Lockdown: Vasai owners offer relief to tenants, waive off lakhs in property rent

Updated: Jul 09, 2020, 08:10 IST | Diwakar Sharma | Mumbai

A builder and an independent property owner waive of lakhs in over three months of rent

Akhilesh Rai (top) waived off Rs 2.1 lakh for property he rented to Narpat Raj Prajapati who runs a mobile shop in Vasai. Pics/Hanif Patel
Akhilesh Rai (top) waived off Rs 2.1 lakh for property he rented to Narpat Raj Prajapati who runs a mobile shop in Vasai. Pics/Hanif Patel

With the shutters down and no income for over three months due to the lockdown over COVID-19 pandemic, several businessmen took a massive blow, and appealed for a rent waiver. Even the state government had asked the owners of commercial and housing properties to provide relief to their tenants by deferring the rent collection.

A few people in Vasai heard the requests and have waived off lakhs in rents for those who could not afford. The proprietor of KT Builders, Rakesh Shah, has waived off more than Rs 80 lakh in rent for several of his properties in Vasai and Boisar.

"We had given our properties on rent to various businessmen who ran their shops, like bakeries, beauty product stores, ready-made clothes shops, etc. But they were all shut during the lockdown. Though a few of them resumed businesses after Unlock 1.0, it was only for a few hours. So we have waived off 50 per cent rent," Shah told mid-day.

Rakesh Shah, the proprietor of KT Builders, has given massive relief to all his tenants
Rakesh Shah, the proprietor of KT Builders, has given massive relief to all his tenants

For Carnival Cinemas, which is located in both the Vasai and Boisar properties, the company waived off around R80 lakh in rent.

"There are two multiplexes, one each in Vasai and Boisar. The monthly rental of each multiplex is Rs 17.50 lakh. We have given a waiver of 100 per cent on the rent for April, May, June and July, and have taken only 50 per cent of the rent for March when the lockdown was imposed," he said. "So, overall, we have waived off Rs 80 lakh in total, because we understand that they have not done any business in the lockdown and they need working capital to resume their businesses," Shah added. Kunal Sawhney, the senior vice president (operations) of Carnival Cinemas, said, "We had requested the developers to waive off the rentals as we already had a lot of expenses, like maintenance of machines, minimum electricity bills and staff's salary. The developers agreed and this gives us a lot of confidence as well as monetary help at the time of crisis."

Akhilesh Rai, who has rented out his roadside property near the bus depot in Vasai to a mobile shop owner, also offered a massive relief to his tenant. "The monthly rental of the shop is R70,000. But it was completely shut in April, May and June, and he did not make any profit, so we came forward to help him by waiving off three months' rent," said Rai.

"I cannot force him to pay when he is already incurring heavy losses. I hope this decision will bring confidence in the shop owner and he will be able to continue his business," Rai added.

His tenant Narpat Raj Prajapati said, "I thank my landlord, Rai, for waiving off the rent for three months – April, May and June. Had he not given the waiver, I would have to shut down my business as I have incurred heavy loss in this lockdown."

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