Should You Buy In Highrises Overlooking Slums?
Aarti and Jagmohan Mhatre were in their early thirties when they bought an apartment on the tenth floor of a highrise in Chembur, Mumbai. The interiors were a dream but little did they know that their surroundings will turn out be a nightmare for them. There compound was just next to a slum area, which they thought would never bother them. But, given the namesake security assistance in the housing complex, petty thieves from nearby areas were a frequent sight in and around the complex.
To add to this, during monsoon, the clogged drainage system would call for stagnant filth around the housing complex. However, Mhatres had to given into their fate as they did not have enough funds to make another investment anytime soon.
This isn't a lone case where buyers have overlooked serious concerns which later turned into a menace. Buying a home in a building, which stands in proximity to a slum, can be a not-so-good idea. But in a city like Mumbai where population density is very high and property prices are exorbitant, finding an ideal home can be tough sail.
Highrises or vertical slums?
Developers in cities like Mumbai have ended up constructing vertical slums, owing to the policies under Slum Rehabilitation Authority (SRA) Scheme. They get an extra floor space index (FSI) for creating project under this scheme, which is also used as a saleable component for bearing the cost of construction. However, the rehabilitation tenements and the saleable units are very different in terms of amenities, facilities and even in construction quality.
Should you invest in SRA schemes?
The only obvious choice left with the buyer is to follow a checklist before buying in such a construction:
- Check for hygiene and sanitation facilities
With no proper drainage system, most slums become a breeding ground for diseases affecting life of those living in an around them. Open defecation, no proper garbage disposal and blocked/no drains can be a concern.
Hence, make sure at least your compound has a proper drainage facility.
- Security assistance should be available
Before signing the deal, enquire about the basic and advanced security systems that the developer is providing. Round-the-clock on-duty security guards, installed CCTV cameras in corridors, and intercom system are some of the prerequisite that you should look for before buying the property.
- Bargain well before buying
Towers or floors facing the slum area or vertical slums are often less preferred. Rajeev Mohan Roy, Proprietor, RMS Realty, a Mumbai-based property consultant says, “Floors overlooking other buildings are priced almost 20 per cent cheaper than the top floor. This can be negotiated up to 25 per cent, if the view is highly compromised or has no scope of fresh air or sunlight.” However, do look for proper ventilation even if the view is not up to the mark.
- Seek for rental accommodation if your budget is less
Roy further added, “A majority of home seekers looking for rental accommodation hesitate to lease a unit close to rehabilitation tenements. Even the rents are 10-20 per cent less than other same-sized unit.” For instance, if a 400 sq ft apartment in Mahim is available on a monthly rent of Rs 25,000, an SRA unit will be easily available for Rs 15,000-20,000 monthly rent and a lesser security deposit.