Living in Ahmedabad: The Challenge of PGs, a Youth Trend of Resisting Family Life

In Ahmedabad, the largest city in Gujarat, students and jobholders (living alone) consider staying in Paying Guest (PG) accommodations as their first preference. On the other hand, there is also a shortage of PG accommodations in the city. PGs ranging from 5 thousand to 20 thousand (per month) can be found in Ahmedabad. This social imbalance issue has resurfaced. Recently, after a fire incident in Bopal’s TRP Mall, PGs operating in commercial complexes there were evacuated. Just a few days before that, residents of Nilkanth Society in Bodakdev alleged that many social issues have arisen due to PGs, and it is advisable to ban PGs in residential societies. Similarly, even in Gotanagar, Ganesh Genesis Apartments, there were boards saying ‘PG ARE NOT ALLOWED’. Now, societies argue that PGs are ‘nuisances’, disrupting the lives of families. Even though they live as paying guests, it’s difficult for the youth to maintain proper conduct, especially when they have late-night activities. While residing with a family, they cannot behave properly. When asked, a youth residing as a paying guest expressed that becoming a paying guest due to financial reasons is our compulsion.

Disputes among PG Owners and Societies

Due to economic conditions in Ahmedabad being favorable, thousands of youth from all over Gujarat come to Ahmedabad for education and job opportunities daily. Due to limited budgets and lack of connections in the city, youth often have to compromise and live as paying guests. Consequently, PGs have emerged as a business in societies. To accommodate youth within their budgets, PGs overcrowd, leading to many problems in the lifestyle of these young people. Recently, disputes have arisen between PG owners and societies. Consequently, many societies and flats in the city are considering banning PG accommodations.

Complaints against PG Residents

Residents of societies have complained that youth living in PGs forget their boundaries. However, paying guests argue that these complaints can be subjective, and most youth abide by the rules and regulations of the societies. If PG accommodations are banned, it could raise questions about our future. Notably, just as PG shutters were closed due to licensing issues in TPR Malls, similar swords are hanging over PGs operating in commercial complexes.

Living Conditions

One youth residing in PGs mentioned that when eight to ten people stay in one room, issues regarding water, drainage, and parking become significant. Society members often oppose accommodating more people, leading to conflicts. PG owners have not paid attention to these issues. Even though PG residents maintain cleanliness in the kitchen, the situation doesn’t improve, indicating a lack of management. Therefore, due to overcrowding and lack of proper management, youth have to reside in PGs.

Bakulbhai Raval: PG Residents’ Vibrant Lifestyle

Senior citizen Bakulbhai Raval observed that residents living in PG accommodations tend to lead very vibrant lives. They are seen engaging in various activities without any regard for societal norms or boundaries. Often, these residents host parties and make noise late into the night, leading to numerous complaints over time.

Manjulaben Prajapati: Challenges Faced by PG Residents

Manjulaben Prajapati highlighted the considerable challenges faced by residents living in PG accommodations. Women particularly find it difficult to find suitable accommodation as landlords are hesitant to rent out to them. Even if they manage to secure a place, they are restricted in their behavior, unable to freely move around within the premises.

Deep Patel: Bachelor Parties and Noise Complaints

Ganesh Genesis Flat’s chairman, Deep Patel, mentioned in an interview with Divya Bhaskar that out of 792 flats, a significant number are occupied by PG residents. Consequently, noise complaints and disturbances from these residents have escalated. It’s common to find bachelor parties happening late into the night, disturbing the peace and affecting the quality of life for other residents.

PG as Guest Houses: An Alternative Perspective

Many residents resort to running their PG accommodations as guest houses due to the challenges they face in finding suitable tenants. While police verification and rental agreements are necessary, actual verification processes are often overlooked. The primary leaseholder rents out the flats and allows others to reside there, sometimes accommodating friends or relatives. Such arrangements bypass the usual societal norms and regulations.

PGs to Be Vacated in Three Months: Decision by Management

Secretary Hitenbhai Patel announced that three months ago, management handed over the society’s management. Following complaints from committee members about disturbances caused by PG accommodations, it was decided to vacate these PGs within three months. No new agreements will be made, and the society’s board has been tasked with overseeing the transition.

