Making Chennai brave the weather Editor

The flat terrain of Chennai demands that we find efficient ways to tackle the rainy season and the flood it brings with it. The city is not Monsoon ready though.

Come monsoon, and the city of Chennai is seen grappling with various problems – the most glaring one among them being infrastructure that, at times, cannot handle even short spells of rain. The consequences of these issues include stagnant water and flooded houses that lead to other problems like water borne diseases or sanitation issues.

While the city receives rainfall every now and then, the crucial question remains if the city is prepared for the rainfall. Kiran Rajashekariah, an expert in urban policy and planning, explains “This year the India Meteorological Department (IMD) has predicted normal rainfall, which means there will be a little more than average amount of rainfall. The cities, including Chennai, need to prepare for the monsoon. The problem is our arrangements (solutions) are on ad-hoc basis. We come up with temporary solutions to resolve the problems. This should not be the case.”

Nalas to the rescue

The problem lies not in excess rains or for that matter even average rains. The lack of sound drainage system is one of the problems that leads to the flooding of roads. But that is not all. Rajashekariah elaborates: “Chennai is a city that is on a lower elevation, a few feet above sea level. So, the chances of flooding are higher. Restoring natural drains, often referred to as nalas, should be the foremost priority, which will be a long-term solution. Wetlands, in the natural topography, act as a sponge which absorb and store water. Due to rapid urbanisation and the resulting change of land use, they have been encroached upon, and destroyed. Also, roads are designed in such a way that the water will not percolate into the ground. All that needs to change.”

The city on the other hand is trying to cope up with the rainy season by making a few improvements.

He strongly insists that effective maintenance of the four major waterways, 30 canals that run through the city, and the numerous temple ponds, is imperative for the safety of the city.

The ISWD project is one of the ambitious plans of the government but there are reports that indicate it could be delayed by another few months.

According to Shaju Thomas, Director, Office Services (Chennai) at Colliers International India, “This means that the city may not actually be ready to face what the northeast showers could bring about. While a lot of plans are being thought about, including construction of missing storm water drain links, desilting tank beds and the like; one is yet to see action on ground. Apart from the government, there are a lot of things the common man should ensure as well,” he says and adds, “Free flowing drains get choked with garbage that gets dumped irresponsibly. There are many cases of unfinished storm water drains ending up as garbage dumpyards and one that stands out is on the Velachery-Taramani bypass road, where thanks to increased retail activity and disregard for the ecosystem, citizens of the city continue to dump just about anything. The area has always been known to be low-lying, which requires to be treated with extreme care.”

A Shankar, Coo, Strategic Consulting (India And Sri Lanka), JLL India, Says, A detailed project report had been prepared in 2016, for Kosasthalaiyaru, Cooum, Adyar and Kovalam basin for a length of 1069 kilometres at a total cost of Rs 4034.30 crore

This forms part of activities planned under Phase 1 of the Integrated Storm Water Drain (ISWD) project for improvement of the basins.

Improvement activities under this project and projects such as the Chennai Mega City Development Mission, covering other extended areas and the core city must be expedited.

Considering that the city is prone to floods and cyclones attributed to rapid development, it is vital that the initiatives to prevent these calamities, be progressive and planned to keep up with the pace of developmental activities.

source Ranjitha G, Times Property, The Times of India, Chennai

PROPERTY RETURN FORM-1-2018 – Property tax self declaration form Chennai Corporation

Property tax self declaration form Chennai 2018 is available

Click here to view the form and download

 

 

 

 

 

Property tax in Coimbatore higher than in Chennai

 

With the revision of property tax in the state, tax payers in Coimbatore corporation will be paying higher tax for their buildings than those in Chennai.

“The revised property tax might be appropriate for buildings in Chennai corporation, but it definitely is not appropriate for those in Coimbatore,” said K Kathirmathiyon of Coimbatore Consumer Forum.

During 2008, civic bodies other than Chennai corporation revised property tax not extending up to 25% of the existing slab for residential buildings, up to 100% for industrial buildings and up to 150% for commercial buildings, he said, explaining that Chennai corporation last revised property tax during 1998.

Though the land value is higher in Chennai, building owners from other parts of the state are paying higher tax than those in Chennai, he said.

