Ramana Reddy, a forty-year-old farmer from Andhra Pradesh, was facing the same woes as everyone in his village–a poor harvest season due to lack of monsoon rain. After consulting with a relative, Ramana decided to move to Bangalore with his family, where he rented out a property, which he then converted into a paying guest (PG) accommodation.
“There was very less water in my village, which is why agriculture was suffering. One of my relatives told me that the PG business is doing well in Bangalore. The only thing needed was initial investment,” Ramana said. Ramana started the SVR Luxury PG for Women, in Koramangla, about six months ago.
Ramana is one of many who have decided to venture into the PG business in Bangalore. TNM narrowed down on four primary locations in the city where there is an influx of PGs – Bagmane Tech Park in C V Raman Nagar, Manyata Tech Park in Hebbal, Christ University in Koramangla and ITPL in Whitefield.
For several people, running the business of PG accommodations, the rent money is a steady source of income, while produce from their agricultural lands support their business.
Dinesh Batthi, a real estate agent at Pasadena Holdings Pvt Ltd said, “A lot of the PG owners around the prime localities are from Andhra and Telangana. They own small plots of land in their towns and villages and get their seasonal harvests to provide food for their PGs. This way they save on spending on lentil for sambar and dal, rice, wheat for rotis and easily available vegetables like tomatoes, onions, potato etc.”
Sushmita, owner of Gayatri PG, near Christ University says that her father also runs a small agricultural business in Andhra Pradesh, but the primary income of the family comes from the PG accommodation they have been running for the past two years. “The income we get from all our PGs is helpful as we don’t have any other source of income, and every few weeks someone new joins the PG,” Sushmita said.
Most PG owners in the city, rent properties with multiple stories, usually between three to five floors. They then make an initial, one-time investments into laundry, kitchen and bedding facilities and rent out rooms to young men and women. Rent from each tenant is more than sufficient for the PG owners’ monthly requirements.
Pooja, owner of Sravya PG for women and Sri Venkateshwara PG for men, opposite Manyata Tech Park, says, “We pay about Rs 3 lakh per month for each PG. We have 80 women in one PG and about 60 men in the other. The rent we get from these 140 tenants is enough for our family. We give the tenants good food and it is right opposite Manyata Tech Park, which is a convenient location for all the employees of IT offices there,” she adds.
The two four-storey PGs Pooja owns have shared rooms, with a monthly rent of Rs 5500-6000. “We try to give the girls a comfortable space to stay in. Even the rent is at the market average, not higher,” she said.
With technology giants like IBM, Cognizant, Accenture, Tesco, Dell, Oracle and HP among others establishing branches in prominent IT parks, more and more new employees are looking to find accommodations in these PGs. The facilities offered by the PG accommodations make it a convenient option for young job seekers.
Dinesh Batthi says that, “It is easier to find PGs than apartments in Bangalore. Apartments require a huge amount of money as security deposit. PGs provide maximum convenience in terms of laundry, cleanliness, food, which individual apartments do not provide”.
For some, it is not just laundry and food facility that makes a PG accommodation their first choice. The lure of finding accommodation, walking distance from their place of work is also a clincher.
Rajshekhar Reddy, an employee at Dell, Bagmane Tech Park, says he moved into Ganesh Luxury PG for men because it is walking distance from his office.
“Moreover, I get good south and north Indian meals three times a day, along with Wi-Fi, so this is much better than having my own apartment”, Rajshekhar says.
PGs in Bangalore are competing to provide maximum value for rent. At an average, a twin sharing room costs between Rs 6,500 to Rs 8,000 per month, depending on the location and inclusion of food. While a 3-sharing room costs between Rs 5,000 to Rs 6,000 per month.
This amount in most PGs include breakfast, lunch and dinner, washing machines, a fridge, microwave and Wi-Fi. “It is the complete package. Even though it is not our home, the deal we get is really good for an expensive city like Bangalore,” says Priyanka.
Along with being at a comfortable walking distance from the IT parks or Christ University, an added benefit these PGs provide are other services the locality offers. The localities, where most PGs are located, hosts a grocery store or hyper market, unisex salons, juice centres, snacks and tea counters, pharmacies and small stores that sell electrical appliances, footwear and linen.
Chandrakant Reddy, a tenant at New Balaji PG opposite Manyata Tech Park, says, “Along with the food provided by the PG, we have various options around the area. There’s a Biryani House, multiple Andhra and Kerala messes and even a Dominos. This provides a good change”.
For many women, living alone in the city, PGs offer a secure accommodation.
By Gayatri2388, via Wikimedia Commons
Priyanka, an employee at Emphasis, Bagmane Tech Park says, “The gates of this PG close at 11 pm and a security guard is stationed outside from 12 AM to 9 AM. The PG also has CCTV cameras outside for further security.”
However, the picture is not altogether rosy, especially for women seeking PG accommodations.
PG owners often enforce rules such as having strict visiting hours, no smoking and drinking. Some women’s PG do not allow them to entertain male visitors.
“We don’t allow girls to talk to boys and their boyfriends outside the PGs, they have to do it somewhere else”, says Pooja. “From the girls’ families, apart from mothers, we only allow fathers. They have to show proof that they are the parents and then we let them into the main hall, not into the rooms. We will not allow brothers also in the PGs. Girls then will bring their boyfriends”, she adds.
Monica Kuppam, owner of a PG opposite Bagmane Tech Park, adds, “We cannot allow boys into the PGs. It is not safe. For that, we also have CCTV cameras and a security guard”.
Women also face harassment from PG owners, who often take it on to themselves to police the girls.
“I remember this one day, when my friends and I were just hanging out in the room and the landlord came barging into the room. He yelled at us and told us to go back into our respective rooms. So, let me get this straight, boys and men aren’t allowed in the PG, but he can come at two am into the girls’ rooms? How does that make sense?” Suhani Gupta, a tenant at SVR PG said.
With all its pros and cons, the business of PG accommodations is only likely to grow in the city as hiring for various multi-national companies continue to grow.
Saiza, a real estate agent at Propertyz, says, “The industry is sure to flourish within the next few years. IT parks are going to get bigger and with more employee recruitment, the demand for PGs is going to further increase”.