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Vinayak Chavan, 37, has recently rented his 2-BHK apartment in Airoli to four young women, all engineers. A day after the tenants moved in, the housing society raised an objection saying that they were not comfortable with single women living there and would hence not grant the mandatory No Objection Certificate (NOC). The trend is becoming increasingly common across Navi Mumbai, which has seen an influx of young professionals due to development in the Thane-Belapur industrial belt. Housing societies, however, are adopting rules that discourage several flat owners from renting out flats to anyone without a ‘family’.

Singles create nuisance, say societies

A number of committee members of housing societies are of the belief that renting out flats to bachelors leads to several problems. Namrata Belose, secretary, Maruti Highway Housing Society, Airoli, says, “While I personally don’t see anything against renting out flats to bachelors, many residents in our society were of the belief that single men, or women, create disruptions. They might bring their boyfriends or girlfriends over, something that members don’t want their children to be exposed to. Youngsters are known to create a lot of noise and indulge in drinking or smoking too.”
Chavan, who owns a flat in the same society, believes that the attitude is unfair. He says, “Young people look for good housing societies as it provides them greater security, something they might not get if they live as paying guests (PG). It is unfair to punish all single men and women just because the societies have had one or two bad experiences.”

Rough ride for flat hunters
Fresh out of college, and after landing their first jobs, many are faced with the flat-hunting nightmare. While some have an easy time, others run from pillar-to-post to find a flat and room-mates. The added bias against singletons has only added to their woes. Anju Shukla, 24, software analyst at Accenture, says, “I have been denied flats several times and have lived as a paying guest too. Once, I was living as a PG near Marine Drive where my landlord, who was a middle-aged single woman herself, simply told me that I could not come home for three days. I had to sleep at Marine Drive for three nights in a row.” Shukla, who now lives with a room mate in Navi Mumbai still shudders recounting that experience.
Naresh Jaju, 22, an IT professional who lives in Kopar Khairne, shares, “Most housing societies say that they have had bad experiences with bachelors in the past. Even if they are ready to rent out flats to us, they impose a lot of restrictions. While their reasons are sometimes valid, it is not fair to assume that all single men and women would disturb their neighbours and create hassles.” Jaju, who hails from Hyderabad, adds that most of the housing societies his broker approached, made it clear that only those with families will be allowed, while some others refused to rent out their flats once they found out that young single men would occupy the homes.

Legally speaking
As bachelors struggle to find a roof over their head, many question the basis on which housing societies deny them flats. However, legal experts say that the societies are not violating any law by doing so. Rucha Jog Raheja, advocate and solicitor, RVJ Associates, Vile Parle, explains, “Every flat owner needs the housing society’s permission before renting out their flats and a society is entitled to refuse permission, but they have to put down the objection on record. If a flat owner feels that the reason for the permission being refused is not adequate, then s/he can approach the Registrar of Co-operative Housing Society, who will then decide on the matter, after examining both sides.”

Changing dynamics of society
While the urban landscape has undergone a sea-change, most housing societies remain wary of the change. Murli Kevalramani of Om Sai Real Estate, Airoli, says, “A number of youngsters are in live-in relationships these days. When we rent out flats to a group of people, some of them move out due to job changes. This creates a lot of hassles as we draw up agreements. Many youngsters are extremely arrogant too.” Kevalramani, who has been a property broker for 27 years, says that societies merely want to ensure transparency and if police verifications are in place, many relent after some persuasion.

Source: DNA / January 13 2015