“For instance, if a building owner in Chennai is paying Rs 2,000 as property tax until revision, we have been paying Rs 2,500.” He explained that now the tax amount has been increased to Rs 3,000 for the building owner in Chennai and to Rs 3,750 for people elsewhere.

“Why should we pay a higher amount,” Kathirmathiyon asked.

Former counsellors said that if the local body council had been in place, such a thing would not have happened.

The hike is exorbitant, C Padmanabhan, a former counsellor, said. The civic body, without knowing how to manage funds, has spent lavishly. “How will the civic body have funds if they privatise all projects?” he said.

The state government in general recommends that the civic body hike the tax up to a certain point and during the discussion at the council meet the exact hike percentage per building type would be decided, said S M Samy, former counsellor.

Since there is no council this year, civic body officials had accepted the government recommendations without any discussion, he added.

Source: Economic Times, Chennai

Alwarthirunagar – The residence of serenity

Chennai

With the best of social infrastructure and amenities, this area is the ideal destination for home-buyers.

Chennai has seen real estate boom that has resulted in the development of many areas. And Alwarthirunagar is one such place.

Located between two busy localities, Valasaravakkam and Virugambakkam, it is a quieter locality with developed social infrastructure and amenities.

Alwarthirunagar, in close proximity to these areas, too reaped the benefits of the development. It saw a lot of real estate growth in the 1990s.

Located between Valasaravakkam and Virugambakkam, many residents choose the area to escape the dense population of the adjoining areas, while simultaneously having access to good infrastructure.

Residents of Alwarthirunagar have access to all the facilities and developed parts. There are emerging high streets very close to the area with several prominent brands.

Also, it is in close proximity to the IT hub at Porur. With several employees from the place renting out in the area, Alwarthirunagar has proven to be a good investment for home-buyers.

Areas around Alwarthirunagar include Vadapalani, Valasaravakkam, Virugambakkam, Ashok Nagar, KK Nagar and Porur. It is easily connected to the rest of the city.

The neighbourhood has reputed English convent schools, private speciality hospitals and clinics, super market chains among other social infrastructure.

A few years ago, a huge mall opened nearby which has all the big retail brands besides having a huge multiplex and several restaurant joints.

source Ranjitha G, Times Property, The Times of India, Chennai

Metro rail track-laying in North Chennai by end of year

Chennai

As the construction of the 9km metro rail corridor in North Chennai is progressing in full swing, Chennai Metro Rail Limited (CMRL) has started preliminary work to lay ballastless tracks required for the operation of metro trains. The 9km Phase 1 extension line between Washermenpet and Wimco Nagar is expected to be ready by March 2020.

“We have floated tenders for both MEP (mechanical, electrical and plumbing) and for track work. We are expecting to start track work before the end of this year,” a metro rail official said.

The extension line in North Chennai includes a 2km underground section connected by two stations and a 7km elevated stretch linked through six stations. Once the line is ready, commuters from north Chennai can travel to several localities in the city that are connected by metro rail network.

Work for the extension line in north Chennai was launched in 2016. Towards the end of 2017, construction of two tunnels along a 2km stretch from Washermenpet to Korukkupet was completed. Soon after, work began for construction of the elevated corridor and is still under way.

CMRL is also constructing the elevated maintenance depot at Wimco Nagar. A tender was recently floated to find a company that can supply, install and commission electrical and mechanical systems at the depot. Metro rail is expecting to get these systems in place within a period of 18 months.

Source: The Times of India, Chennai

Government order lifts ban on multistorey buildings in Chennai

The government has lifted the ban on construction of multi-storeyed buildings (MSB) on approved plots in the Chennai metropolitan area (CMA). The move is expected to trigger a spurt of new multi-storeyed projects in redevelopment ventures, mostly initiated by the Tamil Nadu Housing Board (TNHB).

In a government order, housing and urban development secretary S Krishnan said the approval of the government was based on an announcement made in the assembly. However, there would be restrictions on construction of MSBs in select areas. As per the order, MSBs will not be allowed in aquifer recharge areas including the Buckingham Canal, areas near the Cooum river between Park railway station and Napier Bridge and Redhills catchment areas.