Youth Living in PGs: A Perspective

In Ahmedabad, students and young professionals who come from other cities or states for jobs often find themselves in PG accommodations. These are primarily located in the western suburbs like Satellite, Vastrapur, and S.G. Highway. With increasing college enrollments, paying guest accommodations have seen a surge in demand. Rents range from 5000 to 20,000 rupees per month, varying depending on the facilities provided. Each PG has its own set of rules, with some offering single occupancy rooms while others allow sharing, with corresponding rent adjustments.

Challenges Faced by Paying Guests

A young man working as a paying guest in a company located in SG Highway revealed that when it comes to living alone in Ahmedabad city, it becomes necessary to stay in a paying guest accommodation. Most of the paying guest accommodations are in residential areas of the city, where there are societies or flats. Five to ten people reside in one room. In today’s expensive era, keeping a house on rent in cities like Ahmedabad is very expensive, which is why living in a paying guest accommodation becomes necessary. To live in a paying guest accommodation, one has to pay at least 5000 rupees per month, which includes expenses for bedding, food, laundry, etc. More facilities mean more money has to be spent. Money is also required for food and drink, and sometimes paying guests also have to pay extra for that.

Lack of Proper Management

People living in paying guest accommodations also face many difficulties. There may be opposition from people living in the society. Because when eight to ten people live in one room, there may be a huge dispute over water, drainage, and parking. Due to the presence of more people together, society often opposes it. Owners of paying guest accommodations do not pay attention to this matter. In paying guest accommodations, where people keep food and drink arrangements, there is also a lack of cleanliness, let alone proper management. This is why living in a paying guest accommodation becomes necessary even if there is no proper arrangement.

Discomfort for Many Young People

What Does the Advocate Say for Paying Guests in the Society?

Between the owners of paying guest accommodations and local residents, when there is a dispute, they often evacuate it, making it difficult to find another paying guest accommodation immediately. Even after paying more money, one has to live in new paying guest accommodations. Due to lack of any kind of hostel or commercial complex for paying guests, many young men and women coming from out of town face discomfort in finding accommodation.

Advocate C.D. Patel stated in an interview with Divya Bhaskar that there are no legal rules for paying guests in the society. Any resolution passed by the society’s general body has to be respected. The society’s general body is considered the supreme authority. Rules and principles are determined by the resolutions of the society. If a society decides to keep paying guests, and if they have been given permission by the society, then any member can object, and then they can be taken to court under cooperative laws.

Misuse of Parking and Facilities

Paying guests in the society have been informed that they have no rights. The society cannot grant them entry of their vehicles. The use of parking and facilities can be obstructed. If there is more dispute between members and paying guests in the society, then they can also be taken to court under cooperative laws. The society has to obtain permission for keeping paying guests in the society.

Maintenance Should be Fair for Every Member

In a society, if a paying guest resides and the society collects double maintenance from them, then the society should have clear rules. If a single maintenance is charged for each member and paying guests are kept, then double maintenance is not justified. Maintenance should be fair for every member, irrespective of the area. When there is a paying guest, the expansion of facilities such as water, drainage, parking, etc., increases, which doesn’t necessarily benefit the society but if the society rents out any member’s property, then they have the right to charge a 10% premium on the property, but double maintenance isn’t appropriate for commercial activities unless specifically decided in the general meeting.

Paying Guest is a Temporary Resident

There is no provision to keep paying guests in the society. The society is obligated to provide accommodation to those who do not have a place to stay. Those who live with their families are required to pay rent, but a paying guest is a temporary resident. Paying guests occupy houses on rent and provide accommodation to other individuals or students. Typically, 8 to 10 people stay. If the paying guest does not have any permission from the society, they cannot be accommodated. They can also be restrained. Paying guests often face many difficulties. Issues arise regarding parking, water, among other concerns.

Commercial Activity Cannot be Conducted in Residential Areas

A paying guest engages in profit-making commercial business. Even in the past, Gujarat High Court decided in the case of Satellite area in 2018 to stop operating PGs. The resolution passed in the general meeting of the society was considered valid. Paying guests face increasing conflicts day by day. Tribunals and high courts have stated in many cases that commercial activities cannot be conducted in residential areas. Paying guests are engaged in commercial activities. Due to the authority of the society’s general body, decisions taken by the society are considered valid.

