Real Estate

Paradise gone wrong: Retirement homes now a pain for these senior citizens

L N Revathy Coimbatore | Updated on March 15, 2018

Becoming dependent on children is something most seniors dislike intensely. Therefore, turning to homes for seniors/ retired seemed a blessing for those who could afford these facilities.

Property developers, naturally, saw a huge opportunity in promoting senior citizen homes. It appeared win–win. Promoters were happy with the demand, the older lot thought they would finally get their own space. The demand for such homes started to pick up and the aged ones, particularly those that wanted to move to such homes, appeared contented to mingle with others of their age group.

As the demand for such projects grew, even those in their mid-40s and from places like Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai started to look at investing in senior citizen homes here in Coimbatore. There were instances of bookings happening even when developers just hinted about an upcoming proposal.

While the demand for residential properties seemed tepid, those for senior citizen homes surged, especially in this textile city, which is now looked upon as a hotspot for retiree homes.

Trouble in paradise

The going seemed good until instances of harassment by promoters of such privately run homes came out in the open. And the rift between the occupants and the promoter, particularly in one such project “Tapovan Senior Citizens’ Foundation” has started to widen in the last six weeks or so.

A cross-section of seniors that BusinessLine spoke to said “they regret their decision”. “We moved here in 2015 because we wanted our son and daughter-in-law to have their space. The initial months were enjoyable as my wife did not have to cook, and most of our needs were taken care of by the house-keeping staff. Life was by and large peaceful, but now it seems short-lived,” said Sathyamoorthy, a resident of the Foundation at Kuppanur in Coimbatore.

It is learnt that the promoters of Tapovan had in recent months started to interfere with the day-to-day activities of the residents. “They suddenly decided to impose a steep hike in food charges. When we protested and sought account details, the promoter harassed us by withdrawing the food and housing keeping facilities. He has since November last been threatening to withdraw all services. This attitude of the promoter caused a lot of inconvenience as all of us use the central kitchen and are well over 65,” said C Sachidev Kumar, Secretary, Tapovan Residents Welfare Association.

The residents sought police intervention. Based on their complaints, the registration of the foundation was cancelled by the district registrar “for non-compliance of government rules”.

Sathyamoorthy, unlike many owner-occupants, had taken the house on lease, but even that appears to have put him in a spot. “I signed the lease agreement on a Rs 20 stamp paper and the lock-in period is five years. Now I can neither get my money back nor vacate this place.”

A closer look at the development of many such projects reveal that a good number of them do not have Directorate of Town and Country Planning (DTCP) approval and worse, were built on agricultural land.

Promoter of Tapovan M N Varadarajan, avers that the foundation had applied for registration in May last, but has got no reply yet. He refuted the allegations made by the residents welfare association.

Tapovan is not alone. Many such privately-run abodes for retirees have come under the scanner for non-compliance with government norms. It is learnt that none of the privately run homes have registered with the district social welfare office. There are 12–15 such homes in Coimbatore.

Published on March 15, 2018

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