Landlord of Parkview Units wants to evict 300 former Schubart Park residents
Pretoria - The landlord of Parkview Units ‒ one of three housing complexes which have been accommodating former Schubart Park residents ‒ wants to evict the more than 300 people staying there.
At the centre of the storm is the reluctance by the City of Tshwane to increase the rent. It was also said that some residents were totally out of hand and vandalising the building.
The buildings have reportedly been vandalised to such an extent that it is becoming inhabitable and dangerous.
Singyung Investments turned to the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria, asking for an order that the City relocated the residents and that they, as the landlord, may evict the residents. The application is due to be heard this week.
According to the landlord, the agreement it reached with the City to house the Schubart Park residents, has long ago lapsed. The building owners said they were unable to manage the residents.
The company accused the residents of coming and going as they pleased, and that it was not clear who was legally there as part of the initial Schubart Park group, and who had simply moved in over the years.
It has meanwhile emerged from court papers that the City ‒ as per monthly invoice from the landlord ‒ is paying the landlord about R1 700 a month in rent per person staying there.
This is despite the uncertainty of how many of the original Schubart Park group are still staying there and whether the City is subsidising unknown people.
In an affidavit filed by the City, it emerged that for example, the invoice it received from the landlord for November 2019 was for 373 people. That month alone, the metro had to fork out R634 000 as well as R22 600 for security services.
While the landlord wants to get rid of the people, the City is opposing this, saying there is a tripartite agreement in place which the landlord must honour.
Singyung Investments is disputing this and said it is unable to manage the unruly elements. The City, in its papers, said as landlord the applicant was obliged to manage the building, including access control and other identifying measures to ensure that there were no illegal occupants.
The former Schubart Park residents were relocated to, among others, the Parkview Units after the four Schubart park buildings in the CBD became uninhabitable.
The buildings were hijacked by unauthorised people and a fire broke out. As it was too dangerous for them to continue living there, the City negotiated with the Schubart Park Residents Association to temporarily relocate them.
The City has, however, over the years, not yet refurbished the damaged buildings and it is unknown what will happen with the buildings, and when, or if, the residents will be able to move back.
Hercules Bye, who represents the landlord, said in an affidavit, it has become extremely difficult to control or identify the occupants, as they fluctuated and changed on a daily basis.
He said the vandalism was costing them a lot of money, and the rent the City is paying ‒ and refusing to increase ‒ is barely covering the running costs.
According to him, the initial agreement between the landlord and the City has in any way lapsed, which renders the occupying of the building by these residents unlawful.
But Simon Sithole of the City’s legal department said there is a tripartite lease agreement in place, which the landlord must honour.
He said issues regarding access to and control of the building formed part of the agreement as the City made it clear that it is not in a position to manage the building. Thus, he said, the landlord must keep tabs on who leaves and who stays in the building.
Sithole said the City cannot be blamed for the problems at the building, as it is paying the invoices in accordance with the lease agreement. As there is an agreement in place, the landlord also cannot evict the residents, he said.