With the increase of overcrowded properties in Edenvale, Avenues resident Louis Erasmus raised concerns for the well-being and safety of those living on these properties.
Erasmus, who has lived in Edenvale since 2003, told Bedfordview Edenvale News that over the years, Edenvale has deteriorated.
“My biggest concern is the overcrowded properties and the ruthless landlords,” said Erasmus.
He highlighted that many of those living on overcrowded properties are good people who find themselves in difficult situations.
Erasmus said he is not overly concerned by the devaluation of his property or security but rather the risk these properties pose to those living in them.
“Some of these properties pose an environmental, fire and safety risk.”
Over the years, Erasmus has helped several community members who were down on their luck.
“Although many of them moved away, some were able to get back on their feet and find proper accommodation.”
He believes that people going through hard times are painted with the same brush as those involved in illegal activities.
“Good people, with children, are forced to live alongside people who may be involved in questionable activities.”
Ward 18 Clr Heather Hart said overcrowded properties are of great concern to her and Ward 19 Clr Bill Rundle.
“People living on overcrowded properties often live in horrific conditions. It is not unusual to find three or more families living in one room,” said Hart.
She said over the years she spoke to residents of overcrowded properties and were told stories of their previous living conditions and situations.
“Many of them are willing to pay any amount just to keep a roof over their heads.”
Hart said the way in which rooms at these properties are divided is illegal and poses several risks to residents.
“In most cases, the people to blame are the property owners. I’d say, nine times out of 10 they are aware of what is happening on their property.”
Hart said although property owners can apply to the municipality to convert a property into a boarding house, many don’t as it would limit the number of people allowed to live on the property.
“It is unacceptable that people’s lives are put at risk because property owners are benefiting financially by breaking the law.”
Hart said several overcrowded properties in Edenvale were brought to the municipality’s attention, which is in the process of prosecuting property owners.
No comment was received from City of Ekurhuleni by the time of publication.