Converting Slums on ULB Land to Rental Housing

Swastik Harish


Between 3 and 5 million households in India live in slums that occupy Urban Local Body (ULB) lands. These households lack security of tenure and are liable for eviction, a condition that discourages them from investing in their own socio-economic development. Unless the land which these slums are occupying is hazardous, or are required for critical city infrastructure, ULBs can extend a ‘Land Rental’ model to these communities. This paper argues for the conversion of slums occupying ULB lands to rental housing, thus redefining the household as tenant and the ULB the social landlord that rents land to the households. Such a model will provide much-needed security of tenure to these vulnerable households. At the same time, ULBs can recover a nominal rent on the land, creating a win-win situation. An added advantage will be that the tenants, usually more than a third of the households in a slum, can also continue their life without disruption as the housing init continues to be recognised as an asset of the slum household. ULBs can gain a significant source of revenue even at nominal rental rates, enabling them to raise market finance when required and thus increasing their fiscal autonomy.

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