Kerala: Homestay owners’ concerns over classification procedures continue
KOCHI: Homestay association has written to the tourism minister and secretary asking to do away with procedures that make getting classification for homestays difficult. Their main concern is about obtaining resident certificate from local bodies.
Homestay owners have to submit eight documents to get classification certificate. Homestays are classified into three for government certification based on a set of predefined score criteria — Class A (Diamond House), Class B (Gold House), and Class C (Silver House). Classification is for operational homestays and for two years.
Of the eight documents, two — owner certificate and resident certificate — need to be taken from LSG department. While the owner certificate is available online, for resident certificate, one must apply offline as per Revised Building Construction Rules, 2019.
Here lies the catch. According to the revised rules, house owners, who have an already approved plan and paid tax, must get a new plan prepared and submit the new plan of their house to LSGD. In other words, if one room in a homestay is kept aside for a guest (domestic or foreign tourist), then as per revised rules, the owner will have to pay Rs 25 per sq metre if the said structure is in panchayat and Rs 35 sq metre if it’s in municipal corporation, which comes to around Rs 15,000, to the licensee preparing the new plan, besides miscellaneous expenses.
“Rather than ensure ease of business, these procedures will lead to more expenses and time due to which homestay owners may avoid going for classification that had really picked up after government relaxed norms last year,” said M P Sivadathan, director, Kerala Homestay and Tourism Society.
On June 3, 2022, government decided to exempt homestay owners from seeking NOC from local bodies for classification or reclassification. In the past, owners alleged about the difficulty in getting a NOC for getting classification certificates. “And now there is this new thing that is creating hurdles for homestay owners,” said Sivadathan.