With the third lockdown in Phuentsholing lasting for nearly two months, people living in rented accommodations and without a monthly income in this border town are finding it difficult to pay rents to their house owners.
Many say they have been living without any source of income for the past two months and that their house owners should consider waiving off rents.
“The owner of our flat had been patient with us throughout the lockdown, but looking at the lockdown for nearly two months, I have been paying rent for April and May months from my savings,” a Phuentsholing resident, Tashi Dorji said.
He said as savings have been getting exhausted, the tenants among themselves had discussed in a group chat to talk to the house owner to waive off some amount from the current rent.
“Paying Nu 12,000 without any source of income has been difficult for me and my family,” he added.
A resident from Kabreytar, Ugyen said his house owner had waived off rent during the first and second lockdown.
“We, residents, are looking forward to our house owner to bless us with another rent waiver, even if it’s at least 50% off.”
Talking to a businessman, Pema said paying rents for his house and a small shop that he runs in the town has been hard for him during the third lockdown.
He said businesses in Phuentsholing have been on a loss since the first lockdown. However, he added that at least paying rent for his house and shop was possible during normal days even after the first and second lockdown.
“In these two months, I paid a rent of Nu 15,000 for my shop and Nu 12,000 for the house. It has been hard for me as the only source of income is from the shop that I owned which is also closed for now,” he said.
Another resident, Yangki said despite the lockdown, house owners are asking for house rents instead of helping their tenants by providing support.
“At this moment and as a Bhutanese, we have to understand and help each other instead of chasing one after another. A few people are just surviving from the Royal Kidu,” she said.
“Even if not 100% waive off, they could at least consider about 50% or 20%, and thus help them to sustain during the lockdown.”
Another resident says that the house owners should try to reduce rents during this pandemic as the source of income for many people have been affected because of frequent lockdowns and restrictions.
A small shop owner, Wangmo, who runs a vegetable shop in the town, said it had been two months without any single sale.
She said she along with other tenants requested their house owner to help them with the rent issue as the lockdown had prolonged and that the only source of income has been from the Royal Kidu.
“After paying a house rent of Nu 8,000, buying other essential items is difficult,” she said.
Sonam Tashi from Phuentsholing