Illegal student accommodation under fire in new city policy
The city tabled the report before the full council to establish a King Edward residential and student accommodation precinct extending to a 1km radius of the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Howard College.
Kaunda said the report was to communicate the city’s intention and asked residents to be calm as they would be part of the process. “Thereafter, officials will be able to embark on the consultation process.
They can’t consult without the mandate from the council. Those concerned about this issue will be consulted.”
The report states that, subject to the approval of the bid adjudication committee, the head of real estate be authorised to sign all documents to conclude the commercial leasehold agreement while the head of human settlements is authorised to sign all documents necessary to conclude the social housing and student accommodation leasehold.
The report was largely welcomed where the need for student accommodation in that vicinity was highlighted. However, there was a backlash from residents.
Among their complaints was illegal student houses in Manor Gardens and surrounding areas identified as a problem.
According to plans, the developers would buy houses that would be properly divided into rooms.
The report states that clearance has been received from the Department of Human Settlements.
Glenwood and Umbilo Ward councillor Mmabatho Tembe said the city had meetings with residents and consultants to unpack the student precinct and what it was about.
She said residents raised concerns that the current situation with student accommodation was not regulated by the municipality and metro police.
“Student accommodation comes with by-law infringement that metro police cannot handle at the moment. They also said property values would decrease because no one wants to live near student accommodation with the problems it brings.”
Tembe said accommodation has to be regulated and more consultation was needed.