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R1bn debt: City to seize buildings

Posted On Tuesday, 22 May 2007 02:00 Published by eProp Commercial Property News
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The Joburg Council is owed close to R1 billion in unpaid rates and taxes by inner-city property owners whose buildings are in shambles.


Property-Housing-ResidentialBad buildings in inner city areas from Bellevue in the northeast, City and Suburban in the south, Fordsburg in the west and Benrose in the east owe the council R949 million, according to the Joburg Property Company.

The inner-city area with the most debt is Joburg, with almost R339 million outstanding on 579 properties.

Hillbrow is next with nearly R236 million owing from 460 buildings.

Plans are in place to expropriate two bad buildings Hillbrow residential blocks Noverna Court and Santa Monica whose owners owe the municipality more than R1.5 million.

Johan van Vuuren, spokes- man for the Joburg Property Company, said the two buildings were unoccupied.

They are being guarded against re-occupation by the homeless so they can be seized by council. Residents of both buildings were recently evicted by Joburg's Inner City task force team.

"The buildings are in a very dilapidated state and are both hygiene and safety hazards.

The Joburg Property Company plans to renovate them as temporary shelters for short-term stays by low-income earners in cases of emergency like floods and fires," he said.

"The two buildings were managed by body corporates empowered to represent the interests of the owners of the sectional-title apartments."

Van Vuuren said the transfer of the buildings was expected to take place within three months.

He said the amount of time it would take depended on the number of sectional-title owners? objections they received before the expiry date.

"Tenders will be sought for the renovation and management of the properties in the near future," he said.

Van Vuuren could not say how much this would cost the council because there "are a number of existing costs which need to be covered, including possible compensation of owners, the deduction of the municipal arrears, eviction, advertising, transfer and legal costs".

To sort out bad buildings, the Joburg Property Company has come up with a Better Buildings Programme, which recommends that the city's revenue department considers writing off bad debt when it is a barrier to the improvement of a derelict building.

"However, this initiative has been delayed by numerous legal battles we have to face in court from NGOs claiming to represent the interests of tenants in these slums," Van Vuuren said.

Last modified on Thursday, 22 May 2014 15:57

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