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Maharashtra govt reduces lease rent for housing societies and plot owners

plot owners

Individual plot owners or those whose plot size is less than 5,000 sq ft, as well as housing societies, will now have to pay only 1% of 25% of the plot’s ready reckoner rate (RR rate). For social, religious and cultural organisations, orphanages and dharamshalas, the annual lease rent has been reduced to only 0.5% of 25% of the plot’s RR rate.

The reduction follows a spate of public interest litigations filed in the Bombay high court after the state government introduced a new lease renewal policy in 2012. It increased the annual lease rent to 2% of 25% of a plot’s RR rates. “This was considered very high, especially since people were paying in hundreds and thousands and under the new policy, it went up to lakhs. It definitely was a huge jump. The court in 2015 directed the government to hold talks with the affected parties and find a middle path,” a senior revenue official said.

The new rates have halved the annual lease rent in the case of housing societies. There are 1,307 leased plots in the island city, and leases had expired in the case of 691 plots. In the suburbs there are 356 leased plots, and lease had expired in case of 135 plots. Between 2012 and 2015, only 11 leases were renewed on account of the high rates, an official said.

Former Central Information Commissioner Shailesh Gandhi, who had filed a public interest litigation demanding that the government secure market rent for its property, said it is an irresponsible move. “The state has a debt of Rs4.5 lakh crore and must realise its responsibility. State property belongs to all, it cannot be given away to a privileged few. Giving concessions in this manner is ridiculous. By not getting the right rent, they are doing disservice to the poor,” he said. A revenue official said the rates have not been changed for corporations and commercial organisations.

Utsal Karani, secretary, Janhit Manch, said it is a relief to the residents and some loss to the state exchequer. “The 2012 policy resulted in a huge increase in annual lease rent and for residents of housing societies it was simply unaffordable. This is a better proposal than completely waiving off property tax,” he said.

Info- https://realty.economictimes


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