While the public housing programmes have predominantly neglected rental housing, about one in every three persons in urban India resided in a rental accommodation as of 2011, albeit informally in 70% of the cases (NSS 76th round). Temporary migrants, who intend to return to their previous place of residence or another location, accounted for 17% of total migration to urban areas. These migrants frequently choose rental housing owing to the unaffordability of ownership-based housing and to avoid securing financial resources in real estate. COVID-19 has revealed the residential vulnerabilities of a previously unseen group of temporary migrant workers.
Against this backdrop, the government launched Affordable Rental Housing Complexes (ARHCs) as a fifth vertical under PMAY. While the ARHC has the potential to be the cornerstone of a new social contract, it will require careful design and implementation, as well as a proper legislative and legal framework.
In this context, in 2020, a Policy Lab series on “Addressing the Housing Vulnerabilities for Migrants” was organised in partnership with Centre for Policy Research (CPR), Cities Alliance, GIZ India, World Bank, Habitat for Humanity and Human Settlement Management Institute, HUDCO. Keeping the COVID-19 crisis and the mass exodus of informal workers, it discussed the present state of rental housing in India, the potential of the newly launched ARHC scheme, and the framework that would be required to sustain this initiative in the long run. Researchers and practitioners from across the world convened for the policy lab series to address the following topics:
1. Policy & Legal Framework for Enabling Rental Housing
2. Government-Led Rental Housing Model: Options and Challenges
3. Private Sector-Led Greenfield Investments in Rental Housing.
4. Redefining “Private” to Include Affordable Rental Housing Providers for the Poor: International and National Lessons.