With Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA) allowing owners to rent out flats immediately after winning them in the lottery, many think that the housing board is overlooking the main reason behind initiating the lottery: providing affordable houses in the city.
While those interested in renting out property are welcoming the move, genuine buyers and housing experts are criticising it as they feel that the new rule will cut into a genuine buyer’s chances of winning the lottery since agents and investors will apply in large numbers. “I don’t welcome the move,” said housing expert Ramesh Prabhu. “It will reduce a common man’s chance of winning the house.”
The decision was announced by Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan in the budget session this year. Earlier, those winning flats in the lottery couldn’t sell or rent the property till after five years. Sujit Sonkar, who has been trying his luck in the lottery since three years, said, “ I don’t own a house in the city and I have been applying since three years, hoping to win a house. I think that the government should have not allowed winners to rent out houses immediately after winning as this will attract a huge number of investors and agents.”
With this rule, MHADA’s vigilance department will not have to conduct surprise checks to see whether the real owner is staying in the flat won in the lottery or not. Earlier, the vigilance department had to form a special squad to conduct surprise checks to see if the owner was in. The short-staffed vigilance department was finding it difficult to conduct raids as conducting surprise checks took a lot of time.
Reason for change
In 2011, MHADA submitted the new proposal to the state government. In the proposal, the authorities stated the reason behind allowing lottery winners to rent out flats to other parties: that they are from outside the city and cannot occupy the flats.
The other side
“Earlier, the MHADA rule stated that a person who won a house in MHADA lottery could not rent or sell it until five years after purchase. But, from this year the person who wins a house can rent it immediately,” said Vaishali Sandansingh, spokesperson, MHADA. “The owner cannot sell before five years. We are yet to receive an official letter from the government.” Asked about the decision benefiting agents, Sandansingh refused to comment.