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27 January 2014

Delhi's delirious house-hunting

“In New Delhi, I can't get a flat to rent because everyone wants more money from a single foreigner!”

THE TOTTERING economy has so afflicted Delhi's realty business that house properties remain either unfinished or unoccupied. In my hunt for a flat, I've already visited at least 80 vacant locations across South Delhi in three weeks. Most of them, however, are unpalatable as residences. In this part of the city, there's a gigantic lack of open space and parking. Closer to where I work (Chhattarpur), there's the specter of properties being illegally built and therefore lacking the assurance of continuous water and power supply from the city government.

But what has been most delirious is the attitude of landlords. I had expected, and prepared myself for, unscrupulous realty agents; au contraire, they're nothing compared to a lot of owners I've met. During initial meetings with landlords and property developers, rental rates suddenly get hiked in ridiculous ways. One landlord literally shooed me away when he learned I wasn't employed by a multinational company. In Mumbai, I couldn't get a flat to rent because nobody wants to lease out to a single foreigner. In New Delhi, I can't get a flat to rent because everyone wants more money from a single foreigner!

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