KL City Hall owed RM50m in rent arrears – theSundaily

PETALING JAYA: Residents at a People’s Housing Project managed by Kuala Lumpur City Hall owe some RM50 million in rent arrears, partly due to a lack of enforcement to collect the debts from errant residents.
A resident theSun spoke to at one of these housing areas said rental payments were a lower priority compared with “more urgent” bills since paying City Hall, as the landlord, could be put off for as long as required.
A resident, who wanted to be known as Hashim, said his priority is to pay his car and furniture loans.
“If I delay these payments, the bank will have my car towed away or my furniture repossessed.”
Hashim said he usually pays his rent towards the end of the year because that is when he gets his annual bonus.
“My children live with us, and they are working too but unmarried.
“So they will chip in at the end of the year and we pay whatever amount we can afford after accounting for our car loans and other commitments such as credit card bills.”
Hashim added that he has only received notices from City Hall asking him to pay his rent.
“It is not that we do not pay. If we did that, we may have to move out of our flat. We pay once every three or four months when we get a reminder. We still owe about RM10,000.”
While admitting he should be more responsible in paying his rent, the senior citizen said he has lived in the unit for more than 20 years and has never had any problems with City Hall when he did not pay his rent
on time.
“I think we are okay compared with many others. Still, although we may seem okay financially, I am supporting my family with an average income of RM2,500 a month as a nasi lemak seller.”
Hashim said his neighbour receives rental aid from a government agency.
“But this neighbour used his father’s name to apply for aid while he works and has a steady income. His children are also professionals and help him financially,” he said, adding that he is being honest and settling his rent, although it is late.
A City Hall spokesperson said the longest period residents have gone without paying rent is 12 years, while the average is between eight and 12 years.
Although rent is set at a flat rate of RM124 a month, which is considered low, less than 50% of its 38,000 low-income residents pay consistently.
He said more than 21,000 residents owe between RM1,000 and RM10,000 in rentals.
Last week, Kuala Lumpur City Hall held a Meet the Residents Programme to reach out to troubled tenants who have high rental arrears.
“The arrears owed by tenants, who were called to attend our face-to-face session, was between RM9,325 and RM46,742.90, which had been accumulated for between eight and 12 years.
“The programme was conducted by City Hall’s Community Development and Urban Well-being Department to deal with ‘problematic’ tenants at the People’s Housing Project in Kerinchi, Lembah Pantai,” the spokesman said.

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