According to house owners, there are multiple reasons for the houses to be vacant. Firstly, when the lockdown was announced, many workers residing in Bengaluru (mostly in rented houses), moved out of the city citing a job loss and no payment. As many of them are yet to return, those houses have no takers.
Secondly, the vacancy is found mostly in tech corridors or those who were working in tech companies. One of the major reasons for this trend is that as “work from home” (WFH) was announced, many either moved to their native place back to their parents’ places. Thirdly and most importantly, since covid had struck, many have lost jobs especially those working in hotels, hospitality and other sectors.
Shiva Kumar, who owns a number of houses and shops around the city said, “Many of my houses and commercial shops are now vacant. I decided to reduce the rent by 10 per cent but need to wait for a few more months before we can see a demand.”
T Sudheer Babu, who owns a house in Panathur said, “I used to rent out my house for Rs 25,000. But, with WFH being the new normal, many of them have returned to their homes. Now, I am renting the house for RS 20,000 plus but haven’t found potential tenants.”
Basavaiah, who used to sell ‘gobi manchurian’ on the streets said, “As you know, people hardly eat on the streets anymore and with no job, I have no money to pay rent. So, I had to return to my native.”
Rekha Aradhya, who used to reside in Indiranagar has moved to her hometown Tumakuru ever since lockdown was announced.
B Shankar, who owns a house in HMT layout said, “There is a demand from tenants to reduce the rent. I agree that there is job loss and we need to be empathetic to their cause. But, no one is looking at the issues faced by house owners. I have taken heavy loans to construct a house as rent is my only source of income. Out of six houses, three are vacant and three others are asking for reducing the rent. Now, how will I repay the loan and how will I run my family?”
Many also say that when there was an IT boom in the city, many areas in and around the tech corridor saw the rents spiking. One of the major reasons for that was that techies wanted to stay closer to their office so that they could beat the traffic. However, with WFH being the new normal, many have preferred to shift to low income areas due to low rent or to their native places. Sri Vatsa who used to stay near Jalahalli had moved to Electronics City in a rented house as it was closer to his office.
However, since lockdown, he has come back to his parents’ house as it is as good as working wherever one wants to. Shilpa Radhakrishna who used to stay in Indira Nagar has now moved to her house in Yellapura, Uttara Kannada district. Initially, she used to have problems with electricity. Now, she is successfully able to manage her work with a generator and UPS in place.