Low uptake for council houses

HARARE - A low uptake of council rented houses has resulted in very few of the properties being successfully sold to their sitting tenants with only 43 of 2 645 houses having being disposed of.

According to housing committee minutes, council was collecting rentals, which was however, below the potential revenue collection on the same properties in spite of a 2013 ministerial reprieve.

Council resolved in 2015 to sell the rented accommodation to sitting tenants for discounts ranging between 30 and 50 percent, however, most cannot afford the houses as they are either unemployed or pensioners.

“The committee enquired why only 43 houses out of 2 645 had been sold. The director of housing (Edmore Nhekairo) reported that one of the conditions was that one had to clear all their outstanding bills before the house could be sold to them,” read parts of the minutes.

A summarised schedule of the properties up for sale and those sold shows that 17 were sold in Dzivaresekwa, 16 in Tafara, five in Highfield, four in Belvedere and one in Kuwadzana.

For properties in Mabvuku, Hatcliffe and Warren Park the houses are still awaiting valuation.

Nhekairo said one of the conditions for sale of the property was that the tenants would have to clear their arrears before benefitting from the sale of the house.
He said the occupants were not paying their dues even after offering them the current 50 percent discounts.

“I was of the idea that it would be better to demolish the houses and build flats and offer the current occupants a discount price so that council would realise more revenue and at the same time providing houses to the residents,” Nhekairo said.

He said councillors resolved that if until by December 31, offer letters for the properties have not been accepted by the sitting tenants, council would withdraw them and sell to willing buyers. According to 2016 housing committee minutes, the properties were supposed to have been disposed of by 2017 but nothing had happened.

“That the proposed disposal of the rented residential properties will exclude all institutional accommodation including housing units at (a) work stations, farms, schools, swimming pools, (b) all hostels (c) flats, at Trafalgar Court (d) Glen Norah ‘B’ flats, Charles Briggs flats (f) Geneva flats (g) Mbare confinement centre (h) PWD Compound,” the committee said.

Some council properties in areas such as Milton Park, Borrowdale, Belvedere and Eastlea will be excluded from the sale including those in Norton linked to Morton Jaffray Water Works.


 

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