A meeting of Malawi Housing Corporation’s (MHC) tenants at Chitawira Primary School in Blantyre on Sunday was punctuated by protests chants and songs of ‘zonze zimene za Kamuzu Banda’ [ everything belongs to founding president the late Ngwazi Dr Hastings Kamuzu Banda].
The tenents meeting under the umbrella of MHC national tenant association was to come up with a common position following MHC decision to hike house rentals by an average of 48 percent.
They demanded that the hikes be revised, saying they will seek court’s redress to stop the hike.
MHC national tenant association chairperson Mervin Kaumphawi said the corporation should have taken into consideration the rising cost of living and the minimum wage in coming up with the rental hike.
They agreed to obtain a court injuction and seek a judicial review.
A mass protest is also likely going to be staged, according to their spokesman Goodnews Mphande.
The tenants who are renting one-bedroom apartments, argued that the adjustment of the rentals from K55 000 to K84 700, representing a 54 percent rise, was dismaying.
They also argued that the percentage is 10 times the previous percentage, citing 2016’s 10 percent, which was from K50 000 to K55 000, and 2015 six percent adjustment, which saw the corporation increasing rentals from K47 190 to K50 000.
The tenants reminded that MHC was established in 1964 with a purpose of providing affordable housing for the middle and lower class sectors of the working population.
But MHC chief executive officer (CEO) Eunice Napolo said at a news conference in Blantyre on Friday that her corporation decided to raise the rentals in order to generate more funds for its maintenance works, construction of more houses and to meet escalating costs.
Napolo said the corporation was of late surviving on sales of plots and not on house rentals and revenue, hence funds were not sufficient to maintain houses.
She said the hikes, made differently based on class of houses and location, has been implemented with government’s approval effective July 1 2017.
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