House rent tax discount scheme on lockdown rent waiver causes confusionKathmandu metropolis has announced a 10 percent house rent discount for considerate landlords, but the city officials themselves don’t know how the scheme is going to work.
The Kathmandu Metropolitan City on Wednesday announced a discount in house rent tax for those house owners who didn’t take one month’s rent from their tenants during the lockdown.
However, the city office has not clarified how it plans to identify the house owners who waived off the rent for their tenants.
Presenting the annual budget of the city on Wednesday, Deputy Mayor Hari Prabha Khadgi announced a 10 percent discount on house rent tax for those landlords who waived off one month’s rent for their tenants.
Khadgi said the concerned landlords should register themselves with the city office to take advantage of the scheme, but she did not explain what guidelines are in place and what kind of documents the landlords should present to get the tax discount.
The city officials themselves have said that only a few house owners had exempted the rent during the lockdown.
According to Krishna Sharma, chairman of Derawal Manch, an organisation of tenants, only around 10 percent of the house owners in Kathmandu had waived off a month’s rent during the lockdown while there were also those landlords who only charged only 50 percent of the rent from their tenants.
Besides, the city office does not have the data on the number of house owners who have kept tenants in their homes. According to one estimate, Kathmandu has nearly one million families who live on rent.
Ishwor Man Dangol, spokesperson of the city office, said he did not know how the scheme was going to work.
“We have received a lot of complaints from tenants against their landlords for charging a full month’s rent, but no house owners have come to tell us that they didn’t charge the rent to their tenants,” said Dangol.
A Cabinet meeting on March 29 had urged all house owners to waive off the rent for at least a month, saying that the arrears incurred would be adjusted when they pay their property tax.
“The rent waiver request was not compulsory. We also didn’t get any direction from the central government. But the city has taken this scheme to boost the confidence of house owners in Kathmandu,” said Dangol. He added that many house owners in Kathmandu did not heed to the government’s request because they were not sure how the house rent discount was going to work.