Uncomfortable living

2016-07-26 06:00

A 67-year-old pensioner and arthiritis sufferer says she “cannot understand why I have to live uncomfortably while others around me live comfortably”.

The Parkwood woman, who requested anonymity out of fear of reprisal, says the rental stock home she received through the City during December 2014 has caused her more strife than joy since she moved in.

“When I heard I will be getting a new house that I could finally call my own, I was really happy but when I saw all the faults at the home it was quite disheartening,” she says.

According to the woman, she moved in to her new council house and “inherited” a backyard dweller from the previous deceased owner.

“This is supposed to be my yard because I have to pay rates for this property. But since I moved in, the backyard dweller who lived here after making arrangements with the previous owner has refused to move.

“I need my space as well and it’s not nice being restricted on my own property,” she says.

Added to this, the pensioner says she has been “trekking up and down” to the Parkwood housing office detailing the issues at her home, seeking solutions but to no avail.

“I have been walking up and down with my list of issues they need to address but each time I get there they tell me they lost my snag list and I need to give them a new one.

“Why do I have to go through this since and they can’t help me? It feels as if I am writing down my concerns for jokes,” she says.

The woman’s concerns include wall sockets that are not working, cracks in the walls, shoddy workmanship after plumbing was done at the home as well as faulty lock sets on her doors.

“These are only a few of the concerns but the most important that should be addressed urgently. I pay my rates on time and expect to be living decently in my own age. Why should I live in discomfort where people who live in my backyard live comfortably?” the woman says.

Mayoral Committee member for Human Settlements Benedicta van Minnen confirms the woman is a tenant of the City of Cape Town and maintenance and repairs at her home is the responsibility of the City.

Van Minnen adds the woman moved into the home knowing there was a backyard structure on the property. “(The tenant) took on the tenancy with the knowledge that there was a backyard structure on the property. The agreement was for the structure to be moved so as not to obstruct the bedroom window of (her room). The occupant of the structure agreed to do so but to date has failed to comply,” Van Minnen says.

Van Minnen confirms the City will be serving them notice to bring the structure into conformity failing which, further action will be taken.

The woman says she also applied for a rent release but was told to first pay three full amounts on her rates. Van Minnen explains the woman is not required to pay rates.

“Being a rental tenant, she is not required to pay rates. Indigent rental relief is offered to tenants whose joint income (for the spouse and partner) is under R3200 per month. If they qualify, the tenant’s rental monies is reduced according to their income,” Van Minnen explains.

“(Her) first indigent rental relief application was made on 2 March 2015 and an approved rental of R77.50 per month was charged for the period between 1 April 2015 and 31 March 2016.

However, she did not renew her indigent relief application as was requested in the indigent letter sent to her,” she further explains.

Van Minnen says the tenant enquired about the rent relief on 11 April 2016 and forms were issued to her but not returned. On Tuesday 7 June a second set of indigent forms were issued and returned.

Her second rental relief application was approved, Van Minnen explains.

“The City’s housing office is responsible for the management and administration of tenancies. All queries related to repairs and maintenance or any other general tenancy complaints should be logged with the relevant local housing office. If tenants are not happy with the conduct of the local housing office staff, complaints should please be logged via the City’s fraud hotline,” Van Minnen says.

Call the City’s fraud hotline on 0800 323 130. Alternatively call the City’s Call Centre on 0860 103 089. Complaints may also be made to the office of the Ombudsman on 021 400 5487.

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