21 Apr 2016 13:59 IST

Govt likely to set up special fund to build on rental housing stock

Housing Ministry proposes vouchers for urban poor

The Ministry of Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation, which is close to finalising the National Rental Housing Policy, is likely to propose the creation of a special fund at the Centre and State level to promote rental housing stock.

“The draft policy proposals include Rental Housing Vouchers to be provided by the State governments to sections of the urban poor, which could be supported by the central government, besides setting up special fund at the Centre and in States for promoting rental housing stock,” a senior official of the Ministry told BusinessLine.

Rental Housing Vouchers are popular in the US and a few other countries. “Gujarat has already sent a proposal to the Ministry in this regard and is currently under examination,” the official added.

These vouchers could be issued to the identified beneficiaries for paying rent either in whole or in part which will be decided by the respective State governments.

Other proposals in the policy include treating rental stock at par with residential building for property tax, exemptions and concessions in stamp duty, registration fee, trade licensing fee etc., creation of special purpose vehicles and Rental Management Agencies for maintaining the rental stock created, fiscal and non-fiscal incentives for the success of PPP model of investment mobilisation, States earmarking some percentage of residential housing stock being built for rental housing etc. The policy aims to address housing stock shortage in urban areas of the country. Ministry officials are working on various models in consultation with States, international lending agencies, industry bodies, experts, hostels associations etc.

Social Rental Housing

It seeks to promote rental housing stock in urban areas under the component of Social Rental Housing (SRH) with direct support from Centre and State governments and Market Driven Rental Housing (MDRH).

Under MDRH, rental housing stock will be promoted in the form of hostels, paying guest accommodation, dormitories etc besides private sector rental housing and public sector rental housing for the employees of PSUs.

The Centre and State governments and urban local bodies would be required to remove institutional and financial barriers for promotion of rental housing stock besides taking necessary measures for enabling a shift from informal rental arrangements to formal rental agreements.

According to a Knight Frank report for the period July-December 2015, the unsold inventory across India is close to seven lakh housing units. The cities surveyed for the report were Mumbai, NCR, Pune, Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata, and Ahmedabad.

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