CHENNAI: Lockdown, layoffs and salary cuts have triggered IT employees to vacate rented apartments in the city and return to their hometowns across the country, besides moving to smaller houses in Chennai.

While several apartment units on the IT corridor of Old Mahabalipuram Road (OMR) have been deserted by the tenants employed in software firms, some working professionals in the core city are shifting to smaller houses or getting accommodated in their friends and relatives’ houses to cut down expenses.

This has raised concern among landlords, particularly on OMR, since majority of tenants from the IT sector have left behind their things. These units cannot be rented out for prospective tenants without household items being cleared. Some tenants have sought their landlords to hold the vacated apartments for a couple of months till their return, with a rider on exempting rent for a few months.

In the core city, IT employees complained that some landlords were refusing to reduce rent, which forced them to move out. Some have shifted after salary cuts.

Anywhere between 20 to 25 per cent apartment units fell under the category of those being vacated by IT employees on OMR, said Federation of OMR Residents Association coordinator Harsha Koda. “For instance, 12 BHK apartment units, housing more than 100 IT employees have vacated in the past three weeks owing to various reasons including job retrenchment and relaxation in movement during lockdown in our apartment complex comprising 56 units at Sholinganallur. This is the scenario on the entire OMR having more than one lakh apartment units,” he said.

As far as the core city is concerned, the crisis sparked by coronavirus has caused several IT employees to leave their comfortable rented apartments and shift to smaller accommodations.

I Krishnamachari, an IT employee, used to live in a two-bedroom apartment in West Mambalam with his colleague S Prakash from the same office , but due to the current crisis, they have now moved to a one-room apartment, which is less than half the size of their old apartment, near Jafferkhanpet to cut down expenses. “We have all had to take 25% salary cuts and it became difficult to pay the same rent. Hence, we had to relocate,” he said.

These two are not alone. Similarly, S Karthik, also an IT employee, had to vacate the apartment that he shared with four others in Ashok Nagar as they couldn’t afford to pay the rent.

While his other roommates have found accommodation in their friends or relatives’ places, Karthik is still searching for a permanent place to stay.



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