Reassess Buildings to Identify Property Tax Violation, GCC Says

CHENNAI: The Tamil Nadu Local Bodies Ombudsman has ordered the Greater Chennai Corporation to inspect all residential buildings in the city to verify that they are functioning as residential or non-residential buildings and to reassess the property tax for breached buildings in order to increase income. The order comes as the civic body revises property tax rates across the city to boost own-source revenue.

“Inspection should be conducted in residential buildings across the city and revise the tax for buildings that operate as non-residential. In addition, action should be taken against officials who failed to identify violated buildings and who colluded with the owners of the buildings,” Mr Malik Feroz Khan, Tamil Nadu Local Bodies Ombudsman, headed the civic body while disposing of a complaint from a resident.

G Deva, a resident of Vadapalani filed a complaint with the Forum seeking action against a hotel in Nungambakkam. In his complaint, Deva said he requested information under the RTI Act about the hotel in October 2021, but the information was only shared after seven months.

“According to information from RTI, the hotel is operating with a building permit received for a residential building. When guests park their vehicles on the pedestrian sidewalk, pedestrians are forced to walk on the road negotiating the danger,” says the complaint.

Deva also filed complaints with CMDA, Police and Chennai Corporation about the hotel in June 2022 and CMDA sent a recommendation to the civic body to take action against the hotel . Deva asked the Forum to issue an order for the hotel’s lock and seal.

In his response, the Executive Engineer of Chennai Corporation of Teynampet area clarified that the building permit was granted in 1989 by the civic body and the tax wing of the civic body had reassessed the building as not residential in 2020.

He also informed that a notice has been given to the hotel to convert the hotel into a residential building as per the plan.

Upon hearing both parties, the Québec Ombudsman blamed the civic organization for having delayed 31 years in reassessing the building (property tax) as non-residential. “Had tax officials and engineers periodically inspected buildings, the civic body could have generated more revenue. Departmental action should be taken against officials who delayed reassessment,” the order said.

Penny D. Jackson