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Thursday, June 09, 2011

Techies-Beware of House Owners

T he city is known for embracing strangers with open arms, but newcomers find it difficult to settle in.

With its mix of the old and the new, the richness of its cultural past and the glamour of a modern metropolis, Hyderabad has become a popular destination for young professionals and students who want to experience independent life away from parents. But this freedom comes with its own set of restrictions.

When 26-year-old Pallavi Nuwal moved to Hyderabad three years ago, after getting a job in a reputed IT firm, her first daunting task was to find a place to stay. “I wanted a place near my office. I was not very keen on staying in a hostel as they have time restrictions, and I wanted my personal space and kitchen where I can cook my food,” she says. As the hunt began for that perfect apartment, intrusive questions from house owners threw her off guard. “One of the owners made it very clear that no male friends will be allowed inside the apartment. However, I could hang out with them on the terrace,” recalls an amused Pallavi.

“No girls, no alcohol and no late night parties. These were the rules put down by my owner,” says Karunesh Sharma, another IT professional who is annoyed by the natural assumption that when you are young and single you will lead a wild life. Late-night parties and couples in a live-in relationship are taboo for most owners.

The proprietor of a girl's hostel in Begumpet clarifies, “The safety of the girls is our responsibility, so we have restrictions. No boys will be allowed in, and the girls need to be back by nine. Anxious parents often call us to know the whereabouts of their daughters and we are answerable to them.” There have been incidents of tenants damaging property, which have left a lot of house owners wary of renting their apartments to youngsters. And yet, according to brokers in the city, some owners prefer single working professionals over families and married couples as the deal is more lucrative. The woes of young tenants don't end after the initial hiccup of procuring a house. Some of them face constant intrusion from their owners. “My owner lived across my apartment and when they found out that I am working with a multinational company with a decent salary and that my job takes me overseas, they asked me whether I was interested in marrying their daughter,” recalls Karunesh. He had to cook up a plausible story to escape without facing eviction.

Sanjana Madan, 25, has a different story to narrate. She almost became a part of the owner's family when she moved in as a paying guest. “After fussing over my work timings, my owner expected me to take her to the temple every Saturday. Though I appreciated her needs, I needed my alone time as well,” she says.

Pallavi, who is happily settled in the city for three years now, views the situation with practicality. “You have to learn to take the love-hate relationship with owners and roommates with a pinch of salt. All these small tiffs in a new city made have me more confident.”


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