Elec­tric­ity hikes set to hit ten­ants

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - PROPERTY -

THOU­SANDS of ten­ants are go­ing to lose the bat­tle to meet the monthly cost of rent­ing their homes un­less they and their land­lords pre­pare for Eskom’s price hikes, says An­drew Schae­fer, chief ex­ec­u­tive of prop­erty man­ager Trafal­gar.

“Eskom pro­poses in­creas­ing the cost of elec­tric­ity by 45 per­cent a year for three years, af­ter rais­ing it 33 per­cent this year. Elec­tric­ity that costs 60cents/KwH now is ex­pected to cost R1.60 by 2012.

“Where the av­er­age monthly charge per flat is R800, it will be nearly R2 160. This will mean elec­tric­ity cost­ing more than monthly rent and most peo­ple are un­pre­pared for this,” says Schae­fer.

“We know of one flat in Hill­brow where the ten­ants are pay­ing R1 700 a month and their elec­tric­ity is cost­ing R2 900. The flat is over­crowded, oc­cu­pants have a score of cheap heaters, hair dry­ers, TV sets and other ap­pli­ances, and of course the hot wa­ter geyser is work­ing all day.”

He says sec­tional ti­tle bodies cor­po­rate face the same grow­ing cri­sis.

“Com­mon prop­erty elec­tric­ity makes up about 11 per­cent of the av­er­age levy now. That will in­crease to about 15 per­cent by 2012. The big­gest prob­lem in sec­tional ti­tle build­ings is that the bodies cor­po­rate are re­spon­si­ble to the au­thor­i­ties for pri­vately used elec­tric­ity, so if in­di­vid­u­als fail to pay, the rest of the own­ers will have no choice but to carry them. Pre-paid me­ters will be­come es­sen­tial in all build­ings.

“Land­lords must be­ware of un­rest, with them car­ry­ing the blame for the higher costs; they can’t avoid tak­ing re­spon­si­bil­ity for their ten­ants’ grow­ing stress,” says Schae­fer. “A way of help­ing would per­haps be to re­duce the 10 per­cent rent in­crease at the end of the lease, to say five per­cent for ten­ants who pay on time, don’t over­crowd and who look af­ter the prop­er­ties.”

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