Rental Housing for Blue-Collared Workers in Bengaluru

Sai Rama Raju Marella, Ujjvala Krishna, Omkar Modak  | 2023


This paper looks at the challenges RHMCs face when compared to unregistered rental housing operators as they must pay additional taxes, utility bills as per commercial charges, and registration fees for registering their rental agreements. These additional charges and fees are one of the key reasons why the business models of RHMCs are frequently disrupted — they consume the major share of the revenue, leaving operators with thin profit margins. Meanwhile, unregistered rental housing operators, who dominate the market, escape these charges and fees and continue to provide inadequate housing. Based on qualitative research conducted in Bengaluru, India, this paper examines how business models of RHMCs in the low-income shared rental housing market are impacted by various factors even as they provide cheap housing for low-income migrants while maintaining the minimum standards of affordable, viable and adequate housing. It explores their relationship with unregistered shared rental housing providers and their challenges in navigating the market without any support from the government. This paper brings to light an under-studied yet key stakeholder in the LI-SRH market and serves as a much-needed starting point for future research.