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Delhi govt issues strict orders to landlords not to demand rent from labourers, students

The Delhi government has issued an order asking all landlords to not demand rent for one month from workers, including migrants, who have been devastated by the coronavirus-induced lockdown. Any landlord found violating the order will be booked under Disaster Management Act, 2005.

The order issued on April 22 states that action would also be taken if landlords are forcing students for immediate payment of rent and threatening them with eviction. The government has urged workers including migrant workers and students who are being forced by their landlords to pay house rent to call 100.

“District Magistrates shall undertake awareness campaign on the issue particularly in areas having higher density of workers/migrant workers/students to advise affected persons to lodge complaints to police control room by calling 100,” the order dated, April 22 read.

Even during lockdown, many landlords have been forcing the workers and students to pay house rents and threatening them with eviction.Delhi chief secretary Vijay Dev has directed officials to take strict action against landlords who are found demanding house rent from migrants workers.

A large number of people stay in rented accommodations in the city. The population of tenants is largely made of workers and migrant workers and students who stay in almost all parts of the city. The coronavirus forced lockdown has caused huge financial distress to workers, migrant workers and students besides people engaged in multiple economic activities because of business establishments, trade centres, construction activities, etc. being closed down.

The landlords demanding rent from the tenants could add to their distress and may motivate them to move out which will be contrary to the lockdown measures.

The chief secretary has directed all district magistrates to undertake awareness campaigns on the issue particularly in areas having higher density of workers, migrant workers and students to advise affected persons to lodge complaints to police control room by calling 100 against the erring landlords.

A government official said: “Even during lockdown instances of landlords demanding house rents have come to the knowledge of the government. During this crisis the workers who have been the worst hit need the support.”

The chief secretary has asked the deputy commissioners of police to forward weekly reports about such complaints lodged by the tenants and action taken on the complaints to the DMs evening Monday from April 27.

Earlier, chief minister Arvind Kejriwal had requested landlords to show compassion and postpone the house rents or take them in installments from tenants who are unable to pay. In response to it, many landlords even waived off the house rent for one and for landlords for two months.

It is pertinent to point that many landlords in the city are dependent upon the house rents they get for a living and not asking rents could cause financial distress to them also.

Delhi and Gujarat are the next two worst-hit with 2,248 and 2,407 COVID-19 positive cases.

With two more areas added to the containment zones by the Delhi government, the total number of containment zones had gone up to 89, as of Wednesday.

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