Bold promise for leases

2015-05-05 06:00

“At last!”

These were the words of ward councillor Dave D’Alton on hearing the news that the leases for the Fish Hoek cottages would be renewed.

The extension of the leases were raised last month when D’Alton submitted a motion asking for finality on the matter (“In limbo over leases”, P

eople’s Post, 3 March). The cottages were built on land owned by the Fish Hoek municipality during the 1980s.

The land is leased by tenants and since January last year they have not been renewed.

Speaking during the South Peninsula Subcouncil meeting on Monday 16 March, a City of Cape Town official assured councillors the leases would be handed over by the end of that week.

When People’s Post contacted residents later that week, they were shocked and explained they had received no update on the matter.

According to City mayoral committee member for finance Ian Neilson, the City’s property management department is hoping to finalise the first batch of leases at the end of April.

He explains during the initial investigation it was discovered that not all relevant documentation was at hand. This includes the role and responsibilities for the ground maintenance among other issues.

When issues around the leases were raised in February, the Seaside Homeowners Association (SHOA) committee raised concerns about the lack of maintenance and the stopping of an agreement between the municipality and tenants to pay an additional R130.50 towards the maintenance.

At the time chairperson Peter Kempster explained the agreement meant the City would match the amount paid by residents and carry out the necessary maintenance.

The committee explained this was stopped two years ago without any notification and the maintenance has since dwindled and they have employed someone to assist them. This person carries out work in addition to the one grass cut done each month by the municipality.

However, Neilson says they have looked into the billing records and there is no record of an additional fee in terms of the current lease rental conditions.

“It is advised that the residents provide proof of such a charge on an invoice in order for the City to further its investigation,” he says.

City mayoral committee member for community services, and special projects Belinda Walker, says the City’s sport and recreation department cuts the grass but this is limited to the common areas and is done monthly.

“It [the department] does not cut the grass of individual households as these cottages are private property. The department is not aware of levies paid into the City’s account that are ring-fenced for grass cutting. The department uses its departmental budget to cut the grass.”

In an interview with People’s Post, the committee also questioned what the classification of the area around the cottages was.

Walker says the cottages form a residential park. Neilson explains the erf is zoned as Public Open Space 3.

Asked why residents have to maintain the grounds when a rental is paid to the City, Neilson says: “The current leases and conditions are in accordance with a resolution that was taken by the previous authority, the erstwhile Fish Hoek Municipality”

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