While Mysuru is currently witnessing bustling construction activity raising multi-storeyed structures all over the city in the form of residential apartments and glitzy shopping complexes commanding costs of real estate at dizzy, unprecedented amounts, the heritage city of yesteryears hosted humble dwellings that could be rented at rates rarely exceeding double digits. The palatial buildings housing public offices and the many imposing buildings belonging to royalty of the then Princely State of Mysore, such as Amba Vilas, Cheluvamba Mansion and others provided a striking contrast to the dwellings of most Mysureans until not too long ago. Even as cash-strapped aam janata of the city mostly lived in their ancestral homes, those who landed in the city either because of transfer or relocation seeking tranquil life could rent dwellings that fetched measly income to the owners prompting the popular saying of those days, “Fools build houses and wise people live in them.” The owners could be heard cursing the Rent Controller who limited the rents for houses to be wholly used for residential purposes to embarrassing amounts.
Mysuru also hosted a number of buildings constructed by both the Government of the day and some well-known philanthropics offering free lodging facilities for travellers passing through the city. Most of them have suffered loss of their original good features over years due to neglect by successors of the munificent donors of the past. We are in an age of unbridled grabbing of land and buildings by fraudulent means with some functionaries in the Government Departments extending a helping hand for tempting consideration.
Much to the chagrin of old-timers of Mysuru, the city’s skyline both in its central business district and extensions predominantly dotted by single-storeyed residential dwellings is fast changing as if to be in the august company of bigger cities such as Bengaluru. Outlay on structures mainly for residential purposes which used to be in thousands of rupees has now jumped to lakhs of rupees even crossing the bar at crores. Buying apartments in high-rise buildings, given the rapidly rising number lying locked is looked at more as an investment in real estate than for renting. After a long lull, we have just come across a mention of rent control in a section of the Press this week. Many positive moves figure in the Model Tenancy Act introduced by the Union Government which the tenants are sure to welcome but not the owners of buildings of residence.
Even as the property owners are restrained in the matter of deposit as security (changed to two months rent) and raising the rent, thanks to laxity of the implementing functionaries, the owners are sure to circumvent the law by having their say and typical tenants choosing to have their way, reducing the Rent Controller’s plight as a paper tiger.