Flat residents ‘won’t sign lease’

2017-12-20 06:01

NERINA Flats residents in Pelham said they will not to sign the new lease that was given to them two weeks ago.

In the new lease that Maritzburg Fever is in possession of, residents are required to cut the grass in the yard, clean verandas, and if there is any damage to the property they have to pay for repairs.

A tenant spoke to Maritzburg Fever, but would not reveal their name for fear of being evicted, said the municipality is threatening to cut their lights if they do not sign the new lease.

Tenants claim that when they were given the new lease there was no communication detailing the changes.

One tenant said municipal workers have been coming to the flats to disconnect electricity.

“Last week I was at work and my children called me and said municipal workers are here to cut the lights. I had to rush home to stop them. We paid our rent, lights and water so why are they cutting it?

“Every year close to Christmas we have problems in these flats. The municipality always cuts our electricity without reason,” she said.

The tenant said they have been threatened that if they do not sign the lease they will be thrown out.

“How can they expect us to sign something we do not agree with? They know that half of the people who live here are old and do not have the strength to fight [the situation].

“Some of us have lived here for a long time, yet we are treated like this. I came here 18 years ago and am saddened by what the municipality is doing to us.”

Another tenant said not only do they have a problem with the lease, the state of the flats is not good.

“Most of the tenants have leaking geysers and their ceiling boards are now damaged, and the municipality does nothing about this.

“They raise the rent every year, yet we still live in these conditions. We always report [problems] to the municipality, but they never come to fix things, yet they come to cut our lights,” she said.

Residents said the municipality also threatened to evict them if they do not pay what they owe them.

“How can you pay R116 000 for outstanding debts for water and electricity when you live here?

We can hardly afford to live, now they want us to pay hefty amounts just for lights and water,” said one tenant.

Msunduzi Municipality Spokesperson Thobeka Mafumbatha said Msunduzi council took a resolution that tenants must sign lease agreements because they are not paying rent and most of them sub-let their flats.

“The electricity and rental account is a joint account, which is why they get disconnected because of non-payment of rent.

Failure to sign lease agreements will lead to evictions. Residents took the municipality to the housing tribunal and they lost the case with the tribunal due to their failure to comply,” she said.

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