INCREASED NUMBER OF ABANDONED HOUSES
By: Khumbuzile Mbuqe
Residents of New Germany, Padfield Park, Manors, Kloof and Hillcrest are seeing a large number of uninhabited homes in their area.
The Environmental Health Department has received numerous complaints from residents complaining about un-kept yards, swimming pools and vacant homes being occupied by
Environmental Health Inspector, Phumzile Vezi explained, “People often abandon their homes when going through divorce, some are deceased estates and others are homes in the
process of being repossessed by the funding banks.”
Vezi said that the Environmental Health together with the Housing Department do attempt to locate home owners and as stipulated in the EThekwini Bylaws, serve them with a notice to
either attend to the un-kept swimming pool, yard or home.
The tracking down of a home owner can take a while as some are difficult to track down, with the aid of municipal services bill and newly registered addresses some notices can either
be delivered via post or hand delivered.
Resident of Padfield Park Andisa Siswana said, “We woke up over three years ago to find that the home owners next door had left. The house is an eyesore. We’ve recently discovered
that there are vagrants who use the house to sleep at night, which makes us feel very unsafe.”
A home owner who abandoned her home Londiwe Buthelezi said that she left her house after his husband passed and the family threw her out.
According to Buthelezi the family is battling to maintain the house, which is why it looks abandoned.
However, Vezi believes that inn situations like Buthelezi’s they have to involve Metro Police as the people occupying her house are not the rightful owners.
“An eviction notice will have to be served, we in turn will send her a notice to maintain the house and yard as she is the legal owner of the home,” added Vezi.
The Health department states that aside from being unsightly, abandoned homes can pose a health hazard. Swimming pools can serve as breeding ground for mosquitoes and frogs
especially in summer.
An un-kept yard can be haven for rats, snakes and other vermin. Vagrants and thieves are also quick to make use of these unoccupied houses, making the area unsafe. It also affects the
value of the neighboring homes.