DZ residents accuse city of sabotaging disposal of council-rented houses

29 Mar, 2024 - 00:03 0 Views
DZ residents accuse city of sabotaging disposal of council-rented houses Dzivarasekwa residents at the meeting to discuss the disposal of council-rented houses.

Suburban

Dzivarasekwa residents are accusing the City Valuations Department of sabotaging the disposal of council-rented houses to sitting tenants, a community meeting recently heard.

Facilitated by CHRA yesterday in Dzivarasekwa.

Starting last year, the local authority commenced issuing letters to occupants of council-rented properties requesting the occupants interested in buying the houses to visit their local district offices and register their interest.

However, since 2023 when the full council resolution was made and with the local authority issuing letters to sitting tenants to register interest to buy the houses, no single person has bought the council-rented houses in Dzivarasekwa.

During the meeting facilitated by the Combined Harare Residents Association, the district officer told the gathering that paperwork for those who had registered their interest to buy the houses was sent to the Valuations Department to establish the price of the houses.

“There are 1 248 council-rented houses in Dzivarasekwa and only 27 houses were sold to sitting tenants from 2018 to 2021 after a council resolution. After the 2023 resolution only 100 houses are ready to be bought, and the Valuations Department is working on the prices,” said the council official.

In response to the district officer’s remarks, one resident highlighted that the delaying tactics were deliberate.

“Why is the process taking too long, the delaying tactics are part of the system the local authority doesn’t want to release the houses to the people,” she said.

CHRA has observed that whenever the resolution to dispose of council rented houses to sitting tenants is passed, there has been low uptake from high-density areas as compared to medium-density suburbs.

The other requirement for eligibility to buy the houses is that a tenant must have cleared their debts with the local authority, and with the chaotic and shambolic billing system at the City of Harare, many residents who want to buy the houses have failed due to the unreasonable and astronomic debts on their bills.

“We have tried to service our debts. Unfortunately, (the) payments we have made have not been deducted hence we continue to be in debt it’s not fair,” said another resident at the meeting. Ward 40 Councillor Stephen Dhliwayo assured residents that they were going to engage the Valuations Department on the issue.

“As Councillors, we are going to push the Valuations Department to urgently value the properties, while the treasury addresses the issues of the billing system”, said Cllr Dhliwayo.

In 2023, the City of Harare resolved to sell council-rented houses to sitting tenants but the process has been entangled by bottlenecks that have blocked this progressive resolution which promotes the right to shelter, security of tenure and property rights.

The Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) implored the City of Harare to remove barriers that are standing in the way of residents in the acquisition of council-rented houses to deserving and eligible tenants. — Combined Harare Residents Association/Suburban Reporter

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