Increase in levy at retirement flats hurts pensioners

2014-12-09 00:00

THE once-happy Jacaranda Lodge retirement home is fraught with tension after the alleged action of a resident 21 years ago has resulted in spikes in levies.

According to the trustees of the block of retirement flats in Pietermaritz Street, a resident allegedly filed a change of management at the deeds office in 1993. Now the discovery of the document has some reeling at the financial implications. It is still unclear how the document surfaced after so many years.

Jacaranda Lodge is a registered retirement home under the Sectional Titles Act and the Retired Peoples Act.

Previously, residents had been managing their building and paying their levies on an equal share basis where costs for nursing sisters, security and the kitchen where shared equally.

In 1993, a resident allegedly changed the levy system to the participation quota, which means some residents will now be paying R3 200 instead of the original R1 900.

“This man lodged the deed to change management rules without telling anyone,” said a member of the trustees, who did not want to be named.

Under the participation quota, people with larger flats pay a higher levy.

“The 12 larger flats will be subsidising all the other flats,” said the trustee member.

The source said the trustees were trying to set the matter straight and although some residents with smaller flats would benefit from the participation quota, the bulk of the residents would suffer a greater financial burden.

“Some people see the prices dropping and that is all that appeals to them. Only eight of them want the participation quota, while 60 of us want it to go back to the way it was,” the trustee said.

A resident of two years, Sally Adams (82), said she will be affected negatively by the participation quota.

She said as retired people, they are unable to earn extra money to afford the increase.

“There are instances where a husband and wife are both very ill; they cannot work and are unable to move elsewhere.”

Adams said because of the increase, she had tried to put her flat on the market, but due to the sky-high levy, no one was willing to buy.

“I have worked my whole life to have a home in my old age and now I will not be able to afford it.”

Jacaranda Lodge treasurer James Wylie said residents would have to pay the new levy as the management rules had been implemented and the retirement lodge did not want to breach the participation quota.

They are appealing the registration.

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