Walter Mswazie Southern Correspondent
Over 50 families in Masvingo City are facing eviction from council houses after they were declared “illegal tenants”.
According to minutes from a recent full council meeting, the City of Masvingo resolved to evict all “illegal occupants” as it moves to reintroduce house ownership schemes.
Under the scheme, families that have been legally occupying council houses and paying rentals for a period not less than 20 years are entitled to buy them at concessionary rates.
“Consideration was given to the report of the Director of Housing and Community Services Mr Levison Nzvura on the programme to convert council rented houses into house ownership schemes,” read the minutes.
Council, according to the minutes, vetted sitting tenants and established that 17 houses were being occupied illegally. General sentiments from illegal tenants, council said, were that they are paying rentals to their landlords, who in most cases are based in rural areas. It was further established that the landlords were not paying rentals to council.
Council has since resolved to issue final demand letters to tenants owing rentals, including surviving spouses of late tenants. Council also realised that 43 more houses were occupied by children or relatives of deceased tenants.
“If the final demand letters are ignored, eviction from the houses would be explored. The children or surviving spouses of the tenants were not paying rentals and they risk eviction.
“Mr Nzvura was instructed to engage the sitting tenants of the 25 houses which satisfied the conditions for the scheme and finalise the disposal process. The sitting tenants had lease agreements and were occupying the house,” the minutes read.
The vetting exercise also led to the discovery that only 25 houses out of over 70 satisfied the conditions for the home ownership scheme.