We all are very well aware about the rich heritage and organic development of this city from the sleepy Mughal era to this fast age of internet. Being capital of an underdeveloped country with a socialist top leadership, unfortunately Delhi was never planned as a competitive financial capital in the license raj era. Hence the commercial pockets in Delhi developed in a very a haphazard manner. Except for the business district centers like Connaught Place, Bhikaji Cama Place, Saket district center, Netaji Subhash Place etc. most of the other properties being used for commercial purpose now were earlier residential properties. 

The process of land use conversion– The way it works is that depending on the requirement of commercial use properties in a certain area, some recommendations (street/locality/road names) are sent to the civic authorities for conversion of their land use to commercial. As per the masterplan, Delhi has been divided into several Zones and then further sub divided into categories having different criteria for the purpose of change of land use. After due diligence of the select committee the recommendations which are honored become notified commercial areas and put in the gadget of Government.

This is an ongoing process, while we are writing this, a lot of properties/ localities have been tabled for land use conversion before the authorities. Over the years the situation of population and traffic has changed drastically and so have the building norms, criteria’s ,fees for use conversion and type of commercial use allowed in different zones . This is the reason why we notice that in a lot of localities only a few properties that paid the conversion charges earlier got their properties converted to a commercial use, however, today no new properties are getting commercial licenses in the same locality. A lot of properties in those localities have their conversion pending and are currently under litigation with the civic authorities over one or other matter, and hence completely unfit to be used as a legal commercial office space in Delhi. 

What makes it a bit tricky?

So, it is very much possible that two buildings adjacent to each other with the address of same street locality might have different land use. Adding to the confusion are different criteria’s of allowing commercial use in different Institutional properties and mix land use properties in different zones of Delhi. The situation is such that a lot of times the land lords themselves genuinely not clear about what all kind of business can operate from their property. The complexities involved prompt some greedy property owners to falsely market their property as a commercial property, as it is not very tough to convince anybody about the commercial use status of a property by showing an operational office / shop in the property next door. To share the ground reality, you should not be surprised if a lot of brokers you talk to have no clue about all we are discussing here.

Recent History

The last ceiling drive carried out by Delhi government couple of years back in which a lot of properties in well-known markets like South Extension, Khan Market, Hauz Khas and GK M Block market etc. ( which anybody would taken as legal commercial) were found flouting the norms and were sealed. Sadly, it was the only the tenants who got the worst of it, as in most of the cases the landlords had slipped in some clause in the lease agreement which ensured that in any such eventuality they did not have to indemnify the tenant for the losses caused because of their false representation of the property use status.

Given the background it is understandable that a layman might get confused while identifying the correct commercial use property in Delhi. But then that is the reason you hire a property broker, the supposed expert!! Why did he not tell you?

Here are a few of possibilities

Brokers was genuinely unable to find right sources of information keeping in mind that the government gadget is a complex document and requires competence to understand.

Broker lacked in academic qualifications to understand the land use bylaws and commercial lease dead drafting.

Broker was inexperienced / lazy or both, to learn about the locality, competition, macro developments, industry trends etc and thus was unable to give a 360 degree view about the offered property to ensure that the client has a pleasant stay throughout the tenure of the lease.

Because of lack of knowledge, the broker easily got intimidated by the landlord and focused on pleasing the landlord or in other words focused on his brokerage money, rather than doing the right thing.

The broker was a greedy person, who connived with deceitful landlords to get prospects for their property.

The broker was a reference/ family broker, primarily dealing in residential properties thus genuinely lacked the knowledge of commercial properties.

We hope you would concur with our argument above as to why its so important to involve an experienced property broker in Delhi for your office space search. But we would further like to clarify that it is not just a good broker but a good COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE broker one should hire while looking for an office space on rent in Delhi. No we are not going to leave you here by just telling you what you need. In the next write up we are going to talk about 

1) The qualities of a good commercial real estate broker in Delhi.

2) Ways to find a good commercial real estate broker in Delhi.

3) How to ensure that your agent is a good commercial real estate broker for office search in Delhi.

Please do not hesitate to call in case you have any query around office space in Delhi, it doesn’t necessarily have to be a commercial transaction. We will be more than happy to be of any help whatever the kind of query is ….