Upholding the hike in government quarters rent by the Housing and Urban Development Department brought into effect from 2017, the Madras High court on Tuesday directed the State to vacate the occupants, who have failed to pay the rent.
Justice SM Subramaniam while dismissing a batch of writ petitions challenging the enhancement of the rent for the government quarters said, “When per capita income of a citizen of Chennai has increased, the rent to be paid to the government must also be increased. The enhancement of rent need not be exactly that of the market value in that locality. However, the rent to be enhanced should at least match the prevailing market rent.”
Also, the judge while comparing the rent with private properties, in his order, said, “For instance, Peters Road, Royapettah, is in the heart of city. A 500 Sq ft single bedroom flat is rented out for a minimum monthly rent of Rs 9,775. When such being the assessment made in respect of the prevailing market rent, now the writ petitioners are paying only Rs 1,438 and Rs 1,250 for 500 sq ft. This Court is unable to accept such a disparity in respect to the fixation of rent for the Government Rented Quarters and the Market Rental Value.”
“This is certainly presumed as a financial loss to public revenue. Thus, the enhancement of rent made now through the impugned GO cannot be said as unreasonable. Even, as per the impugned GO, the rent to be paid by the petitioners for 575 sq ft flat is Rs 6,727.50. Therefore, the said rent for 575 sq ft flat in Peters Road cannot be said as unreasonable,” he added.
Further, referring to non-collection of the rental dues by the officials, Justice Subramaniam said, “This Court is of an opinion that the authorities competent must be vigilant in collection of monthly rent from all tenants. In the event of non-payment of rent by the tenants, immediate actions are warranted and there cannot be any negligence by officials in initiating actions in respect of the defaulters.”
Also, holding that undoubtedly, when a private building is rented out, no landlord will allow the tenant to occupy his building without payment of rent, the judge then directed the authorities to recover all the rental dues and evict those who fail to comply and complete the exercise within 12 weeks.