Salt River tenants who rent from the City got the shock of their lives when they received rental increase letters. Picture: Tracey Adams / African News Agency (ANA)
Cape Town - Salt River tenants who rent from the City got the shock of their lives when they received rental increase letters.

The residents, who are represented by Reclaim the City and who want to remain anonymous for fear of eviction, said their rent has been increased from R240 to R5500. Among the residents is a woman who has rented from the City since 1995.

When she and her husband moved in, they signed a lease agreement with a rental of R220 per month. They say the house was an uninhabitable mess.

Over the years, they improved, fixed and maintained the property at their own expense. Due to minor rental increases, her rent is now R243.81.

In August, the City sent her a letter saying they are increasing her rent to R5 500 per month. In the letter, which the Cape Argus has in its possession, it states that the City is reviewing all its property leases to establish its current market related potential. It stated that this is in compliance with its regulations on asset and financial management, which stipulate that the City’s assets should be rented at market-related rents.

Reclaim the City’s Deena Bosch said: “The City has over 9000 houses in its rental portfolio.

“We suspect that it has approached other tenants living in council houses and threatened to increase their rent.

“If you are one of these people, please approach Reclaim the City.

“The City needs to be challenged on the way it continuously fails to put people (who it claims to serve) before profit and white elite interests.”

The ward councillor of the area Paddy Chapple said he does not know anything about the rental increases and referred queries to Mayco member for Economic Opportunities and Asset Management James Vos.

Vos said: “This requires a comprehensive and holistic look before I can simply comment.

“I must find out from the officials why these properties are not managed by the Housing Department because it seems that the primary usage is housing and now it becomes a complicated process because the Property Management Department deals with leases in strict accordance with the municipal agreement and we need to seek market related rentals.”

Vos said he would respond today.

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Cape Argus