Court Intervened to Avoid Settlement in 2018 Case

In the case of Kamaldeepsinh and Shivam Satellite Co-operative Housing Society Limited noted by Gujarat High Court in 2018, it was observed that a member of the society wanted to give his flat on rent to another, which the society opposed. This matter was brought up against the decisions taken in the general meetings of the society. Even Gujarat Co-operative Tribunal upheld the decision in favor of the society. The court did not wish to intervene as it felt that when a person joins a cooperative society, the interest of the society should be paramount to their personal interest. In this context, the society’s decisions should be challenged in the appropriate forum. Until then, the society’s decision alone remains valid.

Satellite and Vastrapur are Hub of PGs

In Ahmedabad city, the number of paying guests has been found to exceed 2000. More than 140 paying guests have been noted in the western area by the police. The majority of paying guests are noted in the satellite, Vastrapur, Memnagar, Gurukul, Thaltej, and Bodakdev areas. After that, Gotri, Jagatpur, Sola, Naranpura, Ghatalodia, Vaishnodevi Circle, Chandkheda, Sarkhej, Anand Nagar, Vejalpur, Jodhpur, and Prahlad Nagar areas have been noted. Verification is not done at most of the police stations. In large societies and flats located in Anand Nagar, Satellite, Vastrapur, Jagatpur, and SG Highway, more than 80 paying guests are accommodated in a residential scheme, but they are rented out without verification at most of the police stations.

Youth Embrace the Notion of “Having to Make Do with Less”

Young people in Ahmedabad are increasingly opting for paying guest (PG) accommodations. Roughly estimated, there will be more than a thousand PGs in Ahmedabad, ranging from small to large. There is no association of PG operators. In this unorganized sector, the turnover is estimated to exceed approximately 700 crores annually. People have converted their vacant flats into PG accommodations. Even if they don’t own the property, they still operate PGs by renting them. Another issue with PGs is the rising cost of education. Sometimes, PGs prioritize accommodating more students over providing adequate amenities, leading to difficulties for students. Bright career prospects attract students, and families sometimes prefer to send their children to cities, even if it means financial strain, hence, students find themselves compelled to “make do with less” in such PGs, where there may be a roof over their heads but not necessarily well-organized meal arrangements. Yet, they end up spending around 5,000 rupees per month in such accommodations.

Tension Arises Between Residents and PG Owners

Tensions have escalated between residents and PG owners on Nilkanth Society Road. Niravbhai Shah, the Vice-Chairman of Nilkanth Society, discussed with Divya Bhaskar that out of 174 flats in their society, 80 are occupied by paying guests. In the last four years, PGs have been operational, but now the nuisance caused by PG residents has significantly increased. Instances of alcohol consumption, smoking, and late-night disturbances by young men and women have risen in the society. To address this, the society decided to notify the police to verify the tenants and their rental agreements. The issue became intense, and they refused to cooperate. The Anandnagar police station was also involved.

Decision to Completely Shut Down PGs from May 1

It has been announced that from May 1, all PG accommodations will be shut down entirely. It was declared due to the increasing disturbance caused by PG residents. People staying as paying guests will be issued passes to reside here, and only those with passes will be allowed in the society. PG residents often indulge in noisy activities until late at night. Due to such behaviors, the society has decided to put a stop to this. There are eight to nine new residents in one flat. The society allows police verification, rental agreements, and permission for only five residents in one flat, but now it has been decided to completely shut down all paying guest accommodations from May 1.

Locals Might Write to Central Home Minister

Regarding the closure of PGs in Nilkanth Society, Vejalpur’s BJP MLA Amit Thakkar and BJP corporators will make a plea, and if necessary, they will also write a letter to the Central Home Minister Amit Shah. Currently, a petition regarding this matter has also been filed at the Anandnagar police station. Due to the impact on their children and increased distress caused by PGs, residents have decided to shut down PGs.

Niyati Rao

Niyati Rao is a seasoned writer and avid consumer who specializes in crafting informative and engaging articles and product reviews. With a passion for research and a knack for finding the best deals, Niyati enjoys helping readers make informed decisions about their purchases.