The Western Cape Government’s Department of Human Settlements has indicated that all arrears accumulated until 31 August 2019 by residents of the Gatesville Rental Housing Complex in Athlone will be written off. Provincial government has also indicated that annual rent increases will be frozen for pensioners living in the complex.
The complex, owned and managed by the Western Cape Department of Human Settlements, will then see the handing over of sectional title deeds to residents by 2021 for the latest, according to Human Settlements MEC, Tertius Simmers. The process of units being sold with deeds handed over to the new owners will only be complete after all the required assessments and quality checks, he said, adding that the units should be handed over without defects.
“On 21 August  I handed out a timeline to the community to specify what would happen every month… Once we hand over the units – which will be by march or April 2021 at the latest – the units must be units with no defects in the building.
At the moment, we are on track with our timeline.”
The arrears accumulated by residents of the complex were one of the obstacles hindering the process of handing over sectional title deeds, according to Simmers, and the annual rental increase was frozen for pensioners due to the rising cost of living leading to growing insecurity of tenancy throughout the province.
“Many of them [residents] indicated that they have a massive arrears, which was one of the obstacles in our way to ultimately decide the process of sectional title handover in the next 18 months.
There are also close to 70 pensioners that have been living in our rental stock for nearly 40 years and the cost of living has gone up… their biggest fear was the annual increase in rental amounts per month,” he said.
The total value of arrears to be written off is approximately R1, 633 300.
According to a statement released by the Western Cape Government, write-offs exclude department and state employees and those that do not sign the new lease agreements. It is also expected that the finalisation of the sale of units will take up to 18 months.