Realty sector sources said the move would ensure more space within the city for MSB projects. Confederation of Real Estate Developers’ Associations of India (CREDAI), Chennai chapter vice-president S Sridharan, said the move would result in developers revising their existing plans from special category buildings to MSBs. “The development regulations of the CMDA allows MSBs only on roads with a width of 60 feet. Against the backdrop of the government order, it is likely that revised applications could be filed for proposed projects that would qualify for constructing MSBs,” he said.

However, the question of developers renegotiating with land owners in joint ventures passing on the benefits following the move remains unanswered.

Source: Economic Times, Chennai

Tamil Nadu govt sets guidelines for officials in charge of property tax collection

Did you receive an SMS alert from Chennai corporation to make a self-declaration of your house/flat details for property tax purposes? This is part of a system put in place by the state to introduce a revised tax regime.

A detailed set of guidelines has been issued to commissioners of all local bodies on the preparation of a master list of properties and a time frame has been set to map them. At a meeting, officials were asked to first accumulate records of all properties available with housing society, housing board, slum clearance board, ration cards maintained by civil supplies department and other registers maintained by municipalities and corporations to verify omissions in assessment.

Officials are to cross-check records by going door-to-door and finally submit the verified data to seniors. Armed with this verified database, officials will ensure that residents file returns from October 20.

“Field staff will be deployed and 100% filing of returns must be ensured. The returns filed by the owners will be kept in safe custody with no room for tampering. Wherever returns could not be obtained before the due date, the property concerned should be inspected by the revenue staff and returns prepared and submitted to the office,” said a senior official.

Officials of the municipal administration department told TOI that all officials were informed of these guidelines and the deadline. “While everyone is aware that property tax has been revised, we wanted to create a system for officials to implement it which is why we came out with a set of guidelines for them,” said a senior official.

Source Komal Gautham, Economic Times, Chennai

At your service | Times Property, The Times of India, Chennai | July 31, 2018

At your service

Chennai

With a growing number of house owners not having the time to take care of their property, they are beginning to rely on professional property management services to take care of their needs.

House hunting can lead to having interesting experiences for each person. When Srividhya, a financial analyst, was scouring the city for a house to move into on rent, she contacted a person whose phone number was listed on a website. “I found myself speaking to a property manager who enquired about my requirements. He was managing the property that belonged to someone else. But what surprised me the most was that he wanted to interview me to see if I fit the bill of the property owner. I was not aware that the city had such services where an owner could hire such people so that they don’t have to micro-manage certain tasks,” she says.

Many from the earlier generation may have built houses to live in them. But today, buying a house is not merely to live in it, but it is also seen as an investment. Hence an owner, today, need not essentially live in the same house. And this is where home management services are sought.

How exactly is it relevant today? T Chockalingam, Managing Partner, 360 Property Management Services, says, “20 years back, if you owned a house in a city that you currently did not live in, you would take the help of a relative (family member) or a friend to help find a tenant, or to help with anything that was related to the property such as a repair or renovation work. Today, there are a lot of Indians who are settled abroad or live far away from the property, and they may be reluctant to ask a relative’s help in this regard. Simply because they may know that these people may not feel obliged to help them, or they may live far from the property themselves and may find it inconvenient to visit it often.” And that is how these services have become crucial to many Chennai residents.

These companies offer a range of solutions. They help in buying and selling houses, and finding tenants for the house. Tenants are often interviewed, the information is verified and that is shared with the house owner. Sometimes it is also their job to find tenants according to the demands of the owner. “Sometimes they will be particular about tenants having a small family, or belonging to a certain state or community. We have to find them accordingly. Then a rental agreement is drafted and the deal is finalised. We then become facilitators,” says a property manager.

Further, services pertaining to electrical, plumbing, carpentry, flooring, wood work and painting are taken care of by a team from property management service companies. Also, property tax, maintenance charges, water and sewer charges and other expenses are paid on time by these organisations. They visit the property from time to time to check if it has been well maintained by its occupants and even pictures and videos of the same are shared with the owners.

“The prices for the services depend on the size of the property, its location and the specific work that we need to do. Generally, people think it is only NRIs who look out for such help. But even those who have multiple assets, or own a small building with many apartments, take our help,” says Prabhu Shankar, Manager, Nimmadhi Property Management. He offers a word of advice, “Verify if such a company is registered. You can try and do that by checking if that company has a GST number. Also, read the reviews online, see the customer feedback and check if anyone you personally know has enlisted their help.”

