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Thrown out of rented home, COVID worker shares his woes on FB live, cops step in

A 28-year-old man went live on Facebook on Sunday night alleging that his landlord has locked up his place in Pallikaranai and made him stay on the street, though the government had instructed not to throw tenants out or harass them for rent during the pandemic period.

Thrown out of rented home, COVID worker shares his woes on FB live, cops step in
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Arul Jegan outside his rented house in Pallikaranai

Chennai

While activists picked up the issue and put pressure on the officials, the landlord reached the house in the wee hours of Monday and opened the doors in the presence of police. The victim, Arul Jegan, a design engineer at an IT firm in Sholinganallur, has also been working as a COVID volunteer for Zone 14 (Perungudi) of Chennai Corporation, while the landlord is also said to be an IT professional.

In the live video, Arul Jegan said he had been on the street since Saturday. “We had indeed planned to vacate the house last week, but since a resident on the same floor of the building tested positive, we were not allowed to step out. My brother-in-law too reached the house on Saturday morning to vacate the house, but he had to return to Tenkasi as one of the relatives fell ill. I went out after six days and returned home in the afternoon and was shocked to find the house locked with a new lock,” he said.

A few hours later, he came to know that it was the landlord who locked it but phone calls to him allegedly went unanswered. “After I alerted the police control room, they held talks with him. The landlord came around 11 pm but left without opening the lock after arguing with me. With no other option, I waited till 1 pm for the rain to stop and went to a friend’s house, though I should not since I’m technically from a contained building,” he said.

On Sunday, Arul went to the police station, but the landlord was allegedly rude with the police and left without accepting my written statement of what had happened.

“It was my brother-in-law who entered into the rental agreement with him. While it lapsed in January, we had decided to vacate the house in March and continued to pay the same rent. Due to COVID-19, we could not vacate the house, but the landlord has been mindless about the pandemic fear,” he said.

When contacted, St Thomas Mount Deputy Commissioner K Prabhakar said the issue has been amicably solved and police have handed over the keys to the tenant and bought him time to vacate.

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