels] have been given no­tice and in­formed they need to ap­ply,” he said. “If they do not sub­mit li­cence ap­pli­ca­tions then le­gal ac­tion will be taken.”

YCDC law states that peo­ple op­er­at­ing hos­tels with­out a li­cence – among other of­fences – can be sen­tenced to one year in jail and fined a max­i­mum of K500,000.

Hos­tels are also a fea­ture of the in­dus­trial zones on the out­skirts of Yangon, where work­ers on low wages can­not af­ford to rent their own apart­ment. U Zin Min Tun lives in a two­s­torey 10-room hos­tel in ward 13 in East Dagon town­ship. The owner rents out each room for around K60,000 a month, he said, with at least five oc­cu­pants to a room.

“Rent is very ex­pen­sive so we live in a hos­tel,” said U Zin Min Tun, but like Ma Kay Thi he could not say whether the home­owner had a li­cence to op­er­ate.

The steady in­crease in the num­ber of Yan­go­nites op­er­at­ing hos­tels has prompted YCDC to carry out a sys­tem­atic in­ves­ti­ga­tion of which are op­er­at­ing legally and make sure oc­cu­pants are be­ing well-served, said U Hla Kyine.

Ap­pli­ca­tions for hos­tel li­cences should be made to the town­ship mu­nic­i­pal ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fice, which then as­sesses the lo­ca­tion and ca­pac­ity of the pro­posed hos­tel be­fore pass­ing the ap­pli­ca­tion on to the district mu­nic­i­pal ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fice, he said. The as­sess­ment in­cludes mak­ing sure that wa­ter, elec­tric­ity, plumb­ing and fire safety mea­sures are all ad­e­quate. The fee for a stan­dard one-year hos­tel li­cence de­pends on the town­ship in which the hos­tel is based and on how many peo­ple it can ac­com­mo­date.

Photo: Staff

Hos­tels pro­vide a cheaper al­ter­na­tive to many who can’t af­ford ho­tels.

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