Tenant Overstay Forces Mumbai Port Trust To Seal South Mumbai Building
The Mumbai Port Trust (MbPT) on April 2 went cracking down on a 40-year-old building in the south Mumbai area. The port trust sealed the five-storey Gokul Building for the non-payment of dues, unauthorised constructions and illegal sub-letting.
The lease of this building, let out in 1974 for 30 years, expired in 2004. However, the tenants overstayed in the property and still used it for residential and commercial purposes without paying the rent.
"The lease had expired in 2004 and has not been renewed. There was no contractual provision for extending it either. The tenants continued over staying and did not pay either," a senior port official was quoted as saying in a PTI report.
According to reports, the six lessees occupying the property collectively owe Rs 95 lakh in occupation charges to the Trust. The property that has 93 units and is located near Elphinstone Estate was being illegally occupied and also, sublet the premises to raise money for their loans, the officials were reported as saying in a PTI report.
The MbPT, one of the city’s largest landlords, had in April 2015 also issued notices to the tenants of several buildings in the area for violating the lease terms. These included various cafes and other commercial operations who had made unauthorised alterations to the property by adding lofts and mezzanine floors to the existing structure. Many of these tenants were also issued notice for non-payment of dues as well as illegal subletting. However, no eviction had occurred so far.
Some of the tenants had also held meetings and protested against the eviction notices. However, in an interview with Mid-Day.com in 2016, MbPT chairman Sanjay Bhatia, said, “For years now, some landlords have not been paying rent to the MbPT. Also, some properties have been sublet for 10 times the rent. Those who have not been paying rent to the MbPT need to be worried now. If leases have expired, we are also ready to renew them.”
It was later in December 2017, that an eviction order was released after two years of correspondence. And, now the eviction took place under the Public Premises (Eviction of Unauthorized Occupants) Act, 1981.
The MbPT owns over 1,800 acres of land spread between Colaba and Mankhurd. Taking over certain part of the land it owns, “the MbPT has plans to explore the Eastern side, which is not open to the public right now. We are planning an 11-km walkway, schools, hospitals and also promotion of cruise tourism,” Bhatia was quoted as saying in his interview.
With inputs from Housing News