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Selangor state wants tenants to settle outstanding rents amounting to RM10 million

SUBANG, 14 March 2012 - Tenants living in public housing in Taman Putra Damai in Lembah Subang and PPR Kota Damansara, face the risk of being evicted if they fail to settle their rental arrears close to RM10 million to Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ).

State executive councillor for Housing, Iskandar Abdul Samad said residents in the affordable housing schemes who have defaulted payment for more than six months and failed to come forward to settle their rent arrears, risk being evicted.

"All residents with arrears have been asked to come forward and discuss the arrangement of settling the payments. Payments can be made in instalments. But MBPJ will serve evictions notices to adamant resident," he said.

He added that MBPJ has not evicted any of the residents until now.

Out of the 3,004 apartments in Taman Putra Damai only 2,617 are rented out and they owe the council RM7.3mil while in PPR Kota Damansara out of 1,152 units, only 957 units are rented out where residents owe RM2.5 mil. Each apartment has three bedrooms.

"It's time to crack the whip and the council could start evicting serious cases, especially those who could settle the amount with instalments but refuse to do so," he said.

Residents who had defaulted in the monthly RM124 rental have been issued three reminders and five letters to discuss mode of settlement, in an effort to collect outstanding amounts.

Almost all have ignored the council's letters asking for settlement.

One tenant owes the council 17 months rent or more than RM7,000 while others owe between RM745 and RM5,000.

Iskandar added that MBPJ must issue eviction notices in an effort to collect the rental owed.

More than 3,000 residents have been issued with official notices calling them to discuss the problem of rental arrears and to settle the amount.

One MBPJ officer said if the amount is not settled, it would persist and potentially grow in seriousness as the tenants would get caught in a web of debt.

Iskandar added that those who were in financial difficulties, for example senior citizens, single mothers, hardcore poor and the physically challenged would not be evicted.

"We also have a scheme whereby those tenants who could not settle their rent are allowed to participate in community work to offset the arrears," he said.

Iskandar added that the eviction suggestion is to ensure that no one takes advantage of the affordable home scheme as it would be unfair to those who are good paymasters.

Selangor MCA Public Complaints Bureau chief Datuk Theng Book said the state government must have some compassion for the people in the low income bracket as cost of living had gone up.

"People living in the public housing are extremely low-income earners who could have lost their jobs or are going through financial problems. The state government must not squeeze them as suddenly families are being asked to pay large balances," he said.

Theng added that MBPJ would be recovering the rent owed which is a legitimate recovery of money in an unfair manner.

"Tenants were allowed to slide for years and all of a sudden the council targets them for backdated bills with eviction threats," he said - Edward R. Henry, The Star.

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