Many Bengaluru residents who had started living in apartments on a lease or a rental basis via the real estate agency Homigo have suddenly been asked to vacate their homes overnight. This after the company has reportedly gone bankrupt and has not paid the original property owners their due.
According to its website, Homigo, founded by IIT-Kanpur alumni Jatin Mitruka, Aaskash Verma and Nikunj Batheja, had offerings from 32 properties across various locations in the city. They worked on a model where they leased properties or apartments and sub-leased it to a customer after furnishing. The company had raised its funding from investors such as Mebelkart and Livespace.
While the company is not returning calls from the customers, some of the customers have received an email in which the company has claimed that they will be “unavailable” for two months.
In addition to losing their homes, the tenants are also at risk of losing their deposit amount and lease money. Security deposits up to Rs 50,000– and for some, lease amounts in the tune of lakhs – are with Homigo.
Ali Abid, one Homigo customer staying in ‘Homigo Cinzel’ in Sarjapur has been told by the original property owner to leave the premises by 20th of this month.
“There are total 11 flats in the building. Four are leased by clients and rest are have been rented out. The company didn't tell us anything. They just vanished. I emailed them about circumstances two-three days ago but they never responded,” he said.
Arul David, another such customer, told TNM, “There was a lease agreement for three years and we have already paid the amount to Homigo four months ago. 11 of us from Homigo Daulphin alone have paid more than Rs 1 crore in lease amount. We have recently come to know that the company has shut down. It seems that all the employees have been sacked and they are not responding to calls. We are worried as in many other Homigo places, the owners have asked the tenants to leave. Our landlord is currently out of town, and we do not know what will happen to us.”
“In February, we had received an email saying that they will be temporarily unavailable for 2-3 months. But how can we trust the email when the company itself is shut down? There has been no reply to the email,” he added.
With no response from the company, the customers, around 400 in number, are uniting under the umbrella of ‘Action against Homigo’ and are mulling legal action against the company.
City-based lawyer Faizan Mirza Asad said that the tenants can get temporary relief from court over the matter.
“Tenants have certain rights which are protected by the law. They can approach the civil court and seek a legal remedy in case of illegal eviction by the landlord/rental company by getting a stay from eviction,” the lawyer said.
He added, “The tenants can file a suit for injunction, in an appropriate court to legally impede the landlord from evicting the tenant under State’s Rent Act.”
Not just customers, even property owners, furniture suppliers, lift operators and security guards working in these properties are also facing a loss since none of them has been paid.
Founders Jatin and Nikunj could not be reached for a comment.