With many residential rented properties in Chennai lying vacant for the last three months, house owners are approaching real estate brokers saying they are ready to further slash the rent. Even then there were no takers, brokers said.

Shankar, who has been in the real estate business for over 20 years, said there were instances where owners slashed rental prices by 10-20% and yet there were no takers. “In the case of big apartments, even if owners agree, the other tenants don’t want anyone new coming in to even inspect the houses. Recently, a doctor approached me for a house and when I took him there, the other tenants objected,” he said.

According to him, many houses in T. Nagar, Alwarpet and Teynampet are lying vacant for over three months now. “Some house owners are voluntarily reducing rents for their tenants who have been with them for a long time. Due to this, many people are not shifting houses,” he said.

V. Veera from Kodambakkam, who has been in the house brokering business for 18 years, said earlier he used to get 10-15 calls per day from people looking to rent a house. “Post lockdown, I hardly get one call a week,” he said.

“House owners keep calling me to say that houses are ready for occupancy. But with no transportation how can people move,” Mr. Veera asked. Those who had given commitment to move into new houses in March were still unable to move, he added.

Real estate brokers pointed out that there were instances where people living in rented houses paying ₹40,000 and above were now looking for houses with a budget of ₹25,000. “We have got calls from regular clients, who are looking to reduce their budget after their salary cut,” said Manikandan, a real estate agent in T. Nagar.

Real estate agents have indicated that this situation is likely to continue for the next few months and rentals could fall by 10-15%.

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