HARARE City Council has resolved to sell its houses in high-density suburbs to sitting tenants to empower them as well reduce vandalism of the properties.
The minutes of the local authority’s finance committee’s recent meeting approved by the full council early last week showed that council resolved to dispose of some of its houses to sitting tenants who have been in occupation for over 20 years at discounted rates.
“During discussion, the committee expressed the view that action be taken to also dispose council houses in high-density areas to sitting tenants,” the minutes read.
“It is now resolved that, the acting town clerk takes action to ensure that council-rented houses in high-density are also disposed to sitting tenants.”
Council had earlier approved the sale of its houses in leafy suburbs to sitting tenants before the same decision was made for those in high-density suburbs.
The houses would be sold after valuation by the city’s estates department and some of the properties were expected to be sold for as high as $130 000 in the low-density areas with the cheapest set to fetch $80 000.
Harare has been struggling to pay workers’ salaries and provide basic services owing to lack of money.
In 2015, council embarked on a similar exercise and the houses in the high-density suburbs were pegged at $5 000.
Only those tenants who were up-to-date with rates payment were allowed to purchase the properties.
Meanwhile, Harare has raised concerns over its growing debtors’ book, saying its revenue collection wing should up its game.
“There was need to also consider various alternatives and incentives to encourage payment of bills by residents,” the minutes read.
Council was owed $755 million as at April 30, 2018, while creditors stood at $448 million with capital expenditure contributing the largest figure.