CHENNAI: Despite the lockdown and closure of businesses, residential rentals in the city and its suburbs remain high. This is in contrast to 2020 when rentals plunged due to an exodus, sparking landlords to offer discounts to woo tenants.

A year on, apartments complexes have largely not been vacated and with demand for housing between January and April up, residential rentals have risen to pre-Covid levels.

Stakeholders say residential rentals have not fallen since September 2020 unlike commercial rentals that have been hit following business establishments shutting down. An online real estate portal has found that the movement of people from Chennai to their hometowns has marginally impacted the occupancy rate in the city, but the situation is better on the outskirts.

TNRERA registered real estate agent Mohan Kartha said many people were holding on to their apartments. “They do not know the environment of prospective new flats and neighbours. I know of cases where tenants are re-negotiating with landlords to continue in the same flat,” he said.

K Chandrasekar of a city based property management services firm, which maintains about 500 rental properties in the city including about 100 on Old Mahabalipuram Road (OMR), said the demand for 2 BHK flats remains stable. “Not even one property that we maintain got vacated on OMR and the situation is same in the rest of Chennai. The reason being tenants believe the current lockdown is a temporary phenomenon,” he added.

In 2020, OMR was the worst hit in the residential rental segment.

Online real estate portal NoBroker.com said the average movement to the city outskirts was 18% early this year and rose to 35% in April. “Family tenants moved to the outskirts for larger living spaces and less crowded environment, after things returned to normalcy in February-March,” it said in an email.



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