The Financial Express

Cruelty thy name is landlord  

| Updated: July 06, 2020 21:59:33

Cruelty thy name is landlord   

At a time quite a few house owners or landlords in the capital city decided to forego rents of their flats without asking, there are reports of eviction of tenants accompanied with inhuman treatment. Indeed, with the pandemic forcing an abrupt halt to normal life and businesses, the source of income for tens of thousands has dried up. Considering their unforeseen plight, many house owners voluntarily gave up rents for one or a couple of months. It is, however, not known if any owner has decided to further extend the grace period after the opening up of businesses and offices.

Now comes the news that a landlord and an owner of private hostel have thrown out the belongings including certificates, important documents and laptops of students. At the time of this cruel act, the students were absent from the scene. They had all gone to their villages because of the uncertainty over reopening of their educational institutions. Naturally, the rents were unpaid. The students claim that no notice was given to them for leaving the mess or hostel. A few of the students, not all of them, could recover some of their important documents from the nearby garbage bins where those were dumped.

This is clearly a fiendish act. The government has urged landlords not to evict tenants for non-payment of rents in time of this pandemic.

Understandably, many of the house or hostel owners of the city or elsewhere cannot survive if they do not receive rents for months. But this cannot be a reason for throwing away tenants' belongings -more importantly documents like certificates -into a garbage bin and this too without informing the absentee tenants, in this case students. Students have valid reason not to come to Dhaka when their educational institutions are closed.

This is also a crunch time for house owners who depend on renting their facilities. Already, tenants are vacating because they cannot afford the rents they used to pay or simply they have no source of income and must leave the city. So what benefit will the rash and cruel act bring them? If they have new tenants -- which is less likely -- they could inform those students to vacate.

True, many students from families in villages come to this urban melting pot with dreams in their bosoms. They struggle to get a foothold here but ultimately they manage to do so. Most of them take to private tuition and do not only meet their lodging and educational expenses but also send some money to their poor families. Meting out such a treatment to these students is nothing less than snatching out their dreams. Even in normal times, such act is considered outrageous. In time of coronavirus pandemic, no words are enough to condemn such an abhorrent act.

The good thing is that the officials of the respective police stations have promptly taken up the cases and the caretaker of the hostel has been arrested. Both house owners could avoid arrest temporarily but the police are after them. Indeed, they must be given the punishment they deserve because there should be no repetition of such deplorable incidents.

The two incidents of eviction leave a lesson for all who are in favour of on-line classes. There is no data of such students who study in different colleges and private universities either staying in hired rooms called students' mess or in a little more organized facilities known as hostels. Hailing from poor background they build their own future. A pandemic like this now threatens to destroy them. They need help. Considering the enormous challenge facing them, the government can create a fund for providing student loans. The recipients will pay loans when they start earning on completion of their study.              





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