Atif Soharwardi, a resident of Orangi Town, said that he works for a private company in alternate shifts, mostly from noon till midnight. “In order to keep my job I am living with my relatives in Liaquatabad and North Nazimabad, because Banaras Chowk, Metroville and Katti Pahari cannot be crossed safely,” he said.
Thus many families target safer spots such as New Karachi, North Nazimabad, Nazimabad, Liaquatabad, Gulberg and Shah Faisal Colony. But there is a snag. Landlords and property owners understand the economics of violence and have increased their rates for safer neighbourhoods.
Rent and security deposits have been doubled, especially in New Karachi, North Karachi, Buffer Zone, North Nazimabad and Nazimabad.
For example, in Buffer Zone, a two-bed plus lounge residential unit was available for Rs5,000 to Rs6,000 till last year, but now the rent has shot up to Rs9,000 to Rs12,000 along with a large security deposit of at least Rs54,000.
In addition to the higher rates, the demand on these relatively quieter neighbourhoods has put a squeeze on supply.
Families with limited incomes may prefer apartments but they are hard pressed to find them in peaceful areas where transport, markets and water are available. “There is a great shortage of apartments and portions,” explained Shamil, a real estate agent in Nazimabad. “Although there are some portions available, the tenants stay away because the landlords demand high rent and security deposits.”
In Nazimabad, the rent for a 120-square yard house is Rs8,000 to Rs10,000 per month with a security deposit rate that ranges from Rs60,000 to Rs100,000.
Compared to this, the rent in the violence-hit parts of Karachi in the vicinity of Orangi Town are much lower. The rent for a 120-square-yard house can be as
low as Rs3,000 but a maximum of Rs5,000 with a security deposit of Rs10,000 to Rs25,000.
Syed Shakir Ali, another resident of Orangi Town, said that he wanted to move to a safer area because his daughter has to go to work every day, which became well nigh impossible given the frequent outbreaks of firing. He wanted to rent out his house and acquire another on rent in a peaceful area, but the difference in the rates was too large.
People from Orangi Town, Qasba Colony, Gulfam Abad, Aligarh Colony and other affected areas have rushed to areas of Surjani Town. Surjani
is the cheapest area for those who wish to live on rent but this area is very far from the city centre and it suffers from load-shedding and water shortages. Here, for example, the rent for a 120-square-yard house is only Rs3,500 with a security deposit of Rs10,000 to Rs20,000. But the commute to, say Saddar, takes about two hours by bus.
To the right of North Karachi, two-bedroom apartments and houses are asking for the same rent but their security deposit is comparatively lower than that for Buffer Zone. To the left side of North Karachi, the rent is as high as in DHA – it starts from Rs15,000 and can go up to Rs50,000.
In Paposh Nagar, the rent starts from Rs8,000 and can go up to Rs15,000. In Ashraf Nagar, which is adjacent to Paposh Nagar, the rent falls to Rs3,000 because the colony is not as safe or accessible as Paposh Nagar. In New Karachi Block 10, the rent of a 120-square yard house can range from Rs8,000 to Rs12,000, along with a security deposit of at least Rs48,000.
According to a legal adviser on property matters, according to the law, the rate of security deposits cannot exceed one month’s rent.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 20th, 2011.
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