As if enthused by the Blantyre City Council (BCC) sentiments that it has absolute powers to seal off houses of rates defaulters, the Malawi Housing Corporation (MHC) has started sealing off all houses whose owners owe the statutory body any payment.
However, the action has not gone down well with Blantyre city residents who have threatened to seek court intervention as fear of being chucked out of the residences has engulfed them.
The residents argue that the housing body’s exercise is ill-timed as most of them are yet to get their July salaries to enable them settle the rates.
Since Thursday, MHC has been going around Blantyre townships and streets warning people who owe the cooperation either house rentals or ground rates that their houses will be closed for any arrears with the entity.
“We would like to warn all those who stay in Malawi Housing Corporation houses and have not paid their rentals that we will seal off their houses. The message also goes to all those who have not paid their ground rentals. MHC, therefore, would like to advise all those with arrears to go and pay immediately to avoid embarrassment,” MHC had been airing this message from a mobile open vehicle that has been going around the townships up to late night hours.
But speaking to Nyasa Times, some concerned residents said it was unfair for the cooperation to take such an action without giving them proper time to settle the bills.
“We are yet to get our salaries and how can they say they will lock us out, it’s unfair,” said a disgruntled resident of Chimwankhunda Dam.
It was not immediately established how many houses the corporation has closed since it commenced its exercise on Friday morning.
However, the cooperation has put its foot down saying it is not shaken with the court threats since they have mandate to collect house rentals and ground rates at any time.
History has shown that MHC, under police escort really seals off houses of defaulters whether the owner is away or around.
Last Saturday, BCC Chief Executive Officer, Ted Nandolo, told a news gathering in Blantyre MHC had the knack to seal off houses because they belong to the institution unlike the council which falls to collect enough revenue.
A few months ago, MHC also snatched Njamba Park from BCC due to outstanding ground rates which the council has failed to pay to the corporation as well as failure to use it in accordance with its designated use.