Public activity in rental housing especially when renting an Apartment in Kochi consisted of two streams;
(1) Staff housing for Central, state and local government employees, and for the employees of the public sector agencies and
(2) Direct construction of rental housing for low income-groups
In a majority of the cases, the provision of staff housing is considered as a welfare measure. However, in the case of certain categories of essential staff as policemen, hospital personnel and basic utilities like power plants or water supply plants, it becomes part of the service conditions, which got attached to the offer of employment. Sometimes the accommodation is rent-free, and in other cases, the authority charges the employee a license fee, which is much less than the economic rent of the house.
As the public sector is unable to meet the entire requirements of staff housing, the unlucky employees with lesser period of service are granted a house rent allowance, and then obliged to seek accommodation in the formal private market or in the uncontrolled/unauthorized market. The more fortunate ones are able to secure both land and loan from the government/employer, and are able to construct dwelling units on an individual or cooperative basis.
The earliest housing schemes under the Five Year Plans were for the construction of rental premises for selected groups like the industrial laborers, slum dwellers, economically weaker sections, and scavengers. The houses were constructed by the state housing agencies with central assistance within prescribed ceiling costs, and were allotted at subsidized rents to the target households. The slum clearance tenements were allotted to families, which are being shifted from various public sites. Nearly 2,00,000 tenements were constructed in different cities and the impact of these schemes on the shortage of rental housing for the lower income groups was not significant.