Source: Ranjitha G, Times Property, The Times of India, Chennai

Times of India July 28 2018 Edition – Times Property News Article mentioning 360 Property Management

times-property-news-july-28-2018-360-property-management-small

 

 

House hunting can lead to having interesting experiences for each person. When Srividhya, a financial analyst, was scouring the city for a house to move into on rent, she contacted a person whose phone number was listed on a website. “I found myself speaking to a property manager who enquired about my requirements. He was managing the property that belonged to someone else. But what surprised me the most was that he wanted to interview me to see if I fit the bill of the property owner. I was not aware that the city had such services where an owner could hire such people so that they don’t have to micro-manage certain tasks,” she says.

Many from the earlier generation may have built houses to live in them. But today, buying a house is not merely to live in it, but it also seen as an investment. Hence an owner, today, need not essentially live in a same house. And this is where home management services are sought.

How exactly is it relevant today? T.Chockalingam, managing partner, 360 property management services, says,”20 years back, if you owned a house in a city that you currently did not live in, you would take the help of a relative (family member) or a friend to help to find a tenant, or to help with anything that was related to the property such as a repair of renovation work. Today, there are a lot of Indians who are settled abroad or live far away from the property, and they may be reluctant to ask a relative’s help in this regard. Simply because they may know that these people may not feel obliged to help them, or they may live far from the property themselves and may find it inconvenient to visit it often”. And that is how these services have become crucial to many Chennai residents.

These companies after a range of solutions. They help in buying and selling houses and finding tenants for the houses, and finding tenants for the house. Tenants are often interviewed, the information is verified and that is shared with the house owner. Sometimes it is also their job to find tenants according to the demands of the owner.” Sometimes they will be particular about tenants having a small family or belonging to a certain state or community. We have to find them accordingly. Then a rental agreement is drafted and the deal is finalized. We then become facilitators”, says a property manager.

Further, services pertaining to electrical, plumbing carpentry, flooring wood work and painting are taken care of by a team from property management service companies. Also property tax, maintenance charges water and sewer charges and other expenses are paid on time to by these organizations. They visit the property from time to time to check if it has been well maintained by its occupants and even pictures and videos of the same are shared with the owners.   Read more

After 20 years Chennai Corporation increases property tax rates

After two decades, Corporation increases property tax rates

After two decades, Corporation increases property tax rates

Civic body expected to mop up ₹1,160 crore after hike

After years of inertia, the Chennai Corporation and other urban local bodies in Tamil Nadu have revised the property tax rates. The new rates will be effective from this half-year period i.e., April-September 2018. The increase will not be more than 100% for commercial and rented residential buildings, and not more than 50% for residential buildings.

While the Chennai Corporation last revised property tax in 1998, other local bodies in the State revised it in 2008.

Accepting the proposals of the Chennai Corporation Commissioner, the Commissioner of Municipal Administration and the Director of Town Panchayats, the State government has issued an order paving the way for the hike in tax rate.

Following the revision, the Chennai Corporation is expected to collect ₹180 crore every half-year from 10.5 lakh residential building owners and ₹400 crore from 1.5 lakh non-residential building owners. Property tax collection in Chennai is expected to increase to ₹1,160 crore a year.

Last week, a Division Bench of the Madras High Court directed the Municipal Administration and Water Supply Principal Secretary Harmander Singh to take a decision with regard to the proposal submitted by the Chennai Corporation Commissioner D. Karthikeyan within two weeks regarding the revision of property tax and report to the court during the next hearing on August 3.

Assessees who have already paid property tax for this half-year will have to pay the arrears. “We will issue guidelines for general revision this week,” said an official.

In Chennai, all the 12 lakh property tax assessees will be asked to file property tax returns with the Chennai Corporation Revenue Department, with details on the extent of the building and the usage of the building. While the revision will impact all assessees, those whose nature of usage as changed from residential to commercial will find the hike particularly steep. During the previous revision in 1998, the civic body processed the property tax returns of assessees manually. So it required more manpower and at least six months to process the returns. Now, with advancement of technology, the civic bodies may encourage online submission. Currently, the Chennai Corporation has less than 80 property tax assessors to scrutinise the tax returns.

“Unlike Bengaluru, we do not impose any penalty on assessees who fail to file property tax returns on time. So the collection of property tax returns will be a challenge,” said an official.

Source The Hindu