Increased House Rent Forced to Lessen Expenditure on Regular Needs
Study on State of Cities 2017: Housing in Dhaka

SoC Press launch52 percent of the house rent fixed by the landlords in the beginning and generally did undergo revisions from time to time. 67 percent tenants experienced revision of initial rent compared to 33 percent of households that experienced 'no change'. Meanwhile, 50 percent of households said that their rent increased annually followed by approximately 25 percent of households reporting that their rents were the same for the first two years and then increased annually. Excessive house rent is one of the foremost reasons for increased living costs in the capital as most of the dwellers have to pay the largest part of their monthly income for housing, a recent study has found. As a result, they are left with no other alternative but to reduce expenditure on essentials like food, clothing, education and entertainment in order to cope with the costs. These were some of the findings revealed at the press launching of a study on housing in Dhaka.

BRAC Institute of Governance and Development, BRAC University launched its annual flagship research report titled the State of Cities 2017: Housing in Dhaka, through media on December 31, 2017 at the city. The research was also conducted a survey on 401 households in four selected areas in the capital city including old Dhaka, Mirpur, Rampura and Badda in middle of this year.
The study showed that 82 percent of tenants surveyed spent more than 30 percent of their income in house rents. Among them 44 percent of the surveyed tenants spent as high as 45 percent of their income on renting a house and buying utility services.

Meanwhile, paying high price for accommodation the tenants are unable to get well equipped residence to deal with disasters like breaking out of fire or earthquake. The study found that about 95 percent residential buildings have no fire escape and 99.3 percent tenants never attended a fire drill. It also showed that 70.8 percent tenants have no open space around their living area to take shelter during earth quake.

BIGD’s Executive Director Dr. Sultan Hafeez Rahman said, the accommodation costs are squeezing middle and lower class people so hard that they plan to leave the city at every available opportunity. He added that Dhaka is becoming a polarized and it is becoming a city of two classes- rich and poor.

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Senior Research Associate and Lead Researcher of the study Syeda Salina Aziz said, 85 percent of the tenant did not receive any signed receipt for their rent payment and only 50 percent tenants know about the rent controllers. She added that the crisis was the result of a huge lack of supply of housing against the demand. She said that the supply meeting less than 20 percent of the demand. We see two types of development in Dhaka. One side is highly developed while the other is lagging behind. The government should work on reducing the discrimination, and provide the middle and low-income people with affordable housing facility, she said. If the dwellers can own a house, a sense of ownership will grow among them, she added.

To overcome the situation, the study recommended that the government increase monitoring on the housing sector, especially in terms of fixing and collecting rents, and setting up apartment price. It also recommended a separate department within RAJUK is necessary to monitor the application of building codes. The study suggested paying rents through banks, renting through a formal agreement, creating ward level field controllers to handle tenancy-related issues, and easing home loan conditions and interest rates.


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