"To-Let" signs are seen everywhere in Kathmandu.
KATHMANDU: The country’s capital, Kathmandu, being the city of opportunities and hub for various facilities used to be immensely occupied; searching a room for rent here used to be a tough job for many.
Even when the room was found vacant, the rent would alarmingly high. The annual increment of the rent would further trouble the tenants.
However, after the coronavirus pandemic, the situation looks different, the wheels seem to revolve the opposite.
After the people returned their home towns, the rooms in Kathmandu are getting empty one after another.
The landlords in Kathmandu have come with ‘To-Let’ notice at their houses. The pamphlets with ‘rooms and flats on rent’ are a common sight on the electric poles, the house walls, and the sideways.
Houses lying vacant for 5 months
Puspa Raj Shrestha has a 3-storied house at Narayantar, Kathmandu. His family lives on the top floor and rest two were in rent since the completion of the construction of his house.
The income from rent was his main source of living, but his house is lying vacant for 5 months, and none has come to inquire if the house has rooms for rent.
After losing employment opportunities in Kathmandu, people have started returning home deserting the city and leaving the people like Pusparaj helpless and without money for survival.
“I used to get 20,000 per flat as rent before and this 40 thousand would help in my livelihood,” he told Khabarhub, “Now there is none searching flats for the last 5 months.”
Angad Bhattarai of Old Baneshwor has a similar grief to share. His 3 flats are lying vacant for the last 3 months.
“I advertised everywhere, but none has come to ask for rooms,” he shared his sad story with Khabarhub.
The capital city tempts many people for higher education, employment, better education for the children and better income and job opportunities making room seekers strive for days in search of rooms or flats.
However, the story is now in memories for the people like Angad and Pusparaj.
According to the Tenants Association, nearly 1.8 million people left Kathmandu Valley after the lockdown out of which 800 thousand have made their mind to work in their home districts.
“Unless they return, the economic life of the capital comes to normalcy, the houses will remain vacant,” Bala Bhadra Khanal, the President of Tenants Union, told Khabarhub, “Now is the ‘downfall’ in the landlords’ lives as well.”
He estimates the houses will lie empty even if the rent is deducted. He shares that no landlords who are used to increasing the rent every time the tenants are changed are not interested to reduce the rent despite the hardship of the tenants.
“The landlords should understand the problems of the tenants,” Khanal said, “If the landlords show their unwillingness to make a compromise in the rent, many houses in the capital will lie vacant.”
He reiterates that the landlords should understand the problems of the tenant and offer a discount on the rent now.
Khanal calculates the returning of the people back to Kathmandu may take still a long time as seems going far from control till now.
There is no rule regulating the rent the tenants have to pay and the landlords can collect in Kathmandu.
Whatever rent the landlords claim is the final one, and the landlords tend hiking the rent every time the tenant is changed inducing the poor and jobless people leave the town.