It was announced on Monday evening that the toll rates at 12 major highway concessionaires in the Klang Valley would be increased from this Thursday, October 15. Back in June, leaked information revealed that toll rates were said to increase by about 30%; however, what we see now is up to 100% (double) increase in the toll fares!

Of course, the higher toll rates will be an additional burden to a people already faced with rising property prices, high cost of living, goods and services tax (GST), little to no increase in salary (especially for middle-income earners), car fuel and maintenance, among other concerns like mortgage/rental, student loans, car loans and credit card installments.

A quick survey among the colleagues in my workplace showed that, for those commuting from within the Klang Valley, many had to pay an additional RM1.00 to RM4.00 in daily toll fares. That means an additional RM20 to RM100 extra per month – on top of the existing RM50 to RM300 – thanks to the increased toll prices. And that’s not counting the price of petrol, car maintenance, etc.

We won’t go into politics here, since there’s already a lot of that which you can get from social media. This time, we’re taking a peek from another perspective. I believe it’s a good thing to remember that there’s always two sides to a story, and today, we’re looking at this situation from the point of view of a landlord.

Let’s say you’re a room or house renter who has to drive past one (or several) toll plazas on your daily commute to and from work. Due to high rentals in prime office areas, it is understandable that many people prefer to rent somewhere further away that is cheaper, and commute to work every day. Nevertheless, depending on the extra cost and wasted time that goes into paying higher toll rates and being stuck in traffic jams (even after paying at the toll), it may be cheaper and less time-consuming to find a place that is nearer to your work.

Am I the only one who thinks that? After news of the toll rate hike, I’m quite sure there are others who are thinking along the same lines. After all, if you’re going to have to fork out an extra RM100 (or more) on tolls, you might as well use that extra money to find a nearer place without paying as much in tolls and wasting precious time on the road.

Therein lies the rub: for landlords, this is the perfect opportunity to rent your condo, apartment or house to college and university students or young working adults. Spread the word about your property by highlighting the institutions or offices nearby, accessibility by car, and now, most importantly, the fact that there is no need to pay toll to reach these destinations. Share the details on social media, on property or rental listing sites, by word-of-mouth, through Whatsapp conversations – as long as you can get the word out, there’s always the potential to obtain a tenant.

As a landlord, what do you think? As a tenant, would you consider this alternative?

There’s also another perspective – if your workplace is located near to an LRT station, instead of driving all the way, you could park at the train station and take public transport to work. However, some may argue that with the impending price increase in LRT and Monorail fares, this train of thought (pardon the pun) is not as convincing as before, and I cannot help but agree – but that will be a topic best left